13 ways freight brokers can find more shipper customers

Competition as a freight broker can be intense. Aside from juggling phone calls, dealing with driver shortages, impacted routes, and increased shipping costs, you also have to grow the business for the long-term. Acquiring new customers for your freight brokerage can take a lot of time and effort but it doesn’t need to be a frustrating experience. Through cold calling and increasing your online presence, there are many ways to stand out and connect with your target customer. Below are 13 tried and true ways to find more shipping customers quickly. 

1. Start cold calling 

Picking up the phone and dialling a prospect’s number can feel intimidating but it's a great way to find potential leads. Ask who you are speaking to and deliver your sales pitch. This is a great opportunity to find a point of contact to build rapport with and even if there are no opportunities currently, a good first impression can go a long way to getting a deal down the road. 

2. Look through trucking directories 

Online directories can provide you with a wealth of information about your potential customers. Check out USDA business listings or trucking listings like Rose Rocket’s company directory. This page is a great way to target by location (you can filter by state) and captures contact information quickly so you can add this data to your potential client list. 

3. Highlight your competitive advantage 

If you specialize in a particular category like express shipping or oversized loads, make sure to mention that to your potential customer when making a sales pitch. Familiarize yourself with the type of freight they normally carry and how you can be a compatible business partner for them so they know you’ve done your research and value their business.  

4. Pay attention to industry news 

Changes in trucking laws can affect certain business relationships, so make sure to subscribe to forums and podcasts to stay up to date on trucking news. If there’s a hike in shipping costs, that may be a good opportunity to start cold calling your competitors' clients and offer more budget friendly introductory packages to suit their needs and make your freight brokerage look more appealing.   

5. Position yourself as a reliable backup option 

Introduce your brokerage as one that is happy to be a plan B. Even if a company already has an existing relationship you never know when there may be hiccups down the road. Presenting yourself as a reliable second option that can step in at the last minute will make them view you as a shipping savior during hard times. 

6, Take advantage of direct mail 

Even though so much of our business is now conducted online, direct mail is a quick and easy way to get the word out to a targeted location. Outline your specialties, your contact information, and professional photos of you and your brokerage plus any glowing reviews from past clients. 

7. Contact your existing shippers 

Have a conversation with your existing shippers and see if they service any other areas that align with your routes. Chances are they may have grown their business in the last few months and this is a good opportunity to explore how your business interests can align. A touch base is also a good opportunity to go over any new services you offer that they may be unaware of. 

8. Create lead generation forms 

On your website, you can add some lead generation forms that allow customers to fill out their personal contact information like their name, phone number, email, business name plus check off the services they are interested in. This is a great way to passively build leads and gives your sales team a list of leads for warm calls. 

9. Offer a free audit 

Offer new clients a free audit so they can see where they stand in terms of the competition and how your rates are favorable. This is also a great opportunity to highlight your services. (Psst, this can be one of the lead generation forms you can add to your site as an incentive for new clients to contact you!) 

10. Find out where your potential clients like to hang out 

Looking to expand into a specific region or state? Try to find community events and gatherings where you could find your next potential customers. You might end up meeting someone who has a friend or family member that needs a freight broker for their business. 

11. Expand your social media reach 

If you’re having trouble finding your potential client’s watering hole, give social media a try. This is a great way to expand your online reach while targeting specific regions with niche hashtags related to your type of freight and area of speciality. 

Channels like Instagram, Tiktok, and LinkedIn are all great ways to show off your personality, offer more information about your brokerage, and talk about your latest wins and success stories. 

12. Ask for referrals 

Your existing clients are your best network. Ask them to refer you to others they may know in the industry. You can also go as far to set up a referral program. Customers who refer you to a new customer can enjoy a sweet kickback while you save on your new customer acquisition costs. 

13. Establish a loyalty program 

Loyalty is hard to come by these days but if you make it worthwhile clients will stick with you long term. Offer a discount after a certain amount of jobs are completed or a prize that you know your clients will love. Box seats at the next football game can definitely sweeten the deal. This is a great way to deepen the client relationship and make them feel rewarded.

The bottom line

The growth and success of freight brokers depends heavily on their ability to attract and retain shipping customers. Through a combination of these strategies, freight brokers can boost their visibility, credibility, and customer base, positioning themselves for sustained success in the dynamic world of logistics. If you’re looking for more ways to grow your business, consider Rose Rocket – as the #1 rated TMS, we’d be happy to speak with you more about how you can streamline your business. Get started below.

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