LTL 101:Density Based Rules and Price

Density is very important in selecting freight class. One carrier that rates solely on density of an item is Central Transport. Some carriers will rate based on density if the commodities’ National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a density based item. Three carriers that do this are Midwest Motor Express, UPS, and Saia.

With these NMFC density based rating carriers the general rule is anything under 48 inches high will be calculated as 48 inches and anything over 48 inches but under 96 inches will be calculated as 96 inches for density purposes.

Please see the actual wording from one of the carrier’s rules tariff below:

So how could this affect your shipment?

Say you were shipping 1 pallet of sheet steel, or NMFC 175120, which is a density based item.
• The dimensions are 144” L x 45” W x 18” H
• The total weight is 550lbs.
• This equates to 8.1 PCF & Class 100
o In turn, sub 6 would be selected for this NMFC (175120-6)

However, if you change the dimensions based on the carrier’s rules tariff above, you now have the following:
• The dimensions are 144” L x 45” W x 48” H
• The total weight is 550lbs.
• This equates to 3.1 PCF & Class 250
o In turn, sub 3 would be selected for this NMFC (175120-3)



LTL 101:Unexpected Charges

Did you know that many customers get invoiced at a much higher rate due to their shipments being “hit” with Cubic Capacity, Exceeds Linear Feet, 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.


Training Tuesday:Managing Stress, Part 2

Training Tuesday: More Stress Management Tips

Last week we addressed ten of our top tips for reducing stress and the negative effects that long lasting stress can have on success. Reducing stress is an important life skill involving techniques that take only minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. Below are ten more tips on reducing stress and improving general happiness and success.

11.Figure out the source of your stress. Focus on whether or not it’s your fault and if so, whether there is anything you can do about it.

12.Talk to people who work in similar jobs – it doesn’t necessarily have to be transportation sales, but preferably someone in outside sales.

13.Talk to someone who will help you develop an objective perspective of your situation. It can be someone at work you trust, a friend, or a professional.

14.Find something that makes you laugh. Hold onto it and pull it out when you need a good laugh.

15.Spend more time with people who make you laugh. Get together with co-workers regularly to share funny stories about daily disasters with an eye towards constructive solutions.

16.Smile more. Smiling is a great way to reduce stress and improve confidence and feelings of happiness.

17.Eat healthy. When we’re under stress, our bodies use up nutrients faster and less efficiently than they ordinarily do. Give yourself a boost by opting for healthier foods, increasing intake of vitamins and proteins, and reducing fats, caffeine, and sugar.

18.Stick to a regular sleep schedule.

19.Write down what you expect to accomplish and then get it done.

20.Start your day prepared. If any one factor will relieve more stress than another, it’s preparation.

Embracing even just a few of the ideas that we’ve mentioned is a great way to work towards reduced stress, greater happiness, and improved success.


Training Tuesday:Referrals

Referrals are the easiest sales you’ll make.  It’s your job to tell a purchasing manager that Sunteck offers the best service available; that’s what he expects you to say.  But when he hears it from a fellow purchasing manager then that’s something entirely different.

Always ask for referrals!  Asking for referrals is the difference between middle-of-the-pack sales agents and star performers.  And yet sales agents are usually terrified to ask for referrals.  Don’t be timid.  In our business, you have to ask for what you want.  If there’s not a competitive reason for a satisfied customer to object to giving you a referral, then they will about 70% of the time.  Always start by asking for referrals within their own company, on-site and at different locations.  Then, (while on the same visit or in later calls) branch out and ask for referrals to businesses in the area where they might know a decision-maker.

When asking for a referral, try and get this information: company name, contact name, new contact’s title, what they ship, address, telephone number, and how your client is acquainted with the referral.

I always ask the customer if he’d mind calling the referral for me.  Often your customer will decline, so at this point you should ask permission to use their name when making the call yourself.  I’ve only been turned down twice in my career on that request.

Never pass up the opportunity to give referrals to your customers.  When you refer someone, be sure your customer mentions your name as the source of the referral.  Be explicit.  Say, “Give Mark a call, and please tell him that I referred you.”  In many cases, you should even call Mark and let him know that a referral will be calling him.  Remember the next time you speak to Mark to ask if the referred person called and how the situation turned out.

You can use testimonials instead of referrals.  When you call on a prospect who was not a referral, then use testimonials in place of a business associate of his who would have referred you.  Use testimonials to support your claims.  Pick out the testimonials you will use in your presentation prior to each sales call.  Use testimonials that are from companies that have similar transportation needs, ship or receive similar products, and are close to the same geographical location.

After receiving a compliment from a satisfied customer for a job well done, ask right then for a testimonial letter—they’re worth their weight in gold.

Using referrals and testimonials in your presentations and qualifying calls sends and reinforces the message that it’s a good business decision to trust you and Sunteck.  Others have trusted you with good results.

People like working with a winner.  In many ways it makes them feel like a winner too.

When you demonstrate your successes you make the customer more comfortable with their decision to buy from Sunteck.  Send letters and articles to your customers and qualified prospects announcing your successes, like winning an award for outstanding sales results.  The purpose of the letter is not to brag on yourself, but rather to thank your clients for their business and to make it perfectly clear that the only way you achieved this goal was by helping your customers achieve their goals.

Ask every prospect you meet for referrals, and ask every satisfied customer for a testimonial letter.  If they don’t have time, offer to type up their comments and then get their signature.  You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain – ALWAYS ASK!

Repeat business and referrals are the two biggest keys to long-term success in transportation sales.  You can ensure long-term growth by paying more attention to service.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford




Training Tuesday:Sales Presentation


Be sure to focus your presentation. Only after I spend considerable time conducting a consultative/fact-finding session do I present Sunteck’s services. Thorough research and questioning should give you an idea of your prospect’s logistic problems and the solutions you can provide. Tailor your presentation to suit each individual company and focus your presentation on the benefits—not features, that Sunteck has to offer. Before making the presentation ask yourself: what kind of presentation will convince the prospect to buy (analytical? logical? emotional?), then model your presentation to match them.

“Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass. That many sales are killed everyday with the same weapon.”

Know your audience. Make absolutely sure that all the important decision-makers are in attendance. You’ll want as many VIP’s involved as possible to see your presentation of the quality transportation services that Sunteck offers. When possible, be sure to include the traffic manager, purchasing manager, maintenance supervisor, VP of sales, and anybody else involved in the final decision. Include the CEO or President of the company whenever possible. Be sure you know their level of expertise about the transportation industry, Sunteck, and their company’s shipping needs. Use terminology appropriate to the attendees’ knowledge of the transportation industry.

Prepare a presentation folder for everyone who will be in attendance. Since we’re selling an intangible service; this presentation folder will have to suffice for your product demonstration.

I only present the services that Sunteck offers which apply to the prospect’s needs that I uncovered on my consultative call. I stay close to my customers, and if their needs change, I make a new presentation based on their new needs. This way I don’t waste their time or mine. It also eliminates confusion.

Even in your sales presentation you must remember to be a good listener. Being a good listener generates confidence, and demonstrates sincerity in your desire to understand the prospect’s needs. During the fact-finding session, I let my prospect talk as long as he wants. It’s simply a matter of respect for the other person to let him have his say. Unfortunately, too many transportation salespeople forget to extend this basic courtesy during their sales presentation. Listening can’t be emphasized enough.

Most salespeople who are successful in our industry are strong supporters of concept selling. Consequently, each devotes a major portion of their presentation to securing agreement on the need that their particular transportation solution fills before specifically focusing on the nuts and bolts of how they move the prospect’s freight. We sell an intangible service, so we can’t actually give a demonstration (you can’t physically take the prospect along with their shipment on a Sunteck truck from their dock to the consignees dock – you can only describe what happens). The product we sell is nothing more than a promise – a commitment to the customer to move his or her freight when we said we would, at a reasonable price, with no damage.

The final phase in the presentation of a complicated sale to a large shipper, with several locations, might involve making a formal proposal, complete with a PowerPoint presentation, or flip charts and slides. Included might be a projection of cost savings, a plan to educate the customer’s shipping personnel, guaranteed or example supportable pick-up and delivery times, and special billing agreements. In short, the prospect is told, “I’m going to lay out the exact series of detailed events that will take place, complete with all service standards and procedures.” The prospect knows exactly what to expect, and because there will be no surprises, he or she will feel comfortable doing business with Sunteck. When presenting Sunteck’s shipping services to a group, always stand at the head of the table. Create a classroom atmosphere. Be the instructor, not ‘one of the gang.’

An even more difficult scenario than a group presentation for controlling the sale is selling over the telephone. Telephone selling offers no eye contact nor can you employ facial expressions or body language to help get your prospect’s attention. You also don’t know what distractions may be going on in his office while you’re trying to sell him. Never sell on the phone. You can agree to take a shipment to help the prospect out, but don’t attempt to sell him over the phone. Also, don’t give a discount over the phone. Make time to see the prospect in person; it serves him better, and protects you and Sunteck. Phone selling is for telemarketers, not for highly paid and highly trained sales agents. The consequences are obvious when a salesperson loses control of the conversation on the telephone. The prospective client can become distracted by other matters in his office and end the conversation. In a split second he can cut you off. In general, people’s poorest manners surface both more quickly and more frequently on the phone than when you’re face to face with them.

Psychologically, the most memorable parts of sales presentations are the beginning and the end, so they deserve special attention. Engage the prospect from the beginning and get to the point quickly with an imaginative opening that showcases the most important benefits of using Sunteck. Use your conclusion to summarize the key points of your presentation. As you plan it, ask yourself what lasting impressions you want to leave your prospect with before you finish and ask them to choose Sunteck.

“It’s not your customer’s job to remember you. It’s your responsibility to make sure they don’t forget you.”
– Patricia Fripp

Practice, practice, practice. Increase your odds of closing more sales by practicing your presentations. After you’ve made sales presentations, they become practice sessions for presentations you’ll give in the future.

Collect the ideas you’d like to suggest or selling points you want to make; then organize them according to your purpose and the needs of your prospect. Give your words greater credibility by backing them up with data or testimonials. Keep your words as simple and direct as possible; use active, not passive language; and vary your tone, volume and pitch to keep the prospect interested. Illustrate your words with examples and interesting stories to add color to your presentation.

Lastly, get to know everything you can about the transportation business – Sunteck – as well as the competition. Make sure the prospect realizes that you’re an expert. When you demonstrate how much you know about your industry, you’ll gain the respect of your customers and prospects. When people believe they’re dealing with an expert it’s a lot easier to close the sale. Most customers want you to advise them. When they realize that you have a great knowledge of the transportation industry and of available carriers, then they’re happy to let you take control. You become their consultant. It’s when a salesperson doesn’t know as much about the transportation industry as his or her prospect that people resent a strong sales presentation. However, there’s no doubt that traffic and purchasing people are better informed today than they’ve ever been.

The best way to make a compelling sales presentation is by demonstrating that you’re an expert in your business as well as his. When you exemplify excellence in your sales presentation, the customer is eager to find out what you can do to offer solutions to his or her particular transportation problems.

To make the best presentation possible, you must have conviction in the services you’re there to sell. A customer instinctively knows whether you believe in your service. If you do, they in turn will believe in you. Only then can you make a sales presentation that turns into a sale every time.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
– Zig Zigler



Training Tuesday:Sales Prospecting

No matter what you have scheduled for your day there is one part of your job you should do every day – Prospecting. There are no sales without customers and there are no customers without frequent prospecting. You must keep prospects in your pipeline. Set a daily or weekly minimum number of cold calls or prospecting contacts for yourself – your success depends on it.

One of the biggest reasons transportation salespeople are reluctant to approach prospects is because they don’t feel confident about their company’s ability to provide the service the customer needs. A lack of confidence in Sunteck’s ability to do what we promise will stunt your desire to approach new prospects. You may be fearful that they might just buy. You have to believe that Sunteck can help your customer. You must know instinctively the benefit people will derive from working with you and you must believe in your heart that Sunteck’s efforts are in your customer’s best interests. If you’re leaving a trail of angry former customers in your wake – you’re destroying any chances at success with Sunteck. In my career as a transportation sales specialist I have run the gamut, selling for the best, customer driven carriers in the country, and for a period of time I represented a carrier that handled LTL and airfreight that had a lot of problems internally and with customer service. Working for a poor quality carrier can kill a promising career. The only way to salvage a promising career after making a bad career move is to correct it as soon as possible. Your reputation as a straight shooter and knowledgeable resource for your customer is your most valuable asset. Sunteck represents you as well as you represent Sunteck.

Sunteck is a company you can be proud of. Tell everyone you meet who you work for and what you sell. I’m not suggesting you subject everyone you meet to a sales pitch, simply let people know that you’re a salesperson for Sunteck. You’ll be surprised how often someone will say, “Sunteck, huh? You know, we’ve been thinking about trying a new 3PL partner.”

Be proud of being a salesperson. There’s no greater job than yours – we move America! What other professional salesperson can say that?

Okay, now that you represent a company you can be proud of, get busy prospecting.

  1. Talk to and develop relationships with everyone you meet in our industry. I’ve received tons of business over the years from sales reps from other trucking companies whose company could not provide the service the customer needed. Make sure your competitors know you and what you do. Share information. Never give away company secrets, but sometimes you can help each other achieve goals and gain new business you might not have uncovered without the help of others.
  2. Join clubs and organizations. You never know where your next big shipper will come from. Organizations that are good places to start are Traffic Clubs, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Civitan, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Optimists.
  3. Subscribe to magazines like “Transport Topics” and “Traffic World”. Read through trade publications that would apply to your largest customers (automotive, plastics, medical suppliers, etc.). Read your local newspaper and one national or business paper daily, paying particular attention to the business sections.
  4. Attend trade shows and seminars. Those that are aimed at trucking and air freight, as well as major tradeshows specific to your biggest customers’ industries. This can be a great opportunity to exchange business cards, and pick up some great leads.
  5. Give speeches every chance you get. Don’t sell from the podium, but make sure everyone gets one of your business cards. This establishes you as an expert in our industry. After just one or two speeches, you’ll be recognized as the most knowledgeable transportation specialist in your local area.
  6. Take the time to write an occasional article and submit to any publication that might print your ideas, even letters to the editor. This is another way for you to be recognized as an expert. It also adds credibility when you present copies of your published articles to new prospects.
  7. Offer help and resources at fundraisers, telethons, and charity drives. Make sure that Sunteck’s name is associated with good deeds that take place in your community. Have an inexpensive sign made so that your agency will receive the good-will generated from such an event.
  8. Develop and practice networking skills – one of the most powerful business tool. Read all the articles you can about networking. Mastering networking could be the difference between a mediocre and magnificent career.
  9. Surround yourself with successful people. It’s the best way to learn how to be successful yourself. It will pay dividends now and in the future. At the same time, avoid negative people who are not striving for success.

There are several things that a salesperson should do before making an actual face-to-face presentation. Obviously, an appointment must be made with the prospect. These appointments will usually be set by telephone. Also, make sure that you’re qualified to make the sales call (qualified means that you have the necessary product knowledge, are properly prepared to answer all industry-related questions, and possess a basic understanding of the customer’s needs). Effective time management is essential to achieve the maximum number of sales presentations each day.

Poor appointment setting habits can be the death of a productive sales week. Appointment scheduling and general office work should not be performed during prime selling time. Broken appointments, however, create an opportunity to set appointments for the following week. Appointment setting, in my opinion, is the second best use of prime selling time, with face-to-face sales presentations being in first place by a wide margin.

When setting appointments, always consider the characteristics of your territory. Divide your territory into industrial parks and city areas that will accommodate your ability to make the most sales presentations in one day. Too much windshield time kills your earning potential. Remember, your goal is more sales presentations and less wasted time and energy.

Before you pick up the telephone you should have in your possession the following information: the decision-makers name, title (purchasing manager, traffic manager, material control manager, warehouse supervisor, etc.), address, phone number, and information on how you obtained the lead. A qualified prospect is anybody who ships or receives freight or makes those decisions for other locations. If you received this lead from a referral, be sure to have your source’s name ready to cite to the prospect. Referred prospects are by far Sunteck’s best leads.

Never call a prospect without knowing his or her name in advance. For example, if I want to speak to the Vice President of Purchasing at EFG Company, but don’t know his name, I make a call a day or so in advance and ask the main switchboard operator or receptionist, “Who is your company’s purchasing VP?” Later, I put in a call to the proper individual. The internet is also a great source for this information.

There are many obstacles you will face in setting your appointments: getting past the gatekeeper, getting your prospect to agree to a face-to-face meeting, and the dreaded voicemail system.

When speaking to an assistant or receptionist, assume control of the conversation quickly. This is an absolute must. If she asks too many questions, there’s a good chance she’ll suggest that she’ll relay your message to the Director of traffic, and “If he’s interested, he’ll call you back.” You have to be the person who speaks to the prospect— not a disinterested, uninformed third party, in this case—the receptionist! You could lose the sale before you’ve even had the opportunity to present Sunteck’s services. Because there are so many sales reps representing so many freight companies, people managing the movement of their company’s freight are besieged by your competitors making cold calls and it is more difficult than ever to get through to a prospect. To compound the problem, cold calls are even more difficult when a transportation salesperson represents a company whose name is unfamiliar to the general public. In some cases, the prestigious reputation of a major company serves as an effective door opener. A call from a sales representative with Sunteck, FedEx, or UPS for example, is more likely to capture the immediate respect of a gatekeeper. There are times though when representing a well-known company can backfire. It’s an immediate tip-off that the caller is selling for a transportation company when the salesperson identifies himself as being with Sunteck, which often is followed with a, “We’re not interested, we’re happy with our current carrier,” response.

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

As little as necessary should be said to the gatekeeper. Assume that the call will be put through. Sound important and confident, but not pushy. I simply say, “Hello, this is Dave Dallas. Is Mr. Johnson in?” Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

However, when I’m calling a referral and I’m asked, “Does Mr. Johnson know you?” I say, “Carl Walker recommended that I call Mr. Johnson. Is Mr. Johnson in?”

If it’s not a referral, I say, “I’ve been assisting people in the plastics industry (or whatever business they happen to be in), and I’d like to share some important information with Mr. Johnson.” Once again, assertively ask, “Is Mr. Johnson in?”

If asked, “What are you selling?” I reply, “I’m with Sunteck. I help companies increase profits, while improving customer service.” I pause, and then ask, “Is Mr. Johnson in?”

Because I speak with conviction, I’m rarely asked additional questions and my call is put through.

This approach works for three reasons:

  1. I’m persistent, but polite.
  2. I’m well prepared with answers. I don’t stutter and stumble for an answer when questioned by the gatekeeper; and
  3. I’m aggressive and I control the conversation by not pausing in my responses long enough to give the gatekeeper an opening to ask more 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. The assistant or receptionist should not be permitted to be the one who determines whether the prospect is interested in learning more about Sunteck. The decisions your prospects make on who they will trust to ship the products they manufacture 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.


A specialnote about grief

Grief-QuotesMy name is Jillie Duval, and I am the Office Administrator at Sunteck in Jacksonville. You will usually find me at the front desk or pushing around my cart (that I love so much!). After some events occurred in my personal life back in June of this year, I approached Kristen, our Marketing Manager, about writing a special kind of blog post for Sunteck and so, here we are.

I wanted to write a post about my Dad, Sunteck and grief. I felt like I would never get this blog post written, every time I wanted to start, I never could. But here I am, snacking on a buffalo chicken wrap, half-listening to Dave Dallas and his antics, and writing this post – for some reason July 23rd at 2:00pm felt right.

On Friday, June 26th, it had become apparent my Dad’s time was near. I needed to leave, and quickly. Everyone at Sunteck was so supportive, and encouraged me to go. It was such a relief to hear directly from the executives, especially Ken our CEO, that I had their full support. My Dad passed away peacefully at Cornerstone Hospice at 1:15am on June 29th 2015.

I’m sharing such a personal story with you because I want you to know what a positive experience I have had at Sunteck. Everyone in the office has been so supportive. They check on me, have written me cards, and even sent a small donation to hospice in memory of my Dad. They do not expect me to stoically go on working as if this traumatic life event never occurred. If I need to cry, or vent, it’s okay. Throughout this past month, I’ve learned it’s okay to grieve but still remain a professional, hard-worker. I know this isn’t exactly ground breaking information, but I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to remain stoic, that we cause more harm than good to our health, well-being, and work ethic.

I wanted to write this post to let you know that you are not alone, it is okay to grieve, and it is okay cry. This does not make you unprofessional, or bad worker. Sunteck wants you to be happy, and healthy. I specifically wanted to reach out to drivers, because I cannot imagine being on the road for hours on end, suffering with grief, all alone.

I researched grief and I found a few resources that might be of use whether you are constantly driving, or in an office like me. Please feel free to take a look at them, and share them with others.

o Open to Hope is an online community offering inspiration stories of loss, hope and recovery. We believe hope is the bridge between loss and recovery.
o Association for Death Education and Counseling has a lot of resources such as documents, links to organizations, and finding a specialist in your area
• Check with the local or your local Hospice organization they often time have grief support groups throughout the week that you can attend – schedule permitting
o A plethora of information about grief, care giving, and dying along with links to support groups and other resources