Recently, Greve-Davis was hired to help a company outsource their supply chain. The project involved soliciting bids for the top 30 3PLs in North America. We started out by calling all the 3PLs to see if they were interested in participating in the RFP. While we expected some of the 3PLs to decline for various business reasons, we were very surprised at a major issue that many of these organizations had that killed their opportunity.
This issue was such a fundamental part of any 3PL’s sales process that we took it for granted. However, we learned sales fundamentals are not what they use to be. The takeaway was that if 3PLs make a couple of relatively minor changes, they would see significant growth.
What is the fundamental sales issue I’m referring to? Answer: Make it easy for prospects to contact someone to discuss your services.
We looked at the web sites for the top 3PLs and it was difficult to find a number to call to talk about the opportunity. Many had a “Contact Us” form on their website, but half the inquiries resulted in nothing more than a confirmation that someone would call back, which they never did.
Some of the 3PLs’ websites did have actual phone numbers to call. Again, for the MAJORITY of the 3PLs that we did call, the person answering the phone did not know who to transfer our call to and were literally clueless when it came to helping a prospective client. REALLY!!
We talked to one major 3PL and the receptionist said she was not sure who we should talk to so she could not transfer our call. When we asked for the name and number of the VP of Sales she said “I’m not authorized to give any names or numbers over the phone.” She took our name and number. We did not get any response. That 3PL was taken off the list.
Back when we worked for a 3PL we often said “Everyone is in sales.” Back then, when a prospect called a number, it went to an executive who could talk to the prospect. If a call happened to go to the main office number, the receptionist had a list of people that were ready to take a call from the prospect. Directions were clear and the sales process started off with a bang. This was probably one big reason we grew 15% a year for over 10 years.
If you are in the service business and a prospect has to work really hard to even get somebody on the phone to speak with, what is that prospect suppose to think about your level of service IF they were to hire your company?
3PL Executives would do themselves a great service if they took the time to look at their website through the eyes of a prospect. Is your website constructed so it is easy for a prospective customer to contact you? A “Contact Form” alone doesn’t do it. A phone number answered by a trained sales professional is a must.
We also recommend that you look over the last few months “Contact Us” forms and inquiries through social media and find out exactly what happened with each inquiry. My bet is that you will be disgusted with what you learn.
The old saying is “Hit them while they are hot!” If a prospect calls today and it takes a week for a call back or they get no response at all, they will keep looking, or worse yet, decide that outsourcing is a bad idea. Our experience teaches us that for every new customer, you have to make 4 presentations that result from 20 qualified prospects. A new prospect calling is a gift.
ANSWER THE PHONE!
If your sales are flat and growth is not where it should be, contact Greve-Davis. We have over 20 years experience selling 3PL services. We can identify areas for improvement and benchmark your sales and marketing efforts. If you would like more information CALL 412-759-4356 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We will respond quickly I promise.