LTL 101:Dealing with Damaged Freight 

Damaged freight is an unavoidable part of transporting freight, and while frustrating and challenging, there are things you can do to help mitigate the loss. Check out our tips on dealing with damaged freight below.

1: What do I do when I receive damaged freight?

Sign the delivery receipt as damaged… I repeat, SIGN THE DELIVERY RECEIPT AS DAMAGED!  If the receipt is signed as “clear”, it is almost guaranteed that your freight claim amount will be reduced to a settlement, or worse, denied altogether.

Below are a couple things to remember when signing for damages:

  • Notate all damages – If only one item is noted as damaged, more than likely the carrier will only refund that one item
  • “Subject to Inspection” is NOT a valid notation – This notation is not enough to hold the carrier liable.  When in doubt, notate “Damaged.”
  • If you must, refuse the freight – In cases where the driver will not let you sign or check for damages, refuse the freight.

2: Does the carrier need to be notified?

In short, yes, the carrier needs to be notified. Proper notations on the delivery receipt constitute as notifying the carrier.  If damages are noticed after the delivery, the carrier should be notified ASAP, and MUST be within 15 days of the delivery.  In most cases, any damaged shipment where the carrier was notified later than 15 days after delivery will be immediately denied by the carrier.

3: What do I need to file a damage freight claim?

When filing a freight claim, the more documentation, the better.  However, there are a few key documents that you should include with every freight claim.

  • Completed freight claim form
  • Product invoice/sales invoice
  • Proof of delivery/delivery receipt
  • Original Bill of Lading
  • Carrier freight bill (for freight charges)
  • Repair cost invoice (if applicable)

4: What should I do with the damaged freight?

Through every freight claims process, the freight needs to be available for the carrier, usually for inspection or salvage pickup.  This means the freight needs to be held onto until the freight claim is resolved.  DO NOT throw away the freight, including the packaging as this could result in the carrier denying the freight claim.

Your options are as follows:

  • The consignee can accept the freight and sign the POD as damaged/short and hold the freight until the freight claim is resolved
  • The consignee can refuse the freight and have it shipped back to the shipper (usually Free Astray) where the shipper will hold the freight until the freight claim is resolved
  • In some rare cases, carriers will dispose of the freight themselves if given the okay by the customer due to a complete loss of the product.
  • The carrier WILL NOT hold onto the damaged freight during the freight claims process and storage charges will accrue if disposition is not given to the carrier in a timely manner.

Training Tuesday:The 3 P’s of Value

Value-added selling is one of the best techniques to accurately represent and sell your product but also provide a reason for a prospect as to why they should buy from you and pay your prices. Understanding exactly what adds that kind of value can be tricky. Below are the top 3 things that we believe add value to your services.

  1. Personal – Keep the personal element at the forefront of your sales process. Focus on offering quality service at all stages of the sales process and the post-sale interactions you have with that customer. Additionally, adding value through additional services – like tech support or company-specific training – can also be a great technique. One other benefit of staying focused on the personal connection is that it increases the level of trust or credibility that your prospect or client has in your abilities and services.
  2. Perception – Seeing is believing/perceiving is believing. In this world of proving the worth of something, it’s all about what we believe the value to be. It’s the customer’s perception of the value you are adding that counts.
  3. Performance – You may get the business by creating the perception of greater value, but you keep it through performance. If you are selling all of this added value, you have to actually deliver it. You must prove and provide the value you promise in your sales presentation.

Remembering the 3 P’s of adding value can be a really helpful way to approach the technique of value-added selling.


Training Tuesday– Becoming a More Successful Salesperson

There are many ways to become a better salesperson, and one of the most successful is to continuously research and work to enhance your skills in small ways. Taking the time each and every day to actively work towards improving yourself and your sales skills, is the best way to increase your level of success in sales. To that end, below are some quick tips and tidbits that you can almost immediately apply to your selling techniques or mindset.

  • Be consistent and communicative – don’t leave prospects hanging and waiting to hear from you
  • Be enthusiastic. Have a sense of urgency in the way you treat your job and your life. Find ways to bring excitement and enthusiasm to every sale. Richard Branson says, “Boring your customer is worse than pissing them off.” It is incredibly powerful if you can be enthusiastic and happy in spite of your situation or others around you who may be less so.
  • With customers, be a chameleon. Adapt to their needs rather than expecting them to adapt to you.
  • Be a good listener. Sometimes a customer has had a bad day and just needs to talk about it – let them. Some people want to be listened to more than they want their problems solved.
  • Try to avoid arguments. Sometimes you can win the argument, but lose the sale, and being right isn’t always the most important thing.
  • Behave ethically at all times. Never sell your customer something you know they don’t need. Expect objections and be sure to have responses for the most common objections, but maintain honesty and integrity in these situations.
  • Conquer your “impostor syndrome.” You must let go of the thought that you might be an impostor, or that you don’t deserve greater success. Many of those around you, and even above you, likely have similar feelings about if they “deserve” their success. Once you become comfortable with the idea that you can be successful, you subconsciously open the door to more opportunities for success. Be the master of your destiny – take control of your life and career.
  • Set SMART goals. Goals should be:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Realistic
    • Timely

LTL 101:Appointment vs. Notification

This week we want to switch gears and discuss the difference between an appointment and a notify before delivery.  

Delivery Appointments:

  • Appointments cannot be set until the freight arrives at the destination terminal.
  • Contact must be made with the consignee to deliver.
    • LTL Carriers will always make appointments, we cannot make the appointments for them. However, if they cannot get a hold of the consignee we may assist them.
    • We can’t stress enough how important it is to contact the consignee even if they are not your customer in order to understand their appointment process.
    • It is best practice to then get with the carrier to insure they are not having trouble setting up an appointment and causing further delays.
      • It is not the carrier’s responsibility to understand every consignee’s appointment process.

A great example of the above is Grocery Warehouses: If the carrier needs to book an appointment online or reference PO#s in order to get the freight delivered then we need to put this info as clear and concise as possible on the BOL. This info must be entered on the “special instructions” section under the carrier tab in BTMS.

  • Appointments can sometimes delay transit by 1-2 days with the freight sitting on the dock.
    • Don’t forget that LTL drivers depart from their terminals early in the morning and if an appointment cannot be set prior to their trailers being loaded, your freight will be left behind.
    • Regardless if “THE FREIGHT MUST DELIVER TODAY” the drivers will not go back to the terminal once they have dispatched for the day.
  • A few things to keep in mind with appointments:
    • Specific delivery windows can cause a driver to take an inefficient route which has a domino effect on all shipments for that day.
    • Some consignees may have Drop Trailer schedules set up with certain carriers.
    • Some consignees may have standing appointments set up with certain carriers.

Notify Before Delivery:

  • Your shipment does not have to deliver at a specified time and may arrive any time between the standard LTL hours of 8am and 5pm local time.
  • This is typically used when shipping to residences, storage facilities, or even businesses with limited dock space.
  • Drivers do not call ahead to the shipping location. This is done by a dispatcher or clerk at the destination terminal and sometimes even at the corporate offices of the LTL carrier.
  • This can cause a delay in transit while the freight sits on the dock until the consignee can be notified.
    • Due to the high amount of volume in LTL and depending on the size of the terminal, there could be multiple, even hundreds of shipments that need to be notified for the day.
    • If the consignee cannot be reached on the due date of delivery after multiple attempts, it is highly possible that the freight will be held at the terminal until contact can be made.

Remember: If you’re looking to set up a Delivery Appointment you’ll need to select that particular service. But if you’re just looking for a “head’s up,” then Notify Consignee is the accessorial you’re looking for.


Training Tuesday:Sales Email Tips

Email may be a hard way to sell – but it is worth a little extra time to send stronger sales emails. Of course, email should never be your primary method of contact with a prospect unless you’ve already spoken with them. It is hard to get prospects to open and respond to emails, so we have some tips for improving your sales emails.

  1. The perfect time to deploy a sales email is after a call, as a follow up – with a call to action. If you’ve finished a phone call with a prospect, a follow up email is the perfect place to reiterate the key points of your discussion with them and to offer additional information that may be valuable to them. The email should also include some sort of planning for future conversations, or a call to action, otherwise prospects will question why you’ve sent it, and may begin to feel you are wasting their time.
  2. Craft the perfect subject line. Keep subject lines short and sweet – increasing numbers of emails are opened on smartphones, and they have a limited number of words shown in subject lines. Make sure it is clear what you are emailing them about and avoid misleading subject lines or irrelevant information.
  3. Keep formatting and fonts simple. Some email software will strip out fancy formatting and fonts on the receiving end, and that can result in jumbled emails if you don’t keep it simple. Stick to a simple font, and normal paragraph and line breaks.
  4. Maintain a conversational tone but keep it professional. You want to sound friendly and engaging, but remember that this is a prospective client, so avoid overly informal language or emojis. Also, double check your spelling and grammar, and always check for typos to avoid looking unprofessional.

Email can be a helpful and efficient sales tool when utilized properly in conjunction with other sales methods and tools, like phone calls and social media, but it is important to remember some simple rules for crafting professional and relevant emails.


Training Tuesday:Closing More Sales, More Easily

If you can’t “close the deal” then you aren’t really succeeding as a salesperson. The main goal of a sales presentation or meeting is to make a sale, and if you aren’t willing to ask for their business then you won’t get it. While closing can seem challenging, and does present unique difficulties, it can be conquered with practice.

Never reduce the price or offer a discount to try to win their business. If being the cheapest is your only way to close the deal, then you need to re-evaluate your sales presentation and figure out how you can add value for your prospects. It may be tempting to reduce the price, as this could be the fastest way to convince the prospect to sign a contract, but you should instead plan to have a few non-monetary concessions to offer a particularly stubborn prospect. If you can make a concession not based on finances or price, then you are more likely to convince the prospect that you are both winning from making this deal.

Avoid trying to use manipulative tactics. At this point, most prospects have been trained to recognize overly manipulative sales and closing tactics. If you really believe in what you are selling and saying, a prospect will be able to tell, and that belief and confidence is often more compelling than some manipulative or dishonest closing method. As part of that, it is important not to make a promise you can’t keep. Don’t offer something you can’t fully deliver just to close a sale. Having a bunch of unhappy customers down the line will eventually begin to affect your selling and closing success as the word spreads that you don’t deliver on promises made during the sales presentation.

Show that you are truly listening to your prospects and attempt to genuinely engage with them. Building rapport throughout the presentation will make a prospect more likely to say “Yes” when you ask for their business. If you can foster a sense of trust and understanding, that will build the prospect’s confidence in your ability to provide them with the best service.

Overall, closing the deal should feel like a natural continuation of the sales presentation. After all, if you’ve delivered a successful and impactful presentation, the prospect will be excited to work with you and take advantage of all of the great things you offer them.


LTL 101:NMFC Transportability

Remember the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC®) is a standard that provides a comparison of commodities moving in interstate, intrastate and foreign commerce. Commodities are grouped into one of 18 classes—from a low of class 50 to a high of class 500—based on an evaluation of four transportation characteristics: density, stow-ability, handling, and liability. Together, these characteristics establish a commodity’s “transportability.”

These characteristics can be defined as follows: 

  1. Density (Weight, Length, & Height): Density is the space the item occupies in relation to its weight. The density is calculated by dividing the weight of the item in pounds by its volume in cubic feet. Your item’s volume in cubic feet is Length x Width x Height/1,728, where all dimensions are measured in inches. The density of your item = Weight/Volume, where Weight is measured in pounds and Volume is measured in cubic feet.
  2. Stow-ability: Most freight stows well in trucks, trains and boats, but some articles are regulated by the government or carrier policies. Some items cannot be loaded together. Hazardous materials are transported in specific manners. Excessive weight, length or protrusions can make freight impossible to load with other freight. The absence of load-bearing surfaces makes freight impossible to stack. A quantifiable stow-ability classification represents the difficulty in loading and carrying these items.
  3. Handling: Most freight is loaded with mechanical equipment and poses no handling difficulties, but some freight, due to weight, shape, fragility or hazardous properties, requires special attention. A classification that represents ease or difficulty of loading and carrying the freight is assigned to the items.
  4. Liability: Liability is probability of freight theft or damage, or damage to adjacent freight. Perishable cargo or cargo prone to spontaneous combustion or explosion is classified based on liability and assigned a value per pound, which is a fraction of the carrier’s liability. When classification is based on liability, density must also be considered.

Sub-NMFC Codes

Yes, there is more! There are also Sub-NMFC codes which are noted with a dash after the code (i.e. 41024-04). Make sure to confirm that the Sub-NMFC code matches the correct freight class. Carriers sometimes overlook this, but it’s also not uncommon for them to charge you at the higher class; whether it be the class that was listed, or the class corresponding to the Sub-NMFC codes on the BOL. These can often be disputed, but usually require a manufacturer’s specification sheet and a packing list proving the correct class. That’s more work for all parties and can be avoided by simply double-checking to make sure your class and NMFC code match.

Don’t forget we are participants of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association which means we have access to multiple ways of obtaining the correct NMFC number/code for your shipments. If you have any questions or doubts regarding your product’s freight class, please reach out to the LTL Team.


Training Tuesday:Improving Your Sales Presentation

Some salespeople will tell you that they don’t have a set presentation, that they don’t like presentations, or even that they choose not to have a presentation because “just talking” to the prospect is better. While these things may suit some salespeople and clients, for the majority, it is important to have an excellent sales presentation. If you develop a presentation you are proud of, you can easily tweak it to suit specific prospective customers, reducing your stress levels, amount of time wasted, and increasing your chances of closing the sale. Plus, once you have a basic presentation that works, you can practice it, and the more you practice, the more confident and successful your sales pitch will be.

With all that in mind, below are some tips for improving your sales presentation:

  1. Give context about the industry. If you can give the client context about how your company is on the cutting edge of whatever trends are happening in your industry, or how your company will help them make strides towards the future of their industry, you make it even more attractive to work with you.
  2. Find their pain point – and tell that story. Show that you understand their issues and “pain points” and then you are in a strong position to share what they can gain from working with you. Making sure they feel understood – and making it clear that you understand their issues and have helped solve their exact problem before will instill a sense of confidence and comfort in working with you.
  3. Show them proof of the results. Give them evidence that what you are offering isn’t too good to be true. Offering proof of your success – or other companies’ successes due to your partnership allows them to see that you are the “real deal” and will be able to help them instead of making empty promises just to close a sale.
  4. Short, sweet, and visual. Make sure your presentation is short and to the point. You don’t need excess time or wordiness in the sales presentation, as it just makes the presentation boring and hard to remember. You can improve retention and attention by replacing words with visuals (infographics, pictures, charts) and by keeping your presentation length to just under 10 minutes.
  5. Let the prospect interrupt and give feedback. Allowing the prospect to interrupt your presentation will give you invaluable information about their needs, and about where you could change and improve your presentation. Asking for feedback after the presentation also allows a shy prospect the opportunity to ask questions or tell you what they need to know.

The most important key to a successful sales presentation is finding out the magical combination of techniques and elements that works for you, your industry, and your ideal or typical prospects.