Recently I attended the annual meeting of the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA) for the first time, and it was an incredible experience. As a rookie in the logistics industry, I was impressed by how welcoming the organization was – they even paired me with a buddy who was a board member to help me navigate the event.

The TMSA attendees were friendly, open-minded, and willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. This level of openness is what makes the organization and the industry so great. If you are not a member yet, I highly recommend joining. And if you ever find yourself in Savannah, be sure to visit Lulu’s for dessert.

During the event, I attended several sessions, and the opening keynote by Jared Orton, President of the Savannah Bananas, stood out. He emphasized the importance of going above and beyond for your customers and recognizing your employees. His examples of individual acts of kindness were inspiring.

  • An HVAC company in town recently went above and beyond for a pregnant customer who was struggling with a broken AC. Unable to get back to her immediately, they decided to do something special for her – they arranged for a professional masseuse to give her a relaxing massage. That’s right, a massage! Talk about exceptional customer service.
  • In another example of exceptional service, a builder in Savannah went all out for a couple celebrating their anniversary. Even though the couple’s new home was only framed at the time, their staff created an unforgettable experience by serving them a romantic dinner in their future dining room. Can you imagine how special that must have felt?

Jared also stressed the importance of getting to know your employees on a personal level. Take the time to understand their hopes and dreams, and what motivates them. Encourage them to share their future resumes, even if it doesn’t include your company or industry – this will give you insight into what their next phase of life looks like, and you can support them accordingly.

There was a live podcast with Blythe Brumleve of the “Digital Dispatch/Everything is Logistics” podcast and Trey Griggs (who was also the event MC) of the “Standing Out” podcast. I learned that there are quite a few transportation blogs and podcasts worth checking out. The list can be found here.

Lastly, I attended a customer panel featuring clients from Scotts Miracle-Gro, Elo Touch Solutions, and Lippert Corporation, who shared valuable insights on approaching new prospects. They emphasized the importance of offering a solutions-based conversation and personalization. They also suggested doing your research and understanding your customers’ needs and selling strategies. 

Some examples:

  • Focus on what’s in it for them. Don’t worry about the number of trucks you have, etc. 
  • Personalization; no cookie cutter email. Say something about them or the company. They see everything that comes in. Get their attention with personalization. They get thirty calls a day. How do you stand out? 
  • Your value proposition must be a value they need. 
  • Know what your customers sell and how. Reference the product and how it relates to you, if possible.

And remember, any work is a good sign – so take those small opportunities and grow them into something greater.

Many thanks to the TMSA for putting on a great event! 

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