Being able to solve problems for your customers is one of
the most important skills you can have as a sales person. Solving problems will
require time, thought, and individual attention, but once you have a set of
skills in place, you can begin to handle problems quickly, easily, and
The first step should always be to actively listen to what
they’re saying. If you don’t understand the question the customer is asking,
how can you expect to provide a helpful solution or answer? You should make
every effort to clarify their question, problem, or objection before you even
start to formulate a solution. In the clarification process, hopefully your
prospect or customer will give you additional details that can help you solve
After you have defined the problem, you can begin to
brainstorm solutions and identify options. Once you have a list of options, you’re
better equipped to determine what will actually work for a particular customer
After you’ve come up with a viable solution, you should
answer the question head on, honestly, simply, and succinctly. Present the
solution and then, if accepted, implement it efficiently.
It is very important to educate your consignee BEFORE the
freight is delivered about what the process will be like. Will they need a
liftgate? Will the driver be helping unload the freight in any form or manner?
By asking these questions in advance, and by making sure that the consignee and
you are on the same page, you can minimize additional charges on your invoice.
On the delivery receipt/proof of delivery (POD), issues
should be notated if you suspect that the value of the product has been
compromised. Make sure to notate any damage to the packaging, and/or
missing product. Having these notes on the POD makes it easier to file
a freight claim with the carrier. Claims can take quite a long time so
anything that you can do upfront saves time down the road.
Another tactic you can take is to refuse the shipment upon delivery if damage is present. Refusing a shipment means that the consignee does not accept the freight in the condition presented – meaning you will eventually file a damage claim. This will alert the carrier that something is wrong with the shipment and that they should get in touch with the appropriate party. Make sure you use this tactic responsibly, because if a shipment is not damaged the carrier can actually tack on a redelivery fee. Yikes!
of the most common additional services on a POD include:
- Lift Gate – Hydraulic lift on the rear of a truck used to assist in the unloading of freight.
- Inside Delivery – The driver is only responsible for moving the freight off the truck. If the driver helps move the freight more than a few feet away from the truck, even if it’s not “inside,” then an Inside Delivery fee may apply. Be very careful with this one because the terminology can be misleading and it varies by carrier.
- Limited Access (Residential) – This is up to the carrier’s discretion, however, there are locations that will always be deemed limited access. If a business is run from a home, or is in a residential area, carriers may charge this fee.
- Sort/Segregate – Certain locations may require a carrier to sort and segregate a shipment. This is additional handling beyond the normal duties of a driver that will incur additional fee(s). This charge is especially prevalent in grocery stores or distribution centers.
- Detention – With most LTL carriers, the first 30 minutes from when the driver arrives are free. Any additional time is subject to an additional detention fee. Again, the length of this “free time” as well as the charge for it varies by carrier.
So the next time you sign a POD when receiving your
shipment, be sure to review it and see if any additional services listed
are being used. If a service is pre-printed on the POD, then the need for this
service was most likely known in advance. However, if the driver marks
that an additional service was performed, then there will be an additional
charge. In some cases, it may be good practice to have your consignee obtain a
copy of the POD themselves.
It can be challenging to maintain momentum in sales without
being thoughtful about maintaining your motivation.
There are some questions that can make you (and your team)
more successful salespeople. These questions can help you create more
productive thoughts, habits, and attitudes.
- If I try, can I be successful?
- If I am successful, will there be a payoff?
- Is the payoff worth it to me?
Beyond those questions, here are some other questions to ask
yourself to increase your success:
- What is your purpose for selling?
- Who are you targeting and why?
- What are you going to tell them or ask them? Why?
- Are you selling what your customer needs? How can you convince them that you are?
- What goals do you have for each sales situation or visit? For more on goals, check out our earlier blog post of setting SMART goals.
Taking time to focus on what motivates you, and on how to increase
that motivation, is important to improving your success overall as a salesperson.