The blunt unfortunate truth is that merely joining a logistics network would not generate leads nor increase shipments and nor improve your business. No network can guarantee leads nor shipments, but they can offer several promotional services that freight forwarders can benefit from in the long run. It will also take time, effort, responsibility, and a marketing budget from freight forwarding members. A network is only as good as its members.
At the end of the day, it is the freight forwarders’ responsibility to take advantage of a network’s resources and benefits. Here is some advice & suggestions for fellow freight forwarders, cargo agents & logistics partners.
- Limit network memberships: Do not join each network out there. Only join a few, only the ones that can strategically align with your business goals. And in which you can stay active. If you are not actively involved in the networks you join, you will not benefit from the network’s services, nor would you build the necessary business relationships.
- Be patient: joining a network is a long-term investment. A return of investment (ROI) takes time. Sometimes, you may receive shipments within days of joining a network, but it can take months or even years! Eventually, you will get your share of profits flowing in. Your goal should be to build relationships, not to acquire shipments.
- Do not count shipments: do not count the number of shipments nor their value because this is not the real value of a network. The total value and focus should be your relationship building with fellow network members.
- Build Relations: you must build rapport with fellow members so that they remember to give you shipments or refer others who may need your services. To build strong relations, you must become active with your communication. Collaborate on WhatsApp groups, on the network’s website if available and other channels where available.
- Show your knowledge: write an article or record a video to flaunt your expertise about the industry, especially about your country, to have the network share it on their marketing channels.
- Attend conference: to build trust and the most important – you must attend network conferences. The face-to-face meetings in person ascertain your marketing; most importantly, it establishes trust between members.
- Payment protection: this is another critical factor for building trust. If the network’s payment protection backs you, other freight forwarders will feel secure to use your services.
- Support the network: yes! Again, support the network because a network is only as good as the members of the network. A network can only support and improve when members are actively supporting it by paying membership dues, referring industry partners to join, and helping with marketing efforts. Use their logo & website links on your email signature, website, and social media to show your accreditation. Provide written or video testimonies to your network to publish on their website and social channels.
- Pay Membership Dues: we understand that finances may be challenging, especially during Covid-19, but it is essential to pay network fees because this is the only way the network can afford the upkeep of their services and market both the network and your company services. If you seek a free ride in a network, you will never be a priority in the network, and neither will you receive the full benefits or attention of other fellow members/forwarders.
- Online Presence: make sure you have a professional website or Facebook page to refer clients. Only have enough social media accounts that you can manage and update weekly. Some networks may help you build a website on your domain or a subdomain on their website for a fee. Check with your networks.
- Be active: take advantage of the network newsletter to publish articles so fellow members can know that you are an expert in your industry and market. Utilize network advertising & promotional opportunities. Communicate with fellow members regularly.
- Sponsorship Opportunities: promote your company with available marketing venues. This most likely could include an ad on the network’s website, a banner or brochure distribution at a conference, logo display on newsletter, etc. check with your network administrator for the sponsorship opportunities available to members.
- Provide Feedback: network administration welcomes members’ feedback & suggestions to help improve their network services.
We hope these ideas & suggestions will help you generate leads and productively promote your freight forwarding business.