Transportation is physically moving goods from one location to another. Selling transportation means providing customers with optimum service for an agreed-upon price. Although some customers may enjoy knowing the details of how a package moves by air, ground or overseas cargo container, most are not interested in how transportation works. What customers want to know is, “When and how much?” Transportation sales will try to answer this quickly, accurately and, most important, more competitively than the competition.
Transportation pricing is based on weight and distance. As weight and distance increase, prices go up. The transportation salesperson will provide quotes for shipping to the customer. As with all sales, the salesperson’s job involves name recognition and response as much as the actual product or service delivered. Promptly providing pricing for cargo will lead to customers preferring the salesperson's company over others that may be slightly less expensive but that are slow on returning needed information. Moving cargo is definitely not suited to waiting for someone to get back with a quote.
Transportation salespersons will know the bottom line for the company to make a profit, and possibly to insure a minimum commission for themselves. The salesperson will then take the base amount and, knowing the customer and the customer's expectations, add an additional markup that is best for the company but low enough to ensure the order.
A pickup and delivery schedule tells the customer when the cargo will leave and when it will arrive at its destination. Not every transportation company will be able to meet all schedule demands. The salesperson’s job is to coordinate the service availability with the customer’s need to move a shipment in a specific time frame. When regularly scheduled air transport will not meet the deadline, then the salesperson will look at over-the-road transport.
Overseas transport can be the most exasperating to schedule because of ship traffic and intervening ports of call before arriving at a destination. If the cargo is the right size and weight, then airfreight may work much faster. If weight, size and total costs prevent using expensive airfreight, then the salesperson will have to use pervasive people skills to convince the customer that the shipping order will have to be changed. For the successful transportation salesperson, part of the job is explaining to customers that not all their demands are feasible while still getting the orders from the customers.
Transportation salespersons also sell packaging and shipping readiness services. These can include crating, pallet loading, strapping, loading and the like. Although many large companies have their own departments preparing cargo for shipping, some smaller companies will need such services from outside. The transportation salesperson will again price for maximum profit while keeping the cost low enough to insure the customer's order.