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Who and What Is a Transportation Sales Professional?

Transportation sales people are the unsung heroes, without whom all the flashy manoeuvrings of high- priced executives would end up as losses. Digging daily in the trenches, absorbing all of the front-line abuse, and knowing full well that it's ei...

Transportation sales people are the unsung heroes, without whom all the flashy manoeuvrings of high- priced executives would end up as losses. Digging daily in the trenches, absorbing all of the front-line abuse, and knowing full well that it’s either him or the competition, the salesperson is the lynch-pin on which hangs any business’ hope for success.

The profession of selling is the highest paid hard work; and the lowest paid easy work. One of the advantages of selling is the freedom of expression. Selling is one of the few professions remaining in which you can be yourself and can, in essence, do what you want to do. The freedom you have won for yourself by successfully competing where resourcefulness and perseverance are demanded is highly valued. No activity is more dependent on individual initiative than selling.

Another advantage is that you have the freedom to become as successful as you would like to be. In the selling profession, no one limits your income but you. Selling is a daily challenge and it is fun. So then, what makes the best transportation sales professionals? What motivates them? And why are great transportation salespeople so difficult to find? To answer these questions it will be important to consider what exactly it is that the salesperson does.

Before anything, the effective salesperson is the individual who is capable of building successful relationships. To do this, he must create a good first impression, must explain effectively the benefit of the service offered, must deliver that service on time, must see to it that any problems, large or small, are tended to, and must ensure that all of the above are maintained over time while concurrently deepening the personal relationship that exists between himself and the client.

This last item is crucial, and is the fact that will divide the great ones from the rest. It is far easier said than done, too, for it requires, more than anything, an ability to adapt to the various personalities and character idiosyncrasies that the salesperson will daily encounter. To thrive and survive, the salesperson needs a thorough understanding of human psychology.

In simpler terms, the salesperson must know people. Regardless of whether he represents a large conglomerate or a small trucking outfit, an understanding of people is required as well as an ability to relate to people on terms that will get the job done.

A lifetime worth of experience is required for this. A lifetime of both victories and defeats. A lifetime worth of listening to people – listening to what they say and to what they often leave unsaid. Weighing it all and making good judgements in what often amounts to a very brief period of time, and then acting on it.

And that is the easy part. The real test, the true determinant in deciding whether one has the right stuff to become a great salesperson, comes long before the opportunity arrives to meet customers. By that point, there will be those who succeed in varying degrees, depending on how well they have honed their ability to relate. Before then there remains the hurdle of rejection to overcome.

The salesperson is familiar with rejection. In fact, if he is a great salesperson, it is likely the experience he has encountered most often during his career. He is not fazed by it, nor does he speak much about it. It is quite simply part of his job. The truly great thrive on it, knowing full well that every “no” brings them closer to the “yes” they seek. For sales is a numbers game. And every good salesperson realizes that with fortitude and courage to endure the manifold rejections he encounters daily, that test his mettle and chip away at his patience, will eventually arrive the lead that will flower into a prospect, that will ultimately become a customer.

He is relentless in his pursuit of this. He is tireless. He is focused and he will not be swayed by the “noise” that often washes about him. If he can overcome this obstacle and build for himself a base of clients, against the odds, at war against his own self doubts, the beginner in the trade will have earned himself the right to join the ranks of that indomitable elite known as the “sales professional”.

The great transportation salesperson walks a tightrope between the demands of his employers and the needs of his clients. Both often view him with suspicion. He endures abuse and maintains his composure. He alone knows the loneliness of the burden he carries.

Mark Borkowski is president of Toronto based Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation. Mercantile is a mid market mergers & acquisitions brokerage firm. Mark can be contacted at (416) 368-8466 ext. 232 or

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Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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