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If You’re an Expediter, You’re in Sales

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Nov 10th 2020 1:05PM

You may not want to hear this because sales people get a bad rap.

After all, how many of us have dealt with the stereotypical used car salesman? Who wants to be associated with that, right?

But here’s the reality: Whatever our role is in expediting—driver, owner-operator, fleet owner, recruiter, and (of course) journalist–we’re all selling something—an idea, point of view, proposal, product or service—whether we want to call it “sales” or not.

Take, for example, successful expedite owner-operators. What do they have in common?

For one, they’ve built and cultivated partnership-type relationships with brokers and dispatchers in a way where they appear to have more “luck” with being offered consistently profitable loads.

Now, that’s sales.

They also know how to treat repair shop supervisors in a way that makes their truck a top priority to get fixed and back on the road, making money again as quickly as possible.

That’s sales, too.

The idea here is that when we learn how to “sell”—in the right way, with the right motives—we’re able to influence the people who can helps us create the business, career, and lifestyle we want.

So, instead of being ashamed or bashful about your sales role in the expedite business, embrace it by adopting these four traits of world-class salespeople.

#1. Thoughtfulness.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”—Zig Ziglar

Our human nature “default mode” is to think about and ask for what we want without considering the other person’s interests.

Sometimes, people will be happy to help no matter what. But, in most cases, people will more likely want to work with us when we first consider how our request, proposal, or idea can help those people get what they want, too.

So, before trying to influence or persuade someone to accept your point of view, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What does this person want?
  • How does what I want connect with—or relate to—what they want?
  • What concerns could they have with my request?
  • How should I address those concerns?

When you answer these questions, you’ll gain insight into the most effective way to communicate this message: “If you help me, you’ll also help yourself.”

#2. Optimism.
"If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you."—Mary Lou Retton

Think about the negative people in your life. Do you enjoy spending time with them? Or, do you try to avoid them because they suck the energy out of you?

Most likely the latter, right?

Well, here’s the challenge: While most of us try to avoid negative people, we’re often blind to our own negativity that pushes people away from us.

How do you know if you’re being too negative?

Be brutally honest with yourself with these questions:

  • Do I complain a lot?
  • Do I gossip?
  • Do I engage in social media arguments about politics?
  • Do I tell jokes and make snarky comments at the expense of others?

Also, look at the people around you. They are a mirror that reflects your true mindset. If you’re surrounded by negative people, it’s likely because, as the cliche goes, “misery loves company.”

Instead, be optimistic. Practice the habit of looking for the good in people and situations. And you’ll discover how more and more people will find the good in you, be drawn to you, and want to help you be successful.

#3. Gratitude.
"Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for."—Zig Ziglar

If customers and vendors don't feel appreciated by you, they will be less enthusiastic about helping you.

So, express your gratitude any chance you get. How?

  • Write a positive online review
  • Send a handwritten thank-you note
  • Send a thank-you gift
  • Write a note or email to that person's boss—about the exceptional service you received and what you loved about it.

When we consistently express gratitude, we will turn casual acquaintances into loyal, raving fans who cannot help but spread the good word about us to the people who matter most to our success.

#4. Empathy.
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”—Stephen R. Covey

People will to listen to us when they, first, feel heard by us.

But listening with empathy is not a skill that most people have mastered.

After all, think about how often you’ve dealt with people who request something from you or pitch you on a product, and when you respond, you can tell they aren’t really listening to you; they’re thinking about what they want to say next.

That’s a turnoff, right?

So, do what the top sales pros do: Listen with the intent to understand the other person’s point of view, thoughts, and feelings. How?

Begin by being fully present with that person. Turn off your phone notifications and block out any other potential distractions.

Then, in your own words, repeat back to that person what you believe you had heard to ensure you’re on the same page.

This level of listening is the essence of empathy. It communicates that you genuinely care about that person, which causes them to put down their guard and be more willing to listen to you.

Gut Check
The Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi once said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

Do you have the will to do what it takes to develop these four traits of world-class sales pros—and become a more successful expediter?