• Is Cold Calling Still Effective for Freight Brokers?
  • Common Cold Calling Mistakes
  • How To Prepare Before Making Cold Calls
  • How to Start a Cold Call with Impact
  • Essential Tips for Successful Freight Broker Sales Calls
  • Freight Broker Cold Call Scripts That Works
  • Handling Rejections Like a Pro
  • Beyond the Call: Follow-Up Strategies to Close Deals
  • Conclusion



    You've spent all morning crafting the perfect pitch, researched your prospect thoroughly, and finally 'I'm not interested, thank you.' Click. Deflated? You're not alone. Cold calls can feel like a gamble, interrupting busy professionals and often leading to dead ends.

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    However, despite its old-school sales tactic nature, cold calling remains a powerful tool. It can bypass email filters and social media algorithms, cut through the noise, and directly connect you with potential clients.

    This article equips you with proven methods to increase appointments and boost your 3PL sales confidently. It includes effective strategies before, during, and after your calls. We'll even provide sample scripts specifically tailored to pitching 3PL services.

    Let’s begin with why cold calling is still preferred over other tactics, even though it can be seen as outdated.

    Is Cold Calling Still Effective for Freight Brokers?

    While the rise of gatekeepers and information overload challenges, cold calling remains a powerful tool for freight brokers when used strategically.

    Here’s how freight brokers can find success in cold calling:

    • Emails and social media can be easily ignored, but a well-timed call gets you in front of the right people fast.
    • Even a brief conversation can establish a connection and build rapport, initiating valuable relationships for future sales, especially for complex 3PL services.
    • Proactive cold calling lets you target specific, high-potential leads who may not be actively searching online, giving you a valuable edge.

    It's important to remember that cold calling is most effective when combined with other lead-generation strategies. If you can master the art of cold calling and use it strategically, you can significantly boost your prospecting success.

    Do you need to close a deal in one call?

    The "Always Be Closing" mentality might have worked in the past, but today's logistics demands a different strategy.

    If you are a freight broker who uses cold calling as your top sales tactic, you must remember that the logistics industry is constantly changing. With that, leads have more options, businesses are providing similar services, and the economy is affecting its current state.

    Instead of pressuring for a quick sale, take the time to understand your logistics leads' pain points. Ask insightful questions about their current shipping challenges and frustrations. Focus on building rapport and offering valuable solutions; you can turn cold calls into warm leads and, ultimately, loyal customers.

    Is it wise to focus on cold calling?

    If you still want to try cold calling, you’ll have to integrate it with your sales processes and inbound marketing. That’s the only way to influence your cold leads to become warm leads.

    Making cold calls, doing follow-ups, attending countless meetings, and being ghosted are some of the most frustrating aspects of the job. This is why it's important to love the process and the effort you put into closing deals. Instead of focusing on the result, you can look at the progress of your sales efforts.

    Over the years, the effectiveness of cold calling has decreased because of these reasons

    • Spam Filters and Voicemail Many people use spam filters and voicemail to avoid unwanted calls. This can make it difficult for salespeople to even connect with potential customers.
    • Rise of Digital Marketing Potential customers research products and services online before purchasing, which may make them less receptive to cold calls.
    • Preference for Online Communication Many prefer communicating with businesses online through email, social media, or chatbots. This allows them to research at their own pace and avoid feeling pressured.

    Is it still wise to focus on cold calling?

    You can use cold calling, which works if you have the right market. But you need to remember that it has pros and cons.

    Common Cold Calling Mistakes

    Imagine dialing hundreds of numbers without the certainty of them saying yes to you. It's no wonder that many sales professionals feel frustrated when trying to generate leads through cold calling.

    If done right, cold calling can be an effective way to generate leads. However, salespeople commit these mistakes, which lead to frustration and little success.

    1. Lack of Preparation
      If you do not take the time to research your prospect, you will most likely end up with a generic and ineffective pitch.

      Why is it not recommended to deliver a generic pitch?
      The prospect will feel like they are just another number on a call list and not a valuable potential customer.
    2. Overly Pushy Approach
      Being too aggressive or pushy during the call can turn off prospects and lead to immediate rejection. You need to strike a balance between being assertive and respectful of the prospect's time and needs.

      Examples of being too pushy in cold calls:

      • Pressuring the prospect to make a quick decision without allowing them time to consider their options.
      • Interrupting the prospect and not allowing them to express their thoughts or concerns.
      • Uses high-pressure tactics, such as making unrealistic promises or threats, to push the prospect into buying.
    3. Focusing on Features, Not Benefits.
      If you talk too much about product features instead of focusing on the benefits and solving their pain points, you risk losing their interest. Prospects want to know how your product or service can help them, not just what it can do.

      Talking about features won’t work because of the following reasons:

      • They want to know how your service can address their needs. If the conversation is all about you telling them the benefits, then it may not resonate with your lead’s priorities.
      • Your solution’s features can be similar to those of your competitors. If you cannot differentiate yourself from them, then the lead will not see the value in your offer.
      • Focusing on features alone can lead to a one-sided conversation in which the prospect may lose interest. You will do all the talking instead of them sharing their struggles.
    4. Poor Call Structure
      A poor call structure focuses on the salesperson and their 3PL services rather than the prospect and their needs.

      You may become a red flag to your leads if you do the following:

      • Reading from a script word-for-word
      • Jumping straight into a sales pitch
      • Failing to ask discovery questions
      • Brushing off objection
      • Unclear call-to-action (CTA)
    5. Neglecting Follow-Up.
      Not following up with prospects after the initial call can result in missed opportunities to nurture relationships and close deals. A well-crafted follow-up strategy can help keep you at the top of their mind. Some salespeople drop the ball on following up with leads after the initial call:

      • They dislike hearing "no" so much that they avoid follow-up altogether.
      • The lack of a structured follow-up system can lead to forgotten leads.
      • If the initial call reveals the lead isn't a good fit, they might abandon them instead of trying to qualify them further.
      • There is no defined follow-up strategy, so they may be unsure of what to say in the next follow-up attempts.
      • Some prioritize generating a high volume of leads over nurturing existing ones.
    6. Giving Up Too Easily
      Getting discouraged by rejections or setbacks and giving up too quickly without persistently following up and nurturing leads can result in missed opportunities. Persistence is key in sales, and it's important to stay positive and keep pushing forward even in the face of rejection.

    To avoid making these mistakes, take note of the strategies we will be listing below.

    How To Prepare Before Making Cold Calls

    If you want to increase your chances of winning deals and securing more shipments, you must prepare well.

    First, you need to have a good list of leads. A good list of leads can make even an average salesperson perform better than the greatest closer with a poor list of leads.

    At this point, you need to research your prospect. You cannot call all the shippers on your list. Identify who among them will benefit from your service. Research their roles, responsibilities, and challenges within their company.

    Additional Info: Good leads are qualified contacts who have a genuine need for the product or service being sold. They are aware of their problem and might be actively looking for solutions. Meanwhile, poor leads are unqualified contacts with little or no interest in what you're offering.

    After acquiring a list of quality leads, the next thing you need to prepare is your mindset.

    What’s a good mindset before doing cold calls?

    • You’re calling to offer a solution, not to sell. Even if you get rejected, remember that it's better to get a customer who took ten touches than one call. Sometimes, customers who switch over in one call will likely do so again when another broker or carrier calls them out of the blue.
    • Winning by price is not enough. Clients who only want the lowest cost will likely switch to someone else when they can. Instead, building relationships with clients who value good service is the only way to maintain a long-term partnership.

    The next thing to prepare is your script or talking points. Incorporate your unique value proposition (UVP) to let your leads know you can provide value and solve their problems. A script is important, but use it as a guide to stay focused. Practice delivering it naturally to prevent sounding too robotic.

    Should you prepare for objections?

    Definitely, yes.

    Your leads will always have objections. List down their possible rebuttals, and write clear responses that address these concerns.

    What’s the best time to call?

    You may be wondering about the most effective time to make cold calls. Consider the perspective of the person you're calling. Their job is not to speak with sales reps but to check progress, plan future tasks, and solve problems.

    If you plan on reaching out to decision-makers, it's important to keep their schedules in mind. Typically, they tend to have some free time in the late morning, between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. This might be a good time to give them a call and chat. Alternatively, you could try reaching out to them in the late afternoon. By this time, they're usually finishing up their tasks for the day and might be more open to having a quick conversation before heading home.

    PRO TIP: The best time to call is whenever you're most likely to connect with a decision-maker who has the time and interest to talk to you. You can learn that after running experiments.


    How to Start a Cold Call with Impact

    The initial moments of a cold call are critical for capturing the prospect's attention and setting the tone for a productive conversation. To be impactful, you must create your style and become memorable within the first seconds of talking.

    Here are key strategies to start a cold call with impact:

    • Personalized Introduction Begin by introducing yourself and your brokerage in a personalized manner. Reference any relevant information or connections with the prospect to establish rapport.
    • Set an Agenda Outline the purpose of the call and set a clear agenda to guide the conversation. This shows professionalism and helps manage expectations.
    • Engage with a Question or Insight Rather than launching into a generic pitch, start by asking a thought-provoking question or sharing relevant industry insight. This demonstrates your knowledge and interest in the prospect's business.
    • Invite Participation Encourage the prospect to participate in the conversation by asking for their input or perspective. This fosters engagement and keeps the dialogue interactive.

    When you start a cold call, you can’t use the same introduction to everyone. To make an impact, you must customize your introduction to fit the potential client you are talking to.

    Remember, your leads cannot see you, but they can hear your voice. So, you should speak like you want to converse with them rather than immediately making sales.

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    Essential Tips for Successful Freight Broker Sales Calls

    When it comes to cold calling, it's all about playing the numbers game. The more calls you make, the higher your chances of connecting with someone who needs what you offer. But how do you ensure that your initial call is a success? That's the real question.

    To make sure that you give your best shot during a cold call, remember these tips:

    1. Make a strong first impression
      • Professionally introduce your name, the company, and why you are calling.
      • Keep your tone friendly and confident.
      • If you can give a good impression, you can keep the conversation flowing.
    2. Focus on the prospect.
      • As mentioned above, one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is never asking discovery questions. To avoid this, you need to focus on your leads.
      • Ask if they have a few minutes to spare, or if they cannot take the call, ask if you can schedule another call with them. This shows you respect their time.
      • Listen to them while they answer your questions.
    3. Deliver your value proposition.
      • During your preparation before cold calling, we asked you to craft your USP. This time, you’re going to deliver it.
      • Your leads are busy, so keep your message direct, concise, and easy to follow.
      • You can simply use simple language. Try to avoid jargon and acronyms.
    4. Give a clear CTA.
      • Before ending the call, summarize the next steps your lead has to take.
      • If they need to book a demo, ask if you can send the link via email.
      • If you have already set a meeting with them, remind them they will receive the invite in a few minutes.
      • Don’t forget this part, or you will fail to measure the success rate of your cold calls.

    Cold calls are usually awkward. However, with the right approach, you can turn them into valuable interactions. Just remember to treat cold calls to help your logistics leads with what they need and want.


    Freight Broker Cold Call Scripts That Works

    Now that you understand the most effective approach to take when cold calling, you may be feeling confident and prepared to begin making your calls.

    However, you may still be unsure of what language to use to make the most of your cold call.

    Here’s a sample script that you can use to gather more information from your lead and start a conversation with them.

    “Hi [prospect’s name], this is [your name] from [your company name].”

    When introducing yourself, it's important to speak clearly and confidently to set the right mood and make a good impression. Articulate your words. Pause for a few seconds. Then, proceed with the next line below.

    “I'm reaching out because we specialize in helping companies like [Prospect Company] streamline freight shipping and potentially reduce costs.”

    After this line, the lead may have something to say. Actively listen to them and note any important details that you can use.

    “I understand that many companies face challenges like [mention a common logistics challenge, e.g., fluctuating fuel costs impacting shipping budgets, finding reliable carriers for specific routes]. Have you encountered any similar challenges in your current shipping process?”

    Since you asked them a question, you need to listen attentively to their answers and personalize your offer based on their responses.

    “That's interesting. At [Your Company Name], we have a network of trusted carriers and can leverage real-time market data to negotiate competitive rates for your specific needs. We also handle all the logistics, paperwork, and tracking, freeing you up to focus on your core business.“

    At this point, they may already have objections. Or they can also say that they already have a logistics service provider. We advised you above to prepare your tailored answers in case there are objections from the potential client. Use that to keep the conversation flowing.

    “Given your experience, I believe we could potentially add value. Would you be open to a brief 15-minute call to discuss your current shipping process in more detail and see if there's a good fit?”

    If they say yes, continue with your pitch. If they say no, ask them if you can follow up with you next week to see if there's any interest in exploring further.

    “Thank you for your time, [prospect’s name]. I'll send you a follow-up email with some information about how we help companies in your industry optimize their shipping.”

    In this case, send the follow-up immediately after your call. This shows the client that you value quick responses.


    Here’s another script that you can use to get more qualified leads.

    Hi (Name of the Prospect)

    [Good Morning/Afternoon], this is (Your Name) from (Name of Your Company).

    I understand you're shipping products in the (state their industry or location). Is that correct? (Personalize based on research)

    (Name of the Prospect), many shippers we work with struggle to find the best rates and manage their freight efficiently. (Focus on the pain point)

    At (Name of Your Company), we provide shippers with services that will help them:

    • (Mention Benefit 1)
    • (Mention Benefit 2)
    • (Mention Benefit 3)

    Many of our clients have seen a significant increase in their shipping efficiency. (Focus on results)

    Would you be open to a quick 15-minute demo to see how our services can specifically benefit your business? (Targeted call to action)

    If the lead says yes, proceed to ask them about their availability:

    What time might work best for a quick demo? (Open-ended question to schedule)

    If the lead says no, inform them that you will be following up after some days or weeks.

    I understand that you already have a logistics partner, I’ll contact you in (mention specific timeframe).

    You can use these scripts and modify them based on the flow of the conversation. Just remember that the goal here is to ensure they don’t feel like a number.

    Handling Rejections Like a Pro

    As freight professionals, you must help clients overcome their logistics problems. You are there to give them a sense of security – that their freight will be delivered on time and safely. You called them not to force them to choose you but to ensure they included you in their options.

    Rejections are a normal part of the sales process in freight brokerage. Here's how to handle them effectively:

    1. Acknowledge and Clarify
      • Don't dismiss concerns. Instead, thank the prospect for their honesty and show you understand their hesitation.
      • Use open-ended and clarifying questions to dig deeper and understand the root cause of the objection.
      • For example, if they say, "We're happy with our current carrier," ask, "What are some of the key factors that keep you satisfied with them?”
    2. Address the Specific Objection
      • Anticipate that your leads will ask about price, service, and coverage or tell you about bad experiences with freight brokers in the past.
      • You can prepare your tailored responses for these concerns.
      • Focus on benefits and explain how your services can address their specific concerns.
      • For example, if price is a concern, highlight how your competitive rates and efficient processes can save them money in the long run.
    3. Use Techniques to Move Forward
      • Ask agreement-building questions to get the prospect nodding with your points. This technique is called the "Yes Ladder": You ask them questions that they can only say yes to, until they can’t help but say yes to your offer.
      • Using the reframe method, present the objection from a different perspective. For example, if they say, "It's too much hassle to switch carriers," you could say, "We understand the importance of a smooth transition. Our onboarding process is streamlined to minimize disruption to your business.
      • Be flexible and offer alternatives. See if there's a way to meet their needs that works for both parties. Perhaps a trial period or a customized service package could address their concerns.
    4. Don't Get Discouraged
      • Maintain a positive attitude. Enthusiasm and professionalism are contagious. Even if they're not ready to buy now, a positive interaction can leave a good impression on future opportunities.
      • Focus on building relationships. The goal of some initial calls might not be an immediate sale but to plant a seed and build trust. Continue to provide value and stay on their radar.

    Beyond the Call: Follow-Up Strategies to Close Deals

    If you are in sales, you should believe in the power of persistent follow-up, even if the prospect has said no. A successful cold call doesn't stop with the initial call. Your sales team needs to follow up in a timely manner to nurture relationships and convert prospects into clients.

    Here are some effective strategies for following up after your initial sales calls:

    1. Act Quickly and Consistently.
      • Strike while the iron's hot. Follow up within 24 hours of your initial call to keep the conversation fresh in the prospect's mind.
      • Set a schedule. Develop a follow-up cadence that works for you, like emailing every other day for the first week, then transitioning to weekly or bi-weekly calls. Consistency shows commitment.
    2. Personalize Your Approach.
      • Please reference the conversation. Mention specific details or challenges discussed during the initial call to show you were paying attention.
      • Offer value, not just a sales pitch. Share industry insights, articles, or data relevant to their business needs. Become a resource they trust.
      • Adapt your communication style. Some prefer calls, others emails, and some might be open to texts. Find the method that works best for each prospects.
    3. Highlight Your Expertise.
      • Reiterate how your services can address their specific logistics challenges.
      • Share examples of how you've helped similar businesses save money or improve efficiency.
    4. Persistence is Key.
      • Don't give up after one attempt. Multiple follow-ups are often necessary. People are busy, so be polite and persistent in your outreach.
      • Track your progress. Use a CRM or system to manage your follow-ups and track responses. This helps you stay organized and identify which leads require more attention.

    Your clients are bombarded with calls and emails every day. You’re not the only company looking to work with them. To land a deal, you’d have to begin reaching out. Cold calling is one way to do that. But note that you need to call more people if you want to sell more.

    In sales, it doesn’t matter how many follow-ups you do. All that matters is that you took your time to establish a connection with the right leads and eventually convert them.

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    In the logistics industry, cold calling is still considered a powerful tool for freight brokers. However, the process can be challenging, with prospects often responding with objections. Building connections and trust can change that.

    Effective cold calling requires preparation, persistence, and focus on providing value to prospects. Freight brokers need to research leads, craft personalized pitches, and adapt their communication styles to engage potential clients successfully.

    In facilitating communication with your leads, you need a logistics CRM that allows you to see a complete view of your potential clients.

    If you want to ensure you don't miss any communication with them, you can book a demo to see how this specialized CRM can help you.


    Hector Sunol Information Technology Expert

    Hector is IFS’s co-founder and CEO, with over 21 years of experience leading and managing companies and IT operations for large and mid-size businesses. Hector is also the co-founder and CEO of Cyzerg, a technology company specializing in innovating software solutions for warehouses and DCs. Before IFS and Cyzerg, Hector was senior director of technical operations, overseeing an e-commerce website with more than one million monthly transactions.