It’s all about the customer.
Bet you wish you had a nickel for every time you heard that.
As an owner operator, especially in days when the loads are small and not too many around, you need a way to make sure your trucking customers remember you. Getting people to know, like, and trust you is your big challenge, especially when you’re in a business that might be months between contacts.
There’s the donut route. Plenty of truckers do this – bring in a box of goodies like brownies or donuts for the shipping crew. That’s probably cheaper than buying everyone a Powerball ticket (and just how would you feel if one you bought and gave away won?)
Another way that truckers might use is the old-fashioned reminder like a flyer or business card. I can’t say that’s still very useful in a world with Internet load boards, but there are probably still one or two old-school shipping departments who would be willing to tape your business card up on the wall beside the phone. I saw these magnets online recently. Maybe your name will get stuck to the side of a metal file cabinet.
Get Trucking Customers Who Know, Like, and Trust You
Getting to know your customers and getting their email addresses is the 21st century way of connecting with your trucking customers. That can be as simple as asking, or checking out the signature on the bill of lading on LinkedIn or a company Facebook page. The key to this is to keep in touch. If you know their names and some interests, you can share articles and videos that might interest them. When I didn’t make a point of getting to know people by name, I never got a call back. In a day with so much technology, you could send yourself a reminder of names and numbers before you forget them.
New technology suggests a few new tricks. Here are a couple of ideas that might be worth trying…
- Create a blog with pictures. Blogs can be set up in minutes and maintained easily. It’s only as complicated as you want it to be. Everyone’s smartphone has a camera in it. Post pictures of the crew at work who are loading you up. Ask them for their Twitter handles and share on Twitter. Promote them and your blog with one post.
- Video or podcast your experiences on the road – and include your videos of the shipping crew. If they do an exceptionally good job, be sure to send a link to the head of the company or their Facebook page. If you can promote their company on your podcast, send them a link and let them know you mentioned them by name.
- Send a quick thank you note to your trucking customers via Instagram. A picture of your load and the word “Thanks” over top of it (Canva.com is free and easy to use) and maybe a hashtag or two to spread your customer’s name won’t take much time. Instagram is free – it’s the biggest growing social media right now.
Know, like, and trust. Those are the key words to getting a customer to stick with you. As you handle their loads with expertise and excellent deliveries, you’ll be in their minds when the next loads come up.