The last year has brought major changes in how business is conducted between logistics service providers (LSPs) and their clients. Here is what I wrote in a post just 18 months ago about managing carrier relationships:
LSPs, especially motor carriers, make extensive use of “customer entertainment” to gain and retain market share. Lunches, dinners, and sporting events are a big part of the job for carrier representatives. …..Business lunches can be productive for both parties. Clients should have an agenda with a few discussion points. Remember, as with any meeting, if you don’t have an agenda you are subject to someone else’s…… Expensive dinners and sporting events are much less productive from a business perspective. Food and drink becomes the main event. The game takes precedence at sporting events.….In summary manage your carrier relationships, Don’t let your providers “reward” you for your business. It makes it much more difficult to change providers or negotiate new deals.
In the last year entertainment and face to face sales calls have been limited. Most interaction between LSPs and clients is via Zoom or other remote methods. This no doubt makes the carrier rep’s job more difficult. The relationship must now be built on adding value and problem solving instead of entertainment. In other words the relationship becomes more professional and a little less personal. While the client may not enjoy as many lunches or dinners, negotiations and accountability may be easier.