Long-timers in the haulage industry make it look as if securing transport contracts is the easiest thing in the world, especially when you consider their established network of clients and grand fleets of lorries ready to deliver at a moment’s notice. What most people do not see, however, is the years these long-timers spent cultivating the necessary skills to win over dedicated clients and breed a reliable reputation in transport partnership deals.
These skills can be broken down into five broad categories:
Organizational and multitasking skills
The ability to properly deliver on transport contracts is the single most powerful determinant of a haulage company’s long-term prosperity. Good results are extremely effective at convincing prospective clients to sign a transport agreement, and this is only possible when the haulage company is running in tip-top shape. The ability to organise hauliers and keep track of all incoming and outgoing trips will ensure successful deliveries of all goods as promised.
Proactive and real-time communications
The effective use of telephones, cell phones, email and online messaging services is of the utmost importance in the haulage industry. Learning how to use all these tools will reduce the time and energy it takes to not only secure transport contracts, but to stay on top of any developments that should occur during the delivery of the goods, for example road accidents, traffic jams, vehicle breakdowns and other unexpected events which could seriously affect schedules. Proper use of real-time communications will allow you to proactively deal with the issue, alerting clients to the problem as soon as possible and exploring all available solutions to solve the problems.
Effective management of costs
Learning how to keep expenses down without adversely affecting operations is another key skill for offering competitive transportation contracts. Many clients will select their first picks for transport contracts based on the prices offered, so it is always advantageous to a haulage company to offer the most competitive prices. Do note, however, that the lowest prices are no guarantee to securing haulage contracts. Undercutting the competition by more than fifteen to twenty percent will raise suspicions about the quality of work, which is never a good position to be in when first meeting a potential client.
Rapport and follow-up skills
Just because a contract is over does not mean the business relationship has to end. A well-timed call or email newsletter can put a haulage company back on the client’s radar letting them know that it is ready to accept any impending haulage contracts that could pop up in the near future. Taking this skill set further, however, will take a lot of time and effort to do. Spending money on marketing, scheduling social visits and finding the right time to contact a client all need careful thought, but can be quite rewarding if done properly.
Honesty and punctuality
Establishing long-term haulage partners can only help a business thrive, and an environment of total trust is paramount if this is to be achieved. Being able to deliver the goods and being honest throughout the process is no guarantee that a client will come back to do business again, but it is the only way to work and demonstrate a sound work ethic.
Develop these skills and you will find it much easier to secure plentiful and profitable transport contracts.