Direct Marketing for Truck Dispatchers
Today we will talk about direct marketing and how you can reach trucking companies as an independent truck dispatcher.
In the previous post, Finding Clients as a Truck Dispatcher, we discussed the importance of marketing in general and online marketing in particular. Today, let’s talk about direct marketing.
What Is Direct Marketing? Direct marketing is when you reach out directly to your potential clients and offer them your services or products.
You're not waiting for them to reach out to you; you are aggressively pursuing them with your offer. If your goal is to get as many clients as possible as quickly as possible, this might be the best strategy for you.
Decide Who Your Clients Are
First, you may need to determine who your clients are. We have discussed this in a post entitled Who Hires Independent Truck Dispatchers. If you’ve read it already, you may remember that your clients are trucking companies, primarily smaller ones.
Gather a List of Potential Clients
So, to start your direct marketing efforts, you're going to need to get a list or a database of potential clients. We’ll discuss where you can get one further into this post, but for now, let's assume that you have a list of 100 trucking companies.
Contact Trucking Companies
When it comes to making phone calls, it is not everyone's cup of tea. For example, I hate any kind of cold calling. I have many years of experience in marketing and sales, but for me, picking up the phone and calling a stranger is just dreadful.
Does that mean I cannot contact my potential clients over the phone? No. It just means I'll need to find someone else to do it. But how do I do that? Well, that's a pretty simple process.
For instance, you can go on a website like Fiverr and type in cold calling. You’ll find quite a few people who will gladly make phone calls on your behalf.
Since I hate doing phone calls, I choose an entirely different strategy. What I like to do is to send out voicemails. Basically, I record a voice message, something that I would normally say I was redirected to voicemail when I called someone.
Then, I upload phone numbers from my list into a “voicemail drop” provider that sends my message out to everyone on my list. It doesn't ring their phone, so they're not being disturbed. They're not angry at me for interrupting whatever it is that they're doing. They just get the voicemail, and they listen to it.
My voicemail says, "Hello, I am Roman. We are offering dispatch service, and this is what we do, and this is who we serve.” I add any other information that seems necessary, then end it with, “This is my phone number if you are interested or if you need help with finding freight." They learn about my offer, and if they're interested, they can give me a callback. If not, they'll delete the message. That's it.
Once my voicemails are sent, I like to follow up with an email. While these people might have heard my voicemail, it may not have been convenient to get the phone number or write down the web address for our website.
So, I send them an email. In this email, I say, "Hey, I have left you a voicemail earlier. We're offering dispatch service, and this is what we offer. This is the link to our website. If you'd like to learn more or have any questions, here is my phone number." And again, I send it out. If they are interested, they will reply. If they're not, they'll just delete it.
Now, email marketing is a marketing strategy on its own. There are many different things you can do when you have someone's email. You can market to them, follow up with them, or send them some unique offers. It's a very powerful tool, but it doesn’t usually lead to immediate results. It's a long-term strategy.
One way or the other, you get an idea of what direct marketing is. I reach out to my potential clients, tell them what I do, ask them to do business with me, and hopefully, they will respond by giving me a phone call or replying to one of my emails.
You can also implement many other strategies, but I do what works best for me. You're welcome to try something else, but you get an idea; you proactively reach out to your clients to get some business.
Direct Marketing Is a Numbers Game
We also need to talk about a crucial factor related to direct marketing. Direct marketing is the numbers game. I hear some people saying that they reached out to ten or twenty trucking companies, and they didn't want to work with them.
Well, ten or twenty means absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, 100 means absolutely nothing. Yes, if you reached out to 100 companies, there is a reasonable chance that a few of them will respond to you, and you may sign up one or two clients, but you also may not.
That means that you need to reach out to 200, 300, even 500 potential clients. The bigger the number, the greater the chance that you’ll land more clients. You need to have a large list of contacts to market to — it's as simple as that.
Gather Quality data
Where do you get this list? There are many databases out there. Sometimes students say, “I've heard that by purchasing this course, they are going to give me a database of 10,000 trucking companies.”
Well, that is fantastic, but it doesn't mean anything. I am being sarcastic because having data or a database is just half of the solution. Having quality data is the other half.
What do I mean by quality data? Let me give you an example. I can provide you with the link to the FMCSA database of motor carriers, which probably has close to a million entries. That means there is information for a million trucking companies in it.
However, which companies out of this million should you reach out to? Is a company with 50 trucks a good candidate as your client? I don't think so. Maybe a company that handles some sort of specialty freight is your potential client? Probably not.
What if they've been in business for ten years or so? Do you think they will need your help? I personally don't think so because if they managed staying in business for ten years, I don't think they need your help finding loads.
However, let me give you an alternate view. I believe that the most likely companies to work with me are the ones that are just starting out in this business, so I want to target companies that just got their motor carrier authority. I also want to target companies that have less than three trucks.
As we have discussed in our post, Who Hires Independent Truck Dispatchers, if they have a lot of trucks, there is no point in paying me a lot of money. They can just hire an employee who will do it for much less money. I also want them to operate with semi-trucks because I don't want to deal with box trucks or cargo vans — it's not something that I do.
As you can see, I'm narrowing this big database down to my target audience, which is more likely to respond to what I have to offer. And unfortunately, you will not be able to narrow your target audience with a random database you got from some random place. You will need access to a dynamic database, where you can set up a search with all these criteria to narrow it down to your potential clients.
And no, such databases are not cheap at all. But I believe that by spending money on access to this database, I get a pretty decent return because just picking up one client, again, will probably pay for it in a couple of months.
Yes, again, I hear your objections. “I don't have the money to spend.” Okay, fine, you can get the free database, but you need to understand that I narrowed mine down to 100 target companies that I would reach out to. You may have to reach out to 1,000 to reach what I did with this 100, which means you will have to work harder and longer if you're not willing to spend money.
If that's your situation, that's totally fine. Just be prepared to put more effort into it. If your conversion rate is just 1%, you can pick up many potential clients.
Master Your Sales Pitch
But don't forget that regardless of how many people respond to your campaign, online or direct marketing, you still must have a prepared sales pitch. This must include the message of what you offer, and you must convince these potential clients to sign up with you and use your service.
Once you launch your campaigns, be prepared. Know what you're going to say to the people who will call or email you. When you are ready, you are more likely to convert your potential prospects into clients. And that is the whole purpose of doing any kind of marketing campaign.
Any time you get discouraged, I want you to remember that one client with one truck is worth $12,000 to $16,000 of annual revenue for you. So, I know it's hard to make phone calls and manage email campaigns, and I know it's hard to build a website or run online advertising, but it is necessary if you want to build a successful business.
© By Roman Shmundyak March 2022
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