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Get What you are Worth in 2010

A couple weeks ago I laid helpless in my dentist’s chair with a power drill down my throat. Rob, my dentist of several years and a towering figure launched into something he was obviously very convicted about that day.
“Dave, I really don’t have any guilt charging you today. We’re renovating our house and I just got the designer’s invoice and wow.. he’s sure not afraid to billl” No matter what I thought of his outburst, I wasn’t in a position to argue.
Ironically and thankfully Rob’s designer launched a curious and positive chain of events. Because the designer wasn’t afraid to charge, Rob had no trouble charging me and Rob’s Power Drill Manifesto affected me later that day as I went to quote a prospect I really wanted.
You see the temptation would have been for me to go in with as low a price as possible with the reward being that I might actually make some money down the road with more business. Rob’s manifesto reminded me to just ask for what I was worth.
Getting what you are worth. What a concept.
For many of us it may seem like some sort of far off dream.
It is a concept that so many business people that attend my Communication & Leadership seminars struggle with.
It is a concept I have to keep myself honest with on a daily basis.
Having served the Transport Sector for close to 20 years I also recognize it as one of the primary issues that needs to be addressed in for a return to health of this vital sector in Canada’s economy.
Let’s face it, the consequences of not getting what you are worth are many:
Loss of Self Esteem
Financial Struggles both on a corporate and personal level
and biggest of all: a Negative Attitude.
A negative attitude to those suppliers or clients we feel aren’t treating us as well as they should be which spirals us into a negative and toxic relationship.
I have to always remember this personal and corporate truth:
I am always in control. No one can undervalue me unless I let them.
I am extremely fortunate to mingle with some positive leaders each and every year in the concept of getting what you are worth in the Transport sector. They are many of the men and women who win their way into the annual Wowtrucks® Calendar I photograph and produce. Wowtrucks® is my way of combining two personal passions, photography and people.
I take 3 trophy winners from each of the 4 major show n shines across Canada each year and together they form Canada’s Big Rig Calendar. The calendar, even more importantly than showcasing really cool trucks also showcases really cool people. To me the image of the truck is simply a portrait representation of that person. Your clients/prospects get images of your truck(s)/fleet every day. What do those images say about you or your company?
Many of the Owner Operators who win their way into the calendar are not afraid to ask for what they are worth and they tend to get it. Yes, they are not completely immune to swings in the economy, but even in tougher times they are still making more than their counterparts who don’t get the concept of asking for what you are worth. In tougher times, they may make more than their competitors as they may choose to do less, and not accept business that is demanding them to work for far less than they are worth.
Here’s the chain of events that are common to their stories:
1) They take pride in their Rig and their fleet.
2) Customers start to associate that with pride in a job well done.
3) They deliver on their promise. Loads delivered on time, safely by drivers who are happy to be there and care about the client.
4) Long term positive relationships form and clients recognize the value of dealing with them.
5) That value translates past a $ per mile cost and they aren’t under the same constant pressure to match bottom market pricing at all times that their peers are under.
6) Because they feel valued they continue to take pride in their Rig and Fleet
7) Go to Step 1
At this point I know a few of you will be thinking to yourself “Earth calling Dave! Earth calling Dave! Nice on paper buddy but my clients will never pay me what I think I’m worth and there’s not a thing I can do about it. If I don’t take the business at those lower rates there’s another company that will in a heartbeat.” I hear you and reality says that that all to frequently you are absolutely right.
And while the answer is slightly more involved than the straight forward path I’m going to suggest: The basic solution path I would encourage you with is:
*Provide value to your clients (1000’s of ways to do this aside from cost per mile)
*Ask for what you are worth.
*Potentially walk away from clients who won’t pay you what you are worth.
*Let your competitors take that business at non sustainable rates and drown.
*Be happier and thrive in a very competitive industry.
The alternative is accepting less than your worth and in a nightmare scenario actually surviving. Surviving as an unhappy, underpaid, overstressed supplier of transport services complaining and blaming everyone around you for your circumstance. Even when the reality is it was a choice you made and continue to make. This isn’t just transport, we’ve all seen this in every industry.
If you provide value to your clients and go out and ask for what you worth, the absolute worst thing that can happen is they won’t recognize it and that you transfer your skills and talents to a marketplace or industry that will.
And while that type of attitude takes courage and sounds harsh: we all recognize that there are way too many in the industry today just “hanging on”. Thats not healthy neither for the sector nor for them.
I’ve been party to many a conversation enviously mocking another industry, perhaps a supplier, because they’re not afraid to pass on costs, charge what they need to etc. Similar to the “It must be nice” manifesto I got from Rob. “It must be nice” would be the common opener to those conversations that we’ve all heard and likely all participated in at one time or another. We’re envious of people who are not afraid to assert their value.
If that applies to you today, be encouraged that “ nice” is not a pipe dream and may not involve ditching the transport sector! It simply boils down to choices we make where we are at. I passionately believe that you and I deserve to get properly recognized for the services we provide: both financially and otherwise. If each one of us were to take that message to heart and go ask for it, it would radically change the face and health of the transport sector in Canada today.
If you need encouragement, just envision your dentist with a power drill down your throat.
David Benjatschek is a professional speaker/trainer on the topics of Leadership & Communication. Find out more by visiting his website:

David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek

David Benjatschek is a professional business speaker/trainer, motivating audiences across North America. His 15 year career in Oil & Gas primarily focused on the transportation sector. Also an accredited photographer, David is the driving force behind and the Wowtrucks® Calendar: Canada's Big Rig Calendar.
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4 Comments » for Get What you are Worth in 2010
  1. meslippery says:

    Your a hourly paid driver with 44 hrs in on Thursday
    the boss said Take Friday off, we are kinda slow.
    So you come in Monday and your truck is damaged to
    the tune of $8000.00 When you ask what happened,
    The guy they used to save a hundred dollars in overtime
    pay did it. So they are out $7900.00 and you are pissed
    because you could have used that days pay.
    None of this fizzs on them they still think it was a good
    idea, just a bit of bad luck.
    Then you goto the customer where this happened and they
    say what happened to you on Friday have to go to the
    dentist or some thing? That guy they sent us was………
    So I tell them they where trying to save $100.00
    That is what fixed it.But I was not in the carriers good books for a long time.

  2. meslippery says:

    1/7/2010 Patriot Loses Customers to Carriers With Lower Rates
    Patriot Transportation Holding has lost some of its transportation group customers, who accounted for about $10 million, or 11 percent, of the company’s transportation group revenue for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009.
    According to Patriot, these customers did not renew contracts with the company, as they moved to competing carriers who offered lower pricing. The company says it will provide transitional services to these outgoing customers.
    Patriot’s transportation business is conducted through Florida Rock & Tank Lines, which it says is facing “an intensely competitive environment.”
    “Management is committed to securing replacement business at rates that produce satisfactory returns for our shareholders,” the company said.

  3. meslippery says:

    I have no knowlage of Patriot But I am thinking
    they embraced this great new technology.
    And are now paying the price as sometimes it is better
    to leave well enought a lone. 10 million lost
    not a good investment.
    Good thing we leveled theplaying field.
    Some one was selling this to managment an with out
    talking to there drivers they bought in hook line and sinker. go figure.

  4. Meslippery,
    This is a hot issue and your situation is shared by so many out there. I really appreciate your comments. Thank You.
    I’m not familiar with Patriot either alot of facts unknown as to the wiseness of the decision.
    The question only they can answer is whether that 10 million in revenue was costing them 11 million to service.
    Letting go of business is never an easy thing to do and should never be a knee jerk reaction. However if they were losing money on the business they are now letting go, it actually may be the best move they could make and will protect the company from bankrutpcy down the road. Basically Revenue doesn’t always equal profit and profit is what keeps companies afloat to pay their employees next month.
    From any employee’s perspective its never nice to see your company downsize. It is important to recognize, through the emotions of these types of moves that the company / employee relationship is a collaborative one:
    1) When company’s win, employees can win
    2) When company’s lose, employees can lose
    For example, if this move by Patriot keeps them healthy to continue fighting years down the road,then ultimately it’s also the best decision for the employees it currently has. It better provides them security of employment long term. We’re seeing too many companies not making these types of tough business decisions and continue on a flawed assumption that just running is always better than not running at all, hoping all along the economy will turn around and bail them out. As their bankruptcies make the headlines, they are leaving way to many drivers/families in dire straits. That is the situation I hate to see.
    Lets keep an eye on this company and see what happens.
    The other two truths of the colloborative relationship between employees and companies are these:
    3) When employees lose, companies can lose
    4) When employees win, companies can win
    Going back to your situation (overtime/damaged truck). Companies sometimes do forget the value of their employees. I think we all know that for some trucking companies the real face of the company is you the driver.
    For me.. I may bank with Bank of Montreal but really I bank with Ron my advisor. He is the bank as far as i am concerned.
    My realtor has been Maxwell Realty in Calgary buy really my realtor is Laura. She is Maxwell as far as i am concerned.
    Good and Bad experiences with companies many times have nothing to do with the strengths and weaknesses of the company itself but rather the strength of the person you are dealing with.
    You seem to have a very good relationship with this client and if you are providing an exceptionally positive experience to the client than in normal circumstances the occasional $100 overtime should be well worth it to your company. Great Service is one aspect of Value that many customers will pay more to get. Knowing that you are there taking care of them is worth something.
    Again..i don’t have the facts so I’m going to speak in generalities: If your company’s decision to not provide you with overtime is based on a very tight current bottom line then I wouldn’t take that personally. Overtime is something they may normally want to reward you with but can’t presently. If in the short term they are wisely managing their business so it survives long will win. You win because in the short term you are getting full time hours and in the medium to longer term as they are a viable business, you could see additional recognition of your value to your customers by the company in making you that customer’s driver even when it involves overtime.
    Final thoughts on the colloborative piece is that when employees lose long term, companies can lose. If you continue to provide exceptional service to clients and it can’t be recognized or is failed to be recognized by the company they could lose..lose as they watch your heels leaving the door.
    You will never lose providing quality service to your clients and doing your job well. Your reputation is something you are in complete control of. There are alot of things disreputable companies can steal from employees.. but your reputation and experience is something they can never take from you. That has value whereever you go.
    Medium to Long Term if you aren’t getting what you want and need from your company then your reputation will mean that there will be companies out there jumping at the chance to scoop you up. I’m seeing those comments in the other blogs on this site.
    We all need to make those decisions. 3 years ago I left a great company i spent 15 wonderful years with because they were making some calls that meant the future positions I could have had would not have been in my strengths nor things I love to do. The calls they were making while not to my benefit were absolutely the right calls for that business. So I shook hands, said thank you for a great relationship, and took a ton of experience into a new world of being a trainer/speaker. Some people look at that and say “You wasted 15 years before finding your calling in life” to which I would answer that I wouldn’t be where I am without the experiences and knowledge I gained at that company.
    I’m continuing to grow in the directions I need to grow and doing something I love. Actually two things I love: Speaking and the Wowtrucks calendar (which would have never happened without the transport experience and relationships I built in my 15 years in the oil and gas sector).
    And now the paradigm is coming true as I built value for my clients I’m getting it in return, even in tougher economic times. I couldn’t imagine not doing what i do today.
    I’d encourage you to control what you can control by continuing to provide excellent service to your clients. Continue to talk with your company in a positive manner about “Getting What You are Worth” and attempt to collaborate with them to get there. (Now ,we’ve all dumped on external people before when we’re really frustated..but I know you know that the burst out to your customer about your company doesn’t help anyone. Please always talk to your company directly about your frustrations… they need to hear them)
    If your company deals in good faith with their employees you will win long term right where you are. If your company doesn’ are still going to win..just somewhere else and as your feet walk out the door to a company that values your worth..that will be their loss.
    You are in complete control of getting what you are worth. Go get the absolute best for yourself. You deserve it.

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