LTL 101:Drop Trailers

From time to time you may run into a drop trailer with one of your LTL shipments.

A drop trailer is a trailer that is left at a location for an indeterminate amount of time. It’s “dropped,” and picked up later. Most of the time, a drop trailer is used at locations that ship or receive often enough to fill up or unload a full trailer in a week or even a day, depending on production. The location doesn’t matter as much as the amount of freight that is moving in or out of the specified location and the agreement in place with each LTL carrier.

Think about it like this: Let’s say you have a shipment going to a warehouse that multiple manufacturers ship to as well. This warehouse has pre-established relationships with a handful of LTL carriers. In order to save time and money they will consolidate and reduce traffic flow to their receiving docks by collaborating with LTL carriers and advise them to only “drop” a trailer at their location when the LTL carrier has a full trailer. This could potentially delay your expected delivery date.

There are numerous ways in which the LTL carriers can handle a drop trailer situation, but the main thing to keep in mind is that your shipment may not deliver on time due to it being a drop trailer which may also change the way in which the PODs are received from the consignee. Due to the nature of drop trailers, PODs are usually handled differently and will almost always take longer to receive considering the consignee is unloading a full trailer of shipments from multiple shippers.

Though the use of drop trailers isn’t exactly common, it’s not something to be afraid of when it comes to your LTL shipments. A little understanding goes a long way. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with drop trailers:

Drop trailers can sometimes lead to delays. Before you panic about delays, remember that the manufacturer is often very aware a drop trailer is being used, and so should the buyer. Don’t be afraid to ask if the shipper or consignee have any drop trailer processes in place so you can educate your customer as well. Most drop trailer situations do not revolve around freight that is time-sensitive. If your freight is on a tight schedule, make sure to use a different carrier.

Not all carriers do drop trailers. Just because one carrier uses a drop trailer at a certain location doesn’t mean that EVERY carrier uses a drop trailer there. Trailers belong to carriers, so if you can’t afford to have a drop trailer on a shipment, simply look at using a different carrier. It may not be the cheapest of the bunch, but there will always be options available.

Stay away from perishables. For obvious reasons, if you’re shipping perishable items, make sure you’re not dealing with drop trailers.


Training Tuesday– Silence and Sales Listening

Often the most important part of your sales pitch is when you are completely silent. We often rush through all the great benefits of why a customer would buy, without really listening to them tell us what they need…why they might buy from us. Silence is often uncomfortable and we feel the need to fill the space, but silence is often one of the most important pieces of the sales puzzle.

It’s not what we say that makes the sale, it’s what we can get the prospect to say.

Begin with Questions

Think about how many times you launch right into your presentation thinking you know what the prospect wants. Sometime later, often too much later, you find you’re on the wrong track. The prospect has an entirely different need – one you might have uncovered by asking open-ended questions that required more than a yes or no response. Then you could have focused on what the customer wanted instead of what you had to sell. Stop thinking so much about what you are going to say and concentrate on what the prospect is telling you.

It’s a paradox: the more we try to tell the prospect up front, the more barriers we create to the purchase. The more we listen to why he or she wants to buy, the more we can tailor our delivery to providing very specific information concerning how our product or service fits his or her needs.

Ask More Questions

The opening question is merely the first in a series of questions that guide the dialogue. If we want to involve someone – the first step in convincing that someone – every comment should end with a question that solicits more information. After you ask a question, let the prospect answer, don’t be too anxious to fill the silence.

Don’t Rush in with Answers

Break yourself of the habit of jumping in too quickly after the prospect finishes. Instead, train yourself to wait several seconds after the customer has stopped talking before they begin. That gives you ample time to think about your response and answer in a way that reflects the customer’s concerns.

Get in a habit of paraphrasing what the prospect has said. This reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding what was said, and it boosts the prospect’s ego.

Learn to Listen

You need to learn to listen with your eyes, ears, and entire body. Use body language that shows you are paying close attention and your listening habits will automatically improve.

And finally, listen for buying signals. You’ll never remember a buying signal from the customer when you’re doing all the talking.


LTL 101:Shipping Hazardous Materials

The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has specific rules for shipping hazardous materials. SunteckTTS can help you determine the DOT hazardous class for your shipment and find contract freight carriers that meet DOT safety and transportation requirements.

Hazardous materials are defined by the U. S. Department of Transportation in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Material Law regulations. A DOT hazardous material classification is applied if a material, in a particular amount and form, poses an unreasonable risk to health, safety or property.

Below is the list of DOT hazard classes:

DOT Hazard Class 1: Explosives.

Division 1.1: Explosives with a mass explosion hazard
Division 1.2: Explosives with a projection hazard
Division 1.3: Explosives with predominantly a fire hazard
Division 1.4: Explosives with no significant blast hazard
Division 1.5: Very insensitive explosives
Division 1.6: Extremely insensitive explosive articles

DOT Hazard Class 2: Gases.

Division 2.1: Flammable gases
Division 2.2: Non-flammable gases
Division 2.3: Poison gases
Division 2.4: Corrosive gases

DOT Hazard Class 3: Flammable liquids.

Division 3.1: Flashpoint below -18°C(0°F)
Division 3.2: Flashpoint below -18°C and above, but less than 23°C(73°F)
Division 3.3: Flashpoint 23°C and up to 61°C(141°F)

DOT Hazard Class 4: Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible materials, and materials that are dangerous when wet.

Division 4.1: Flammable solids
Division 4.2: Spontaneously combustible materials
Division 4.3: Materials that are dangerous when wet

DOT Hazard Class 5: Oxidizers and organic peroxides.

Division 5.1: Oxidizers
Division 5.2: Organic peroxides

DOT Hazard Class 6: Poisons and etiologic materials.

Division 6.1: Poisonous materials
Division 6.2: Etiologic (infectious) materials

DOT Hazard Class 7: Radioactive material.

Any material, or combination of materials, that spontaneously gives off ionizing radiation. It has a specific activity greater than 0.002 microcopies per gram.

DOT Hazard Class 8: Corrosives.

A material, liquid or solid, that causes visible destruction or irreversible alteration to human skin or a liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum.

DOT Hazard Class 9: Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles.

A material that presents a hazard during transport, but which is not included in another hazardous freight classification.

ORM-D: Other regulated material.

A material that, although otherwise subjected to regulations, presents a limited hazard during transportation due to its form, quantity and packaging.


In order to avoid any issues while booking HAZMAT loads please contact your local SunteckTTS agent so that they can insure your BOL is set up correctly and you have classified your hazardous materials properly with the correct UN Number, Shipping Name, Description, Group, Class and Placard Type.


Training Tuesday:Questions for the Sales Call

Knowing the questions you’re going to ask before you arrive at the customer’s desk or get them on the phone is essential to a productive sales call. The information you can collect from the customer through asking targeted questions with increase your chances of putting together a winning proposal after you’ve made your consultative sales call. You won’t have the opportunity to ask all of the questions outlined below, but over time the information you secure will allow you to earn more and more of your customer’s business.

Some of our best questions are below:

What does your company specialize in? Manufacturing? Distribution?

What do you ship? In what quantities? Expedited? Truckload? LTL? Intermodal?

In what lanes do you ship, and how often?

What is the average value of each shipment? Would you be interested in our ability to purchase affordable shipper’s insurance?

What service level is required? To where?

How is your product packaged? Palletized? Shrink wrapped? What is the average weight of each shipment?

What is the normal pick up time? Do you have any unusual pickup requirements?

What is the frequency of your shipments?

What is your average monthly cost for freight transportation?

How do you feel about your current freight transportation service? Pricing? Efficiency?

Would you benefit from adding shipping services that are not available with your current broker, carrier, or 3PL?

What services would you most like to add? What is the benefit?

What is most important to you: service, stability, technology, or something else? Why?

What would cause you to begin using a different carrier or broker?


After asking some of the above questions, be sure to wrap up the appointment by asking for the next appointment and initiating a trial close. The trial close, something like “I’d like to prepare a customized program for your company. Would you be able to commit to giving us a shot to prove that we can offer the kind of service you need?” lets the prospect know that your next call will include more of a sales push. It prepares them to say “yes” when you come back later and ask them to buy.

Good questions lead to profitable answers!