Multimodal Wednesday:Intermodal Benefits

Intermodal 101: Benefits

Adding intermodal shipping into your arsenal will allow you a much greater level of flexibility in meeting your customer commitments. Right now, as fall is fast approaching, over the road (OTR) equipment is becoming tighter. When that happens, the shipper will often face not meeting scheduled delivery date/time for their customer, or they will have to pay more to meet their commitments. Neither of these scenarios are positive.

By opening to intermodal shipping, you are allowing the following positives to become part of your shipping strategy:
1. Access to an additional 200,000 pieces of capacity to help move your freight, available in a variety of sizes: 20’, 40’, 40’HC (high cube), 45’, 48’ and 53’. In fact, intermodal is pioneering a 60’ container in Canada right now, that may make its way into the US within the next 5 years.
2. The potential for lower rates, or at least maintaining rate consistency
3. A more environmentally sound shipping strategy
4. Consistent transit scheduling, including avoidance of any “out of hours” stoppages that you may find in OTR shipping

Just as importantly, having the option to ship via intermodal prevents you from falling behind your competition who may already be shipping in this mode. Whatever type of company you are, your best competitors are probably already shipping intermodal or at least considering where it might fit. To stay on an even playing field, you must have this tool as well. And, once implemented, you will now be steps ahead of some of your competition who have not made the commitment.

If you have questions about intermodal, or would like to get started, contact us at

Check in on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month for more information on intermodal. Shipping intermodal has many benefits but is not necessarily right for all situations. The next installment will discuss some of the concerns shipping intermodal may precipitate.


Training Tuesday:Consultative Selling

Consultative Selling

Treat all your sales work as a consulting assignment.  Consultative selling turns salespeople into experts and clients into partners.  When you first meet the prospect take your “sell” sign down for the majority, if not all, of your first call.

Some sales reps visit a customer two or three times, ask them every question they can think of except the most important question of all – asking the customer to buy their service. You can and should qualify the customer and re-visit their needs on a regular basis.  If they’re qualified to buy and you don’t offer SunteckTTS’s help, then you’re doing them a disservice.  On the other hand, if you keep calling on a customer who’s not qualified, you’re stealing time and money from yourself.  Be sure after you’ve made a consultative sales call that you follow up by asking for their business.

The best salespeople are professional problem solvers.  We’re in the business of solving transportation problems.  But you have to know and understand the problem first before you try to solve it.

There will come a point when the customer will be ready to move past the small talk, and usually it’s quicker than you might think.  You can tactfully do this without jeopardizing the emerging relationship by giving the prospect a reason to answer your questions.

On every sales call, be the student, because you really are. In transportation sales it’s questions, questions, and more questions. Know the questions you’re going to ask before you arrive at the customer’s desk.

Sales listening is patient listening.  Don’t anxiously wait for an opportunity to jump in and solve all the customer’s problems right away.

Take notes!  Taking notes during your meeting with the prospect can be one of your most powerful sales tools as it helps you listen and puts you in a position of authority.

Last, but not least, be sure to wrap up the appointment by asking for the next appointment, and by getting a positive response on a trial close.

Check back next Tuesday for more tips on Selling SunteckTTS. The full playlist of videos can be found on our YouTube channel.


Multimodal Wednesday:LTL Unexpected Charges

LTL: Unexpected Charges

While LTL shipping has its advantages, there are also some things to watch out for that are unique to LTL. Often there can be unexpected charges due to certain factors of a shipment, and these will not be included in an initial rate estimate. Today we are covering a few of these charges and things to watch out for when shipping a load via LTL.

Did you know that many customers get invoiced at a much higher rate due to their shipments being “hit” with Cubic Capacity, Exceeds Linear Foot, or Oversize Dims? All three of these things are different and very expensive so pay close attention to what your customer is shipping.

Cubic Capacity
This is when a shipment is greater than 750 cubic feet and an average density of 6 or less (some carriers are 4 or less).

  • Example of a Cubic Capacity load:
    • 6 Pallets at 2600 lbs., each pallet is 48x48x55, cubic feet is 768, and the density is only 5.91
  • This shipment would get “hit” with cubic capacity without a quote.

Linear Foot Rule
Each carrier has their own version of the linear foot rule. If your shipment equals more than the LTL linear foot rule for that carrier then it will get “hit” with the “exceeds linear feet” fee.

  • Example of Linear Foot load:
    • 5 pallets at 5000 lbs., each pallet is 49x49x50, and because the pallets cannot be placed side by side this shipment takes up a little more than 20’ of space

Each carrier has an over dimension rule; most LTL carriers are 12′. The oversize accessorial should be applied to any shipment 12’ or more. You can find the “Linear Foot Rule” for most carriers by looking at their carrier tariff on their websites.
Check back every 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month for more inside information on LTL through our Multimodal Wednesday Series.


Training Tuesday:Tips for the Initial Approach

Tips for Making the Initial Approach

The initial approach to a prospect is the most crucial part of the sales presentation.  All the selling skills in the world won’t matter if you don’t get your foot in the door. First impressions are lasting impressions. You can’t win everyone over with a single script designed to handle the first few minutes. Below are some of our top tips for the initial approach.

1.Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you can win the prospect’s confidence, you’ll self-destruct in the opening moments of your first sales call.

2. Develop and maintain a positive attitude.

3. Shake hands firmly, but don’t overdo it.

4. Be conversational and use humor early.

5. Don’t prejudge the prospect. Everyone is different. Accommodate and welcome the differences.

6. Qualify the buyer early, preferably before your first face-to-face meeting.

7. Believe in SunteckTTS and the services you sell.

8. Know the prospect’s industry and business before you make the call.

9. Look professional. Your appearance is the first thing the prospect notices.

10. Be prompt. Lateness tells the prospect you don’t respect his or her time.

11. Be sincere. Sincerity wins customers – insincerity loses customers and prospective customers.


Check back next Tuesday for more tips on Selling SunteckTTS. The full playlist of videos can be found on our YouTube channel.


Multimodal Wednesday:Intermodal B&B

Intermodal 101: Blocking and Bracing

Moving freight via Intermodal is a great decision for many reasons that will be discussed as we move forward in this series. Blocking and Bracing of shipments is an extremely important component of intermodal shipping.

Intermodal travel, especially in stack containers, provides a very good ride quality, but there does need to be additional load securement prior to it being loaded on the train.  One simple way to remember the basics, according to the Union Pacific, is through the acronym SAFE LOAD:

S –  Secure the lading

A –  Always plan your load

F –  Fill the empty spaces

E –  Evenly distribute the weight

L –  Look to ensure lading does not exceed 2500 lbs per linear foot

O – Only use AAR (Association of American Railroads) approved dunnage

A – Apply appropriate blocking and bracing

D – Do not use pallets as filler

Each railroad offers guides for shipment securement on their websites.  It is important to remember this requirement when considering Intermodal as your method of transportation.

If you have questions about intermodal, or would like to get started, contact us at intermodal@suntecktts.

Check in on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month for more information on intermodal. The next installment will discuss some of the major reasons you should consider intermodal given the current market conditions.



Training Tuesday:How to Leave a Voicemail

How to Leave a Voicemail

Voicemail is both a terrific tool and also the world’s most effective gatekeeper. You have to become comfortable with leaving messages.  Use all the same tools you use when speaking with a live gatekeeper: be aggressive, assume control, sound important and confident.

Be clear and clever.  Make sure you sound enthusiastic and authoritative on your business and theirs.

Leaving good voicemail messages requires practice.  Leave practice voicemail messages on your own or fellow salespersons’ machines.  Don’t repeat yourself, and be sure to leave your telephone number.  You’d be surprised to find out how many people forget to leave their number.

Make your message short – less than 30 seconds.  Give the prospect headlines instead of the entire story.

Don’t expect all prospects to return your call.  After you’ve left two voicemail messages for a prospect, your next strategy is to get around the machine. After all, your ultimate goal is to set an appointment when you can meet the prospect face-to-face.

When you finally reach your prospect on the phone remember you didn’t call to make the sale, only to make an appointment.

Speak slowly and clearly.  Smile with your voice. Prospects like to buy from people they’re comfortable with.  Be sure to project your friendliness over the phone line.

Be an energetic speaker.  An energetic voice expresses your enthusiasm for SunteckTTS.

Listen attentively. Sometimes the prospect will give you some useful information that you can use during your face-to-face appointment.  Be sure to take notes while you’re talking on the phone with the prospect.  Verify the prospect’s address and any other information needed for your scheduled meeting.

Check back next Tuesday for more tips on Selling SunteckTTS. The full playlist of videos can be found on our YouTube channel.


Multimodal Wednesday:LTL BOLs


  • A BOL (Bill of Lading) serves as the legal binding contract between the carrier and SunteckTTS
  • It provides all the details needed for a carrier to process and invoice a shipment
  • If incorrect shipment or billing information is provided at the time of pick up you will incur additional charges
  • Every carrier has their own set of specific charges for each instance
  • When a BOL is given to any carrier without a class or National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) number, they will defer to their default or “courtesy” class/NMFC number based on their individual Rules Tariff
  • Corrected BOLs can be sent to every carrier, and we can request carriers re-rate our invoices based on the Corrected BOL, but there are no legal means of making the carrier re-rate based on the original BOL given at the time of P/U
  • Fees will apply for a corrected BOL (CBOL) based on the carriers individual Rules Tariff
  • Carriers have the option to charge for services provided based on their Rules Tariff up to 180 days after the fact and they are protected by the U.S. Government
  • Don’t forget we will always have the option to dispute, even on a late charge
  • If the carrier does not submit their “balance due” bill(s) within 180 days, we have a legal right to refuse payment

Check back every 2nd and 4th Wednesday each month for more inside information on LTL through our Multimodal Wednesday Series.

Please see below for the entire law:
U.S. Government Publishing Office
United States Code, 2006 Edition, Supplement 3, Title 49 – TRANSPORTATION
(3)Billing disputes.—
(A)Initiated by motor carriers.—
In those cases where a motor carrier (other than a motor carrier providing transportation of household goods or in noncontiguous domestic trade) seeks to collect charges in addition to those billed and collected which are contested by the payor, the carrier may request that the Board determine whether any additional charges over those billed and collected must be paid. A carrier must issue any bill for charges in addition to those originally billed within 180 days of the receipt of the original bill in order to have the right to collect such charges.
(B)Initiated by shippers.—
If a shipper seeks to contest the charges originally billed or additional charges subsequently billed, the shipper may request that the Board determine whether the charges billed must be paid. A shipper must contest the original bill or subsequent bill within 180 days of receipt of the bill in order to have the right to contest such charges.


Training Tuesday:Making the First Call

Training Tuesday: How to Make the First Call

Your only objective for using the telephone on a cold call is to schedule an appointment.  Never attempt to sell at this stage.  The only purpose of the initial call is to set up a time for the prospect to hear your presentation. 

1.Know the decision maker’s information and how you obtained the lead. Never call a prospect without knowing his or her name in advance.

2.Assume control of the conversation, but remain polite and friendly.

3.Speak with conviction. You have to believe that SunteckTTS can help your customer. Be well prepared with answers to common questions.

It’s a matter of how you see and carry yourself.  You must always keep in mind that your objective is not to leave the decision in the hands of a third party screening the prospects’ calls.  Your prospect’s decision on who they trust to ship their goods is one of the most important decisions they make. Be persistent.  Make sure they get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that only you can sell them.

Be aggressive, assume control, sound important and confident.

Check back next Tuesday for more tips on Selling SunteckTTS. The full playlist of videos can be found on our YouTube channel.



Why SunteckTTS?Small Company Feel

Keep Your Small Company Feel

Top 5 Reasons to Become an Agent with SunteckTTS
1. Utilize our back-office support
2. Focus on what you do best
3. Lessen your risk
4. Keep your small company feel
5. Maintain your operating autonomy

Number 4 on our list of the top 5 reasons to become a SunteckTTS agent is that you can keep your small company feel but take advantage of our big company resources and industry reputation. Company culture is one of the most important keys to employee success and happiness in the workplace, and engaged employees are essential to the success of your business. A partnership with SunteckTTS allows you the unique opportunity to create the company culture you’ve always wanted or simply maintain the culture you have and love.

You can utilize our resources as a large company – particularly financial stability and better, bigger buying power – while running your business how you want to. Due to our large nationwide presence, we have the connections and industry reputation you need to secure customers and their freight.

Check back every Friday for an up-close look at each of these (and many more) reasons why you should join the SunteckTTS agent team.


Multimodal Wednesday:Intermodal 101


Intermodal simply means more than one mode of transport. In domestic transportation, “intermodal” typically refers to the “Truck/Rail/Truck” combination.

An intermodal shipment is usually handled in the following stages:

  • An empty trailer/container is picked up by a drayage carrier and taken to the shipping location for loading.
  • The loaded trailer/container is then taken to a rail yard and loaded onto a rail car to be transported to a rail ramp location near the consignee.
  • A drayage carrier then picks up the loaded container/trailer from the ramp and delivers the product to the consignee.

While that may seem like a lot of moving parts, there are certainly benefits to moving freight in this manner. Some of the most important ones include:

  • The BCO (Beneficial Cargo Owner) could save a significant amount of money if the traffic lane is conducive to intermodal shipping
  • Access to up to 200,000 additional pieces of equipment for loading
  • Environmentally friendly shipping methods for BCOs who have corporate directives to reduce the size of their carbon footprint

Intermodal is not always the best method for all shippers because it requires the coordination of a lot of moving parts and excellent communication to keep the shipment moving on time. However, if properly utilized, intermodal is an excellent way to move freight.

If you have questions about intermodal, or would like to get started, contact us at intermodal@suntecktts.


Check back every 1st and 3rd Wednesday each month to learn more about intermodal.