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Ways to improve the quotation process of your freight forwarder

Created on | Last updated on January 24, 2024 at 06:55 pm

As a forwarder, you should always be aware of ways to improve the quotation process of your freight forwarder.

When we are talking about independent freight forwarders, the quotation process is always a crucial part of the company’s operations. 

As you may already know, most freight opportunities start with a freight quote request.

Getting a proper and affordable freight quote is an important step when you are shipping goods internationally.

Therefore, having an efficient and organized quotation process is very important. 

Otherwise, you may miss valuable business opportunities.

Imagine a hypothetical situation but one that you probably have experienced in your forwarding company or experience often. 

Let’s assume a customer contacts your forwarder requesting an urgent freight quote. 

You now have no overseas partner in mind who can help you with this request. 

So the first thing you do is look for forwarders specialized in the requested service and location to contact them individually and ask them to send you their quotations as soon as possible. 

Once you have done this, you wait for their returns, and if you see the need, you contact them again to ensure that they get back to you quickly.

After you have all the answers in hand and review all the quotes received, you finally choose the one that best fits the needs of the order.

Finally, you reply to your customer with the costs for the request they sent you.

Typically, this is how quotation processes work between receiving a customer’s request and closing the deal. 

However, some steps in this process, such as looking for a forwarder qualified to handle that request and waiting for their responses, can slow things down and make it less efficient.

So what can you do to speed up your quotation process with other agents?

Even if your team replies to all the requests for a quotation it receives, this alone is not enough to make the RFQs result in the deal being closed. 

According to the Mystery Shopper Report, 60% of quote requests did not result in receiving a quote. 

Furthermore, out of the 25 quotes received, only 8% of companies sent a follow-up to see if the shipper was still interested in booking.

In these specific pain points – the search for forwarders and the wait for their responses – we address two possible scenarios and suggest ways to overcome them in a better and faster way.

Let’s imagine some possible scenarios…

This is a particularly tricky situation because here you have no connection that can help you with the request.

Therefore, you have to make efforts to find a potential freight partner and contact him.

As you know, there are many ways to search for forwarders, such as using Google, forwarder directories, and logistics networks. 

However, it can be time-consuming because in addition to understanding if they will align with your business needs.

You also need to analyze whether that agent is qualified for the service or not.

Besides, even if you find possible qualified forwarders for the shipment you need, contacting them via email individually can take a VERY long time

Considering that you still have to wait for their responses, we can say that it has already been more than 24 hours since your customer contacted you.

Through Parnity’s Business Hub – by becoming a Parnity member, forwarders have access to a system where all members add their requests daily.

After you post them, the quote requests will be available to all forwarders that cover your target location and you will receive all quotes in the system to compare them. 

Once you have chosen the best quote for your request, you can contact that forwarder through our chat and settle the final details.

With Business Hub, you also have access to all the requests that involve YOUR location so you can choose the ones that interest you and send your quotes.

In most cases, when a customer requests a quote and you already have a freight partner at the desired location.

You search in a long contact spreadsheet for the one you are looking for or ask someone in your company for the desired contacts.

Likewise, when you find a possible forwarding partner for your shipment, you still need to contact them individually, send reminders if necessary, and wait for a response before you can respond to your customer’s request.

But the biggest problem does not lie there. 

When we talk about looking for a freight partner among your current partners in spreadsheets, for example, some factors can make the process slower and even cause errors. 

This is because the data may not always be updated, or you may end up forgetting to include a partner in your list…

The solution here is to use a partnership management system for freight forwarders.

When it comes to managing your freight forwarder partnerships, the ideal is to keep in mind the possibility of using a forwarder management system

These systems help forwarders centralize, optimize, and streamline communication within the company, along with quotation processes and decision-making.

Understanding the challenge freight forwarders have in keeping track of all their freight forwarding partnerships, Parnity has developed an add-on feature to manage freight partners – called MyPartners.

MyPartners is a PRM tool that allows you to manage your forwarder partners most intuitively and enjoyably. 

It is the perfect solution that forwarders who need to stop using spreadsheets and start improving the management of their partnerships.

In addition to the scenarios described above, there are a few ways to improve the quotation process of your freight forwarder:

Imagine that a potential freight partner enters your forwarder’s website or social media to request a quote but encounters outdated information. 

You would be missing out on a business opportunity. 

Therefore, make sure that the information available on your website, social media, and even your logistics network profile – if you are part of one – is always up to date.

In Parnity – the evolution of Forwarder Networks, for example, forwarders can add to their profile, the “quotation contact” to ensure that the inquiries are being sent to the right person and so they don’t miss a business opportunity.

Another way to make it easier for your customers to contact you is to add on your website, a specific tab for them to request a freight forwarder quote online. 

Using an online form, you can pre-establish all the information you need to respond to the quote request faster.

There is a lot of frustration in the forwarding business caused by limited access to information. 

However, since the number of quotes accepted has a direct correlation to future bookings, your team must know how many freight quotes were sent to customers today, this week, or this month. 

Besides that, the more information your quotation team has, the faster and more effective the response to incoming freight quotation requests will be.

Responding faster to the freight quote with all the information they need to make a decision will certainly help you improve the customer’s success

Not to mention that monitoring the activity of your customers and partners will allow you to focus your efforts on getting the most competitive rates on major routes, for example.

Many forwarding companies, do not send follow-ups to their customers. 

However, by following up on a freight quote, you can increase your customers’ engagement.

That’s because you show more interest in building a relationship with them than your competitors, for example. 

By sending quote follow-ups, your forwarder will stand out from the competition.

Here is a sample of how you can do this:

Another way to improve your freight forwarder’s quotation process is to ask your customers for feedback after the service you exchanged.

How long do your customers wait for freight rates?

Did the quote response contain all the information they needed to make a decision? 

Send an email, or a WhatsApp, or give a call to your freight forwarding partner.

Ask how they felt during the freight quote, and if there is anything you can do better next time. 

This way you can identify where there is room for improvement in the quoting process.

You can send something simple and direct, such as:

The tips above can help you improve your freight forwarder’s quotation process so that you increase not only the number of quotations received but also the win quotation rate. 

But what do you do when you are the one who needs a quotation?

Getting the best freight quote for your cargo requires much more than just providing the size and weight of the load. 

The calculation of a freight quote depends on several other factors. 

So to get an accurate and complete quote, make sure you provide as much information as possible to your freight forwarder. 

The more information you provide, the easier it is to provide an accurate price.

Without all the information, the process can become longer and more stressful, not to mention that with several messages being exchanged, information can easily get lost.

Know the specifications of your shipment, inform the weight and volume of it, the type of service you want, the destination, and any other information you judge essential. 

Certainly, the right forwarding partner makes quoting and shipping easy, but finding them is not so easy. 

So approach several forwarders for quotes so you can compare them and find the best one for you. 

You can search for freight forwarders on Google, freight forwarder directories, and logistics networks, for example.

However, as mentioned before, this process can be time-consuming.

Fortunately, Parnity can also provide the solution to this.

You can find qualified partners with just a few clicks on Parnity. 

You can search by company name, city, or country where you want to find a freight forwarder. 

In addition, the search filters allow you to sort the results by services, logistics certifications, branch offices, or headquarters, for example. 

This way, you not only make the searching process for a freight forwarding partner faster but also more assertive.

The above article has presented you with some ways to improve the quotation process of your freight forwarder.

Besides that, also presented a more effective way to receive responses to your quotation requests. 

You can use it as a guide to identifying the points you can implement and/or improve in your freight forwarder.

Getting the best freight quote is not difficult if you have accurate information about your shipment and a qualified freight partner. 

But remember that just like you, other forwarders also want this.