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10 Ways Freight Brokers Can Find Shipping Leads

What's in this article?
  1. 1 Make Cold Calls
  2. Understand Your Target Audience
  3. Get Creative
  4. 2 Ask For Referrals
  5. Build A Referral Pipeline
  6. 3 Call Shippers Directly
  7. 4 Contact The Customers Of Your Customers
  8. 5 Create A Loyalty Program
  9. 6 Send Direct Mail
  10. 7 Find The Competitors Of Large Industry Players
  11. 8 Use Shipper Lists
  12. 9 Follow Prospects On Social Media
  13. Twitter
  14. Instagram
  15. Linkedin
  16. 10 Be Present At Conferences
  17. Conclusion
10 Ways Freight Brokers Can Find Shipping Leads

Finding shipping leads is tough. It takes a lot of work, research, and networking to build relationships with shippers. In actuality, 90% of the time spent by freight brokers is spent seeking out new clients.

But there are ways freight brokers can find shipping leads without having to spend hours searching online. You can find shipping leads more quickly and easily with the help of these ten tips.

1. Make Cold Calls

We know it's necessary, but we don't enjoy doing it. There are, however, ways to make cold calls easier and even turn them into warm calls. Here are some pointers to get you started:

Understand your target audience

Although you might think you are an expert on your target market, there is a good chance that you are not. First, you must comprehend the target audience. Who are they exactly? What are they looking for? These inquiries will help you decide how to relate to them.

Get creative

Making something distinctive is the best way to stand out. This simply means that you shouldn't steal someone else's idea; it does not imply that you have to reinvent the wheel.

Instead, try coming up with something unique. Maybe you could offer a discount on a service that no one else does. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it fits within your budget and your brand identity.

2. Ask for Referrals

Referral marketing is one of the most effective tools for salespeople.

A referral from a happy customer is worth more than gold. They'll tell others about you and your services because they've had a good experience working with you. And that's why you want to keep those customers happy.

You can use social media to find out where people like to talk about products and services. For example, LinkedIn allows you to see what groups people belong to and what topics they discuss. Twitter lets you look up hashtags related to your industry. Facebook gives you access to groups and pages.


Build a referral pipeline

As a third-party logistics provider (3PL), it is important to develop relationships with shippers who are looking for 3PL solutions. These relationships allow you to build a referral pipeline, which will help you grow your business.

By building a network of shippers who have similar shipping requirements, you can leverage each other’s strengths while minimizing risks associated with working with unknown entities. This approach builds trust and helps eliminate credit risk.

3. Call Shippers Directly

Shippers often prefer direct contact when choosing a 3PL. If you can get in touch with them directly, you can save time and money by avoiding middlemen.

Building a working relationship with shipping companies is critical to your success as a freight broker. It takes time to establish these relationships, so be patient. Once you have built a solid reputation, you can start asking for referrals.

4. Contact the Customers of Your Customers

Contacting customers of your customers can be a great way to find out what you are missing.

The best place to start is with your existing customer base. This can be accomplished through email or phone calls. Once you have identified potential leads, you can follow up with them. Make sure that you provide value to your service.

5. Create a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program can be used as a way to reward existing customers, attract new customers, and build brand awareness. In addition, it helps you track customer behavior and identify opportunities for growth.

Loyalty programs typically include some sort of discount or incentive for returning customers. They might offer special deals such as free shipping, discounted products, or even gift certificates.

Loyalty programs often require customers to enter their email addresses, which allows companies to send targeted messages about promotions, new services, and other relevant information.

There are many different types of loyalty programs, including rewards cards, coupons, points programs, and others. Find what fits best for your brand and test it out.

6. Send Direct Mail

Direct mail is an effective way of reaching out to shippers who are actively looking for freight brokers. While it might seem like a time-consuming investment, sending direct mail is actually an effective way of getting noticed by potential clients.

A good rule of thumb is to send a personalized email to every person on your mailing list. This ensures that each recipient gets something useful. Make sure the subject line is relevant too.

The best emails will include a compelling headline, a short intro paragraph, a call-to-action, and a link to your website. If possible, try to avoid including too many sales pitches. Instead, focus on providing value to your recipients.


7. Find the Competitors of Large Industry Players

The best way to identify potential competitors is to look up the companies you want to compete against. You can do this by searching for them on Google.

If you don't know what keywords to use, try "competitors," "competing brands," "competitor analysis," "competitor research," "competitor benchmarking," and "competitor comparison."

Once you identify your competitor's marketing strategy, it can help you update yours. For example, if you see that they are using social media in a certain way, you can change up some of your strategies by using them as inspiration.

However, it's important not to copy their strategies. Instead, create your own unique approach, and just use competitor strategies as inspiration.

8. Use Shipper Lists

Macrae’s Shipper Directory provides access to over 2 million active shippers worldwide. This directory helps you find shippers who ship specific types of products. You can use it to find out what items are being shipped, where shipments are headed, and how much they cost.

The directory includes information such as the name and address of the shipper, the number of employees, the type of facility, the location of the warehouse, the type of packaging used, and the type of delivery method.

9. Follow Prospects on Social Media

The best way to find prospects is by looking at what they are already doing online. By monitoring social media accounts, you can learn about companies' needs and interests. You'll know how to pitch your products and services based on what they want.

You can use social media to identify people who are actively searching for information related to your industry. They may even be seeking advice from others in your space.

These are potential customers, and once you've found them, it's up to you to figure out whether they're ready to hire the service you provide.


Use Twitter's "Who To Follow" feature to monitor popular topics among your target audience. If someone mentions a product or service you offer, follow them to keep track of what they post. This helps you build relationships with people who are influential within your niche.

Once you start following people, you'll notice that some of them begin following you back. And if someone follows you, make sure you reciprocate. People appreciate being recognized for their expertise, especially when it's done well.

And don't forget to thank those who take the time to follow you. Showing appreciation goes a long way.


You can follow hashtags that are relevant to your business on Instagram. Hashtags make finding content easier because other users can search for posts containing a particular hashtag. This will help you find accounts that could turn into leads.


If you have an account on LinkedIn, you should be able to connect with professionals in your field. Once you do so, you'll be notified whenever they share new updates. You can then comment on these updates to let them know you're interested in working together.

This gives you another opportunity to get noticed. When you comment on someone else's update, you show that you read their profile and understand their work. It also shows that you're willing to engage with them.

10. Be Present at Conferences

Whether you are attending live events or participating virtually, getting involved is crucial for networking and your business's success.

There is an abundance of events throughout the year where you can meet other carriers, shippers, brokerage companies, and logistics providers. These include webinars, seminars, roundtables, and workshops.



Shipping leads are everywhere if you know where to look. Freight brokers have a lot of options when it comes to finding shipping leads, such as online lead generation programs, cold calling, and networking events.

The most important thing to remember is that it's important to provide customer value when using your chosen outreach and lead collection method. This will ensure valuable, profitable leads that will help grow your business.

At A-1 Auto Transport, our expert team works hard to provide top-notch shipping services for businesses and individuals. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you or your business with all your shipping needs.10 Ways Freight Brokers Can Find Shipping Leads

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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