For the past 28 years, Ahern & Associates have assisted numerous trucking and logistics companies in establishing and improving their sales and marketing programs. As part of Ahern’s services, it is important to recognize that an effective sales program involves continually changing the culture of the way that sales and marketing people offer services, as well as their behavior.
Trucking is a cyclical business; it’s a pennies business, and it’s constantly changing. In order for sales people to be successful;
- They must be consistent;
- Persistent; and
- Have a strong belief in themselves, and the product or service that they are selling.
Many times I hear, “This individual is a natural salesperson”, but that is not a factual statement. Sales people are not born, they are created.
Salespeople that aren’t successful, are people afraid of success.
- They state that they want to succeed; but
- In some cases, they are afraid of achieving success.
A successful salesperson;
- Writes down their goals and objectives, daily;
- Starts with small goals;
- Establishes higher goals and aspirations; and
- Revisits their goals and objectives, consistently.
A successful salesperson is always properly prepared.
- They must be eager;
- Ready; and
- Know how to create opportunities.
I constantly hear from salespeople, that aren’t performing, that all they have to sell in the trucking industry is rates; that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Particularly today, in an industry where there are dramatic capacity constraints because of a lack of drivers;
- Service is important;
- Capacity is important; and
- Yes, rates are important, but if all you have to sell are rates, then choose another profession.
It is important for salespeople to master the knowledge of their company products and services, and learn to be an effective listener. The trucking industry is a relationship business, regardless of what some may believe. Part of the process of implementing a successful sales program is determining how salespeople create relationships and forms bonds of trust. Sales people need to;
- Establish a competence level in their business;
- A sales person has to recognize that people buy utilizing their own buying patterns, not necessarily the salesperson’s selling patterns;
- An effective salesperson has to create a need;
- They have to understand what the potential customer wants to achieve; and
- They need to provide solutions to problems.
It's important to understand that successful salespeople:
- Have objectives;
- Don't make excuses;
- Ask for orders;
- Raise and meet objections;
- Do their homework;
- Manage their time and their territory;
- Have product knowledge;
- Listen to their customer’s needs;
- Talk to decision-makers;
- Set high goals;
- Follow up;
- Give concessions, only for a return;
- Control situations;
- Never close the door on opportunities; and
- Believe in their company.
One of the primary reasons sales and marketing programs fail is because salespeople are not prepared;
- They are not focused;
- They are not consistent;
- They are not persistent; and
- They find excuses to blame others for their lack of achievement.
- People only buy when they can't fill their own needs;
- The buyer has the answer: the sales person has the questions;
- Relationships come first, task second;
- People buy, using their own buying patterns, not the seller’s buying patterns; and
- A salesperson has nothing to sell if there is no one to buy.
Product knowledge is useless until the sales individual knows how their product or service will benefit and profit the customer. On the surface, this seems simple, but I challenge salespeople, daily, to determine how far they’ve gone to understand how their customers actually use their product or services, on a day-to-day basis. How do they use it; how does it bring benefit to the Buyer’s working environment.
Ahern’s processes consist of working with sales people to assist them in overcoming objectives, establishing goals: we work with management to hold salespeople accountable for their actions and continually work with their sales staff to improve their overall performance.
In closing, over the years, Ahern & Associates have discovered that in numerous instances, a trucking company’s sales staff needs to change their behavioral patterns to specific responses, so that a sale can be completed. If pricing is the sole objective that your sales staff complains about for not obtaining market share, that means they are failing. They are failing to utilize the proper approach to obtain the results that you desire. The same applies to sales managers.
When managing a sales staff, I use what I call buyer facilitation; sales managers must understand that there is a different sales cycle and different expectations as to how a sale should proceed. In essence, Ahern works with sales people to focus on the Golden Rule - “Stop, Think, and Listen”.
Arkansas Transit Home, Inc. (ATH) was founded in 1958 by my late father, Wendell Chandler. In fact, to Illustrate how long that is got most trucking companies, our DOT number only has five numbers.
I would like to thank you Andy for making this very important and life changing event possible. It was a great experience.
Arkansas Transit Homes, Inc.
We have worked with you and your colleagues at Ahern Associates for some time now. We find your expertise in the area of logistics (be it in consulting or based on being hired for acquisition analysis) to be out standing. We value the relationship and are very happy to give you this letter of reference..
You should feel free to have any party call us to discuss our experience.
Benesch Attorneys at Law
England has been formally associated with Andy Ahern and his colleagues for approximately the past three years primarily in the area of acquisitions. During that period, we have experienced a professionalism that is refreshing. Andy offers in-depth expertise as well as industry knowledge born from extensive experience, a combination which adds material value well beyond a normal business relationship.
We anticipate a long Ė term, mutually beneficial association. It was a great experience.
Very truly yours,
Keith c. Wallace,Jr.
Senior Vice President / Chief Financial Officer
C.R. England, Ind
Century Carriers, Inc. and its subsidiaries are family owned businesses that was started 1998. When the Transportation business was booming, times were great but, like other family owned businesses we didnít prepare for the economy the past year. My wife and I lost many hours sleep and made many calls to attorneys, banks, and whom ever would listen to our story trying to figure out how we were going to save our business for our future and our children.
Andy and his team has given us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we are making progress, thanks again.
Kevin Henderson, President/CEO
Century Carriers Inc. / Century Expedited Inc.
Originally, I met Andy at a Truckload Carrier`s Conference during a round table discussion on the transition of family business. Andy was very knowledgeable about the topic and expressed many ideas that we hadn`t thought of. During the down turn of our industry in 2001, We called upon Andy, as a consultant, to help us understand how to turn our business around. We hired Ahern and Associates to come in and do businesses review. By giving us a road map to success with their intial audit, they helped turn our business around within thirty days.
Andy Ahern and Ahern & Associates have always delivered exactly what they have promised.
Don Christenson, President
Christenson Transportation, Inc.
We have thought about selling our business one day, but we really didnít know much about how to go about it. Your company contacted us a few months ago about a client of yours that was looking to buy businesses like ours. Now just a few months later, the sale is complete. Everything went very smoothly, Ahern was there to guide us through the beginning of the process. We are very happy with our whole experience with Ahern, especially Andy and Brian. They gave us personal attention any time we had questions or concerns.
John & Jennifer Rainney
I wanted to thank you for your guidance, leadership and support. The professionalism and dedication of you and your staff is outstanding. The knowledge you posses of the transportation industry and its inner workings was been a huge asset to us in our time of transition. With your assistance we have been able to make significant changes within our company to improve structure and productivity. Aherns onsite visit and detailed evaluation of our company has been a very valuable tool. The outside look at how we do business and the suggestions you've made to improve our overall performance have been very valuable. All of your advice and direction has been thoughtful and caring, I feel that you truly care about our business and success. You've done everything you said you would do and then some, working with you and your dedicated staff has been a pleasure and will improve the productivity of our company. I look forward to a long relationship with Ahern and Associates.
Specialized Business Solutions. INC