In this episode, Adam is joined by Jason Roberts, SVP of MODE Global. During this conversation, Jason shares his story of being fired at a job and having to build himself back up. Adam and Jason also discuss the “luck” of sales, creating value for yourself as a sales professional, approaching customers with a full solution mindset, and more.
Highlights from the conversation:
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Transcription generated by Otter.ai
Adam Vazquez 00:23
All right. We’ve got Jason Roberts here on the show. Jason, thanks for joining us.
Jason Roberts 00:27
Thanks, Adam. Happy to be here.
Adam Vazquez 00:29
So I had to hit record, because I was like, hey, what can we talk about? Can I ask you about this? And you were like, yeah, we’ve had a, I’ve had a wild ride to get here. And I’m willing to talk about anything, and start listening to things. And I didn’t want to miss any of it. So before we got too far ahead, I wanted to capture Can you just tell us, but you have a bit of an unusual story to where you started from where you started to where you are now as SVP of mode global, huge company. And so maybe you could just give us that? You know, that background story?
Jason Roberts 01:02
Yeah. So I will, I’ll try to make that as short as possible. So, you know, I got my start, like, so many others did, and specifically in Chattanooga, at Access America. To be honest, I was only there for a short amount of time, I was pretty young. And to be frank, my priorities were really out of order. You know, I actually got terminated pretty quickly. Or maybe it was six months. For, you know, showing up late and, you know, that kind of stuff. And at the time, you know, when it happened, I think that’s when I recognized, you know, what am I dealing with myself, you know, I had an opportunity to really do something here, kind of a pass it up, and somebody had somebody that was high up at Access had said, hey, look, you know, you know, I’ve got another place for you. And so I worked for a few years at a company called Lipsy. Logistics. We’re here. Yeah, I worked there for a few years before and they were at the time a pure brokerage play. I know, they got assets later on. But after a couple years, I moved on from there and worked at a company called Riverside transport RTI, who owned two or three different companies, a 3000. Trucks again, brokerage play in Chattanooga, they were building that up, some of the folks that I had worked with, get Riverside, where were some of the drivers of that, and work there was very small at the time by five or 10 people work there for three or four years, really got a lot of exposure to a lot of, I guess, my business was a lot in the adjusting time for a lot of automotive, a lot of expedited, you know, high exposure, high value, high margin freight wasn’t boring at all, I ended up doing well there, built, you know, became a pod leader and had, you know, I don’t know, 10 or 15 people underneath me, and did really well had a good opportunity there. And I left there to go to a company that will last for two weeks. This was a company that had some guys that had left another company, and they were building it out. These guys went on to be some of the first first folks over at freight waves, by the way, but okay, they want it. So they wanted to open up this brokerage. It was those two kinds of the financiers that brought me over and one other ops guy and it was ground up that space, they had rent, they had an MC insurance. They had some slick standup desks. And I think of some sort of I can’t even remember if we had a web based TMS, but it was something like that. And they were asking guys and said, hey, you know, we really want to build this from the ground up. And so at that time, I had waited a while like there was a significant gap. Well, there was a decent gap between my exit from RTI over to this new company. Okay, so your funds were kind of already a little tight. And just as a little bit of context, the president at the time of Avenger had tried to get me to come over there for a while. It’s okay, you know, I appreciate the offer, but I just can’t do it. You know, I had my reasons at the time. And anyhow, I remember very well, we were two weeks in. I felt good about where we’re at. I felt so good that I went to lunch and went to the sports bar in downtown Chattanooga.
Adam Vazquez 04:30
Jason Roberts 04:31
Rip. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. See you later. But I felt so good about it. I went to go get my membership. And the ops guy that I was with calls and says, Hey, you know, you need to come back to the office right away and it’s like, okay, that doesn’t sound good. It come back and find out this guy’s gonna shut down shop. You know, there they were there. noncompetes we’re gonna get enforced pretty heavily. I didn’t know I did it couldn’t find it because it was going to tie up a lot of their severance. From the old company, and they’re like, look, we’re really sorry, we, you know, if we get this fixed, we’re gonna give you a call. And I was like, You gotta be kidding. So was out of, you know, was out of work for, you know, a month or so was into that job, thought I had this great opportunity equity in the company a good starting salary, two weeks and it’s toast. And so now I’m in, I’m in desperation mode, I interviewed several folks, several different companies in Chattanooga, and had some, you know, this, there were some really great companies I spoke to, but a lot of them back then, we’re really wanting to stick to this kind of streamlined salary, like whether you’re experienced whether you’re new to come in and said, Look, I can’t do that, you know, I’ve got too much experience, I’m just not, you know, I can’t come in at the same salary as these other guy. But, you know, at the time, people weren’t really looking for middle management, they were just looking for brokers. So this would have been going at this point, I don’t know, five or six years ago. And so I call Andy, who was the president of injury was had to have a job. I couldn’t wait to be thoughtful about the right fit. I just wasn’t there. So I asked him, Hey, can I come in? He’s like, Yeah, but you know, you’ll be a broker, again, not I’ll get you a higher starting salary, but you’ll be a broker. And, you know, talk to my wife, spouse, I’ll take it, you know, I’m just gonna come in, and I’m gonna bust my butt. And start over. And to be honest, it sucked, you know, starting over, you built this book of business up, I couldn’t touch that book of business. You know, and I just, you know, I felt like all the other years of work that I’d put in, really, there wasn’t much to show for it. So I came into work with honestly, a pit in my stomach most days for probably the first, I don’t know, two months, it feels like, Wow, just, you know, I’m starting over as a broker, but I’m committed, I’m going to make more calls and everybody else, because that’s my job, that salary that they’re giving me. You know, it’s not not that, and I’m gonna, I’m just gonna make phone calls. And I’ll have more calls and everybody else every week. And to be honest, I hadn’t done that a few years, because I’ve been used to managing really large accounts. So that that’s what I did. I just started in a back to basics, II call in manufacturers, finding whatever lists I could going into our internal TMS, picking through the things that people thrown away. I think I remember I pulled it up by, you know, load volume and revenue at customers that we weren’t doing business with anymore. I’m like, I’m gonna go find out why. Some of them, there were good reasons. I found out. Yeah, some of them. They were really good reasons. But, you know, there was a couple of accounts that, you know, people had a hard time with and said, Go for it, you’re never gonna get anywhere with it. And like, Yep, I’m good with that. Built a few accounts up. And I got lucky with a couple of big name accounts. You know, if anyone doesn’t think there’s luck involved in sales, they’re crazy. Although, you know, I do always loves the, you know, the saying that it’s funny, how the hardest working people, you know, are usually the light lucky, right? For sure. So sales, it’s a numbers game, there’s no question about that. And I was not a great salesperson. I don’t I still don’t consider myself a great salesperson, I can give a good speech. You know, at this point in my career. I don’t think that a customer is gonna throw too much at me that I can’t dance with on the show. I am Sure. Yeah, a polished dancer, too. But I think that just comes with it. Right. So yeah, built a team up, got lucky, continued to build that and was a pod leader for a while. And then the big shift was, I had recognized a need in our organization for real, really better data driven decisions. And we weren’t doing that. So we were like every other small company, right? You know, I think brokerages those first few years, right? Everybody has the same chip on their shoulder. They’re just grinding it out, right? They’re high fiving. They’re eating pizza. They’re banging dogs are ringing bells. They don’t care about analytics other than margin dollars, new customers. And so one of the things that I had a growing concern for was that we were really looking at our numbers as a whole and saying, we were doing really great. We kept hiring people and bringing them on the most was being driven about two or three accounts. And so my concern was, hey, we’re not doing that great. It was Just we’ve got a lot of big, we got a couple of big accounts that are really driving this. So there’s a few people that are killing it. You know, it’s that 8020 world, right? Sure. Yep. And so, at the time we were, we were using a rather popular box TMS that had shown us some software that had some pretty slick analytics. And they had told us it was going to be $40,000 a year to get this add on. So I told the owner, my boss, like, I’m pretty sure I can build that myself. I’ll learn how to build it. So you built this? Yeah, so I learned so well, I learned Power BI. i Okay. Wow, that was kind of up. And I had seen that and saw that it was driven by the engine behind it . They had mentioned Power BI. So then I went and did some research myself and was like, wow, you know, this was, I mean, Power BI now is getting a lot more relevant than this was, again, this was, you know, four, four or five years ago. And it’s like, Man, this is like the best of both worlds, right? This is Excel, and PowerPoint, and pivot tables, and everything in between all put into a dynamic platform, I could really learn a lot from this. So I did. So I just kind of taught myself that. And then I really pushed for a different position within the organization. I said, Look, you know, I’m good with what I’m doing. But I want to move into a larger leadership position, I think there’s an incredible opportunity with the business that we have today that we’re not capitalizing on. And then I built these dashboards to show an organization really, where we had customer churn. You know, a lot of it was how much time we were spending on what I would have considered extra small customers. And I kind of put together like a category of the extra small was, I think it was like under $10 million. And it was very small, like in annual revenue, their total revenue, not there. Yeah. Right. And so I put together these dashboards to show people, hey, that’s great that you’re getting all these new customers, but, you know, John’s, you know, hey, bailing is not going to change your life, like, it’s not gonna make a good impact. So I tried to show everyone you know, that the effort really sure, the largest customers are fortune 500, yet, there’s a bigger lift there, there’s a longer tail tip of a pipeline to get in the door, while actually sorry to get finally move that first load, but the list for a new customer. On the front end, it’s pretty much the same, whether you’re calling Joe Blow’s hay bale company or Procter and Gamble, the process on the front end is the same. And so what I was trying to show folks was, if you could target these middle sized customers, that’s really where you’re gonna get the most bang for your buck. And we also were able to really recognize where we were losing customers, why we were losing customers. So then we started putting it on. So that was where I moved into this position, this business development position. So it was really understanding the why behind it. Again, when we have business, why are we getting it? How did we get it? Can we replicate it and seize it? When we were losing it? What was the reason? So we started getting what they wanted Dan’s, were they referrals? Were they small? Was it a credit issue? Was it us? You know, was it a service failure? Was there a change in kind of leadership at their level? So we started just making sure that we were really putting all of that into, you know, consumable data, in the hopes that our people would start realizing, okay, there’s a smarter way for me to be looking at who I’m targeting, and what I’m doing with my time. So. So that kind of, I think that was really a big shift in the organization. There were some unfortunate things that happened as well, in the organization that caused some shifts, and then the owner of our company at the time, you know, his plan was always to prepare for a sale. And that was, I think, when he really recognized that I was, I guess, the best fit to help the company go to market. So that happens, we go to market, we almost get bought a few times. This is all then coke. We’re basically bought by somebody COVID in Hamden. Oh man, and then that’s covered. That was the whole thing. So you know, that deals calmly and I was at the time was at a trade show in Vegas. The owner calls me. Hey, the deal’s off. The show gets canceled midway through while we’re there. Right, right, creepy, like me, because they literally, you know, evacuated all every hotel, every casino. It was a madhouse. It was a bad house in Las Vegas. Like, really? I’m actually surprised there hasn’t already been more documentation on what Yeah, city looked like because it was such. I mean, it’s completely dependent upon tourism, which, you know, which came to a hole. And then we had a month of really tough, right, we had layoffs, I think on our side, there were 35 layoffs. I had to do them all, based on a video call, which wasn’t, you know, like, yeah, I didn’t like that I would have preferred that, I would have preferred to at least have those conversations. Sure, of course, we were able to bring most of those people back, some were passed and didn’t want to come back with Sure. I understand. And then some, you know, found other jobs. And obviously, we all know what happened. Two months after that, right, we all went on a rocket ship. And
Adam Vazquez 15:46
so company, I guess, in some ways that fueled probably a better like, it’s kind of good that you didn’t get the transaction done, I’d imagine
Jason Roberts 15:55
prior to the rocket ship. Yeah. So our acquisition was, you know, at the time, most global was not a real candidate, or player in that pool of, you know, suitors for us. So, it completely shifted our trajectory, no question about even more. So when you think about, you know, serendipity, as the company was acquired, within a couple of weeks time mode, global brings in a new CEO, and Lance Mallesh, which, again, is likely very beneficial to me personally, and Avenger as a whole, because he is he was not a legacy guy, kind of status quo is the opposite of that franchise had built out, you know, built out BDP and built a four PL solution there. You know, so, so both of us were very much from a, you know, developmental standpoint within the organization, right, we’re kind of on that same path. So, you know, for us, it was it for the first few months, it was very much do no harm. And then it was, Hey, Jason, you have an objective view? Why don’t you take a look at the business? And tell me what your thoughts are. So that was exciting as well. Sure. Plenty of other adjectives, again, because I was coming from a 100 plus million dollar brokerage moving into, you know, what’s now a three and a half billion dollar organization. It’s not a it’s not a small job
Adam Vazquez 17:32
Jason Roberts 17:34
So I really had to shift my mindset, I had to put on a different pair of glasses. And even then, right, there were plenty of challenges where, you know, I had to shift from looking at, okay, how could this benefit adventure to? How can we, you know, grow the overall organization? And if Avenger, you know, plays a part in that outstanding, but I needed to be unbiased to that, which, of course, is tough, right, I care deeply about two people who hear this and continue to, you know, want nothing but success for our people. And even today, right, I still directly oversee the operations for Avengers. So my, you know, my path forward started with, there was a legacy in house group. And so that was a So traditionally, mode was an agent based model with kind of the small subset of in house operations. And so even just two years ago, that represented, you know, from just a profitability standpoint, you know, it was, you know, for sure, less than half of the business, far less. And today, it’s, you know, it’s far closer to that. But part of that was how do we look at these other operations? In prism? There was no, so for me, it was enlightening. It has got a lot of exposure to other types of operating models. So Avenger was your traditional cradle to grave brokerage. The in-house group was really the opposite of that; it was, you know, an operations hub. These were guys making flat salaries, just building relationships, you know, deep relationships with a few very large customers. But, you know, it had its pros and cons. And so looking at that, seeing where we could potentially either stratify the structure that was in place or, you know, the, amplify it, do you blow it up, do you? What do you look at because, again, this group of hard working people that have built this, but how do we continue to scale.
Adam Vazquez 19:51
As part of this bigger machine now as well, the $4 billion?
Jason Roberts 19:55
Yeah, a significantly bigger machine is far more complex. With the added complexity of a robust agent network that is as diverse as it, you know, you’ve got 200 agencies. And I think that the common misconception in our industry is what an agency is, you know, I think a lot of people think it’s a couple guys in their pajamas in the basement, you know, booking freight,
Adam Vazquez 20:24
I guess it can be. I’m not saying that
Jason Roberts 20:27
they’re all you know, in pajamas. But some of our agencies have five or six different offices with hundreds of employees. Sure, a well run machine. So that are highly diverse, that are in all modes of transportation that are full, multifaceted warehousing translated crosstalk, dredge International, intermodal, LTL parcel, every airfreight, all of it. So that was, for me , extremely educational and understanding how diverse, but the great part about that was always being able to see that entrepreneurial spirit that each of these folks have been other business owners, every single one of them are business owners, hustlers grind it out, Phil. And that was refreshing to see that, hey, you really achieved a lot of wealth for them themselves and their family are still very much
Adam Vazquez 21:26
hungry. So I want to get to that transition and how that goes. But I want to make sure I follow up on a few things you said earlier. Most importantly, number one, when you went to the sports barn, you had to go back to the office that day. Did you at least get jacked in that period?
Jason Roberts 21:43
Is that just an extra time they’re gone? Now, man, that’s the worst part. It was as I signed the paper. I mean, I mean, it’s like lying on the DOT sign on the dotted line. I got a phone call. timing couldn’t be more. Well, you know, hey, the good here, I’ll give them credit. You know, I was able to call them and I explained the situation. They did not hold me to that. You know, you’re that’s rare,
Adam Vazquez 22:09
especially with that era of Jim. You know, I agree.
Jason Roberts 22:13
I agree with him, but I give them credit there. Yeah. I hope that’s not why they’re going out of business. Yeah, maybe they did that too much. But yeah, I did not get jacked. It was a man. All right. And when I talk about an emotional roller coaster ride, that was, yeah, it was tough. It was
Adam Vazquez 22:34
more seriously, I guess, when do you think about the experience you had? Did that play into then? The humility and the willingness that you had? Some of it was pragmatism? Sure. But sounds like you really had to come in. And, you know, like you said, come in, with a sense of humility, and start from scratch and do these things that you’d already like? Do you think that played into it at all the experience with access?
Jason Roberts 23:03
Yeah, I think very, look, you know, my, my combined, you know, set of experiences have shaped who I am, you know, from, you know, from, I grew up, you know, pretty poor, to be honest, I’m thankful for that. I didn’t have a good relationship with my father. I’m thankful for, you know, my stepfather kind of had, you know, his issues as well growing up. I’m thankful for all of that, because it showed me that I wouldn’t be driven. Without that. In fact, I think a bigger challenge for myself is, of course, that I’m a father, I’ve got a couple small children, and congrats. One of the things, thank you. One of the things for me, is how do I make sure that my children have that drive and grit, you know, that’s always where you’re at odds, right? You want your kids to have everything, but I also want them to be well rounded and appreciate and understand what it takes to get those things and to understand how fortunate we are as a family compared to, you know, the rest of the world. But yes, I am thankful for that experience. And I’m not afraid to talk about it. I mean, clearly, ya know, it’s we know, when we bring our new folks and after the first couple of weeks, I’ll spend about an hour and a half with all that. I’ll tell them kind of my story. And I never don’t mention that, because I think yeah, I was a guy that got fired from his first job in logistics. But that was on me. I was fortunate that my boss’s boss recognized there was potential in me and took you know, I didn’t take that for granted. Yeah, so again, I think people do the right thing. People take so many things for granted. I still take things for granted. So it was those sorts of things and telling that story is a reminder to me of how fortunate I am and that but it’s also, I think, I hope that people see that. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to make a mistake. It’s okay to mess up. In fact, I think it’s critical to mess up. I don’t think that a good leader has made significant mistakes. And if you haven’t been, you know, you’re probably not the best version of a leader, you could be yet because I think understanding what it takes to overcome adversity is important. You know, it moves through your professional career. So yeah, I’m really thankful for it.
Adam Vazquez 25:47
I heard someone say, earlier today, that if you haven’t had someone upset at you, for some stance you’ve taken, you’re probably not standing up for anything of significance. I think what you just said is similar, if you haven’t found that, even if it feels in hindsight, like something that could have been avoidable, if you haven’t found that barrier when you’ve tried and failed, if I haven’t tried anything, you know, enough. So I think that’s a testament to you that you kept coming back. And I would say the other thing that stands out from your story is your adaptability. Like, I mean, you know, obviously, there was the sales side, and there was like, adapting to different levels and going back down and doing but, you know, just learning power that people don’t just learn power, I know, you’ve kind of just like, threw that in there. But that’s like a process and building out those dashboards and things like that. And then from now, what you’re doing, leading the organization and being a part of this much more, this much larger organization talk about that, like, you talked a little bit about the agency, but what has it been like working with agents? What has it been like going from, you know, kind of having your thumb on the pulse of everything that’s going on in 100? person, organization to I know, you still have oversight of that, but also you have this other responsibility to the larger business? How have you adapted in that
Jason Roberts 27:03
scenario? Yeah, so today, I oversee our truckload and our LTL product. And then I also have joint ownership and accountability of standing up our digital freight brokerage platform, which is very front of mine. So, you know, there are times where, you know, you sit at that, that, you know, senior leadership table at our corporate office, and sure, early on, yeah, you know, I’ve got people talking real fast, you got some finance gurus, thrown in some, some acronyms that, you know, maybe it’s been a while since I’ve had to listen to not that it was up, you know, a painful thing, but just that I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to So sure, there was absolutely scenarios where I would sit at the table and think, man, I’m gonna get challenged. This room is full of, you know, hundreds of years of experience, in totality, in all of these folks have highly focused positions, where mine has been kind of a generalist of so many things. And to be honest, really, also being under the leadership of a CEO who is different, in a good way, but different challenges regularly, you know, I could bring a scenario to the table, and instead of him giving me his feedback, he’ll say, what effect it has is always right. It’s never gonna be quick, yes, no, you know, that was good. That was bad. Well, what would you do the same? What would you do differently, not that anything needed to be changed, but just to be thinking about it that way. So again, you know, early on his directive, and direction, to me was to really think more about what the best use of my time would be doing it again, to your point, being in a position where you’re over 100 people, I would do what I felt needed to be done whatever that was, and if that meant rolling up my sleeves and covering loads to that day, just to show someone on the floor, that they weren’t doing it right, I wouldn’t do it. That’s not the best use of my time. Right. That’s the whole, you know, teaching people how to fish, you know, versus just, you know, casting the line. So learning about that marketizing my time recognizing that, again, what’s the greatest use of my time? And what can I peel off? What can I delegate and cascade that down to the team below me? It’s not without its challenges, right. And acquisition comes with changes, you know, significant changes most of the time. You know, there was a small amount of reduction in our staff, but it wasn’t major, you know, but since then we’ve had, you know, structural and organizational changes. And we’ve had to pivot right? At this point, I would imagine, particularly where we’re at in this market, if someone hasn’t pivoted at this point, then they are failing, you know. So, yeah, it’s been a great experience, but not without its challenges. You know, again, I was used to being very nimble, being part of a much larger organization, that’s far more impactful. There’s a ripple effect to making one quick decision that I have to be more mindful of. So it’s the little things, are you going to complain about something or you’re going to bring something to the table without a solution? You know, you’ll learn quickly not to do that. Sure. So there’s been plenty of humbling there to write. There’s people that have done this longer than me that do the job very well. And I would say, what hasn’t changed for me, I don’t think will ever change. And I hope that is one of the things that makes a difference in my career, is my genuine thirst for knowledge in this industry, because I believe, and always have believed, that the more that you learn, the greater value you’re going to be to your organization. And even as a broker, right, that starts with, oh, you’re doing van freight, you should learn flatbed, you should learn refrigeration. Now, you’re not a one, you’re not just a flatbed guy, you know how to operate all of those things, when you know, and even within systems, right. So that’s how that happened. Right? I was, I wanted to know what all our TMS could do for wheeling. You know, I didn’t just take the information that was given to me during my, you know, my whatever week training course, early on and just said, Yep, that’s what they told me to do. So that’s why I’m going to click this button here. There’s 30 buttons above me. I’m never going to look at all of those or wonder why or ask why. Because, but that was something different for me, right? I did ask why regularly I challenged myself like, why do we have these 30 buttons? What did they do? Could we be using these tools to make our operation more efficient? Yeah, but again, that kind of led down the path with power BRS, okay, well, this is where I will, I don’t want to not be. This is an effective tool. I should know how to do this. So I’m going to teach myself how to do this. Because we didn’t have anyone that could teach me that. Yeah, I was fortunate enough. I will add this because it’s important that I was fortunate, because my boss gave me that time. Yeah, to learn that, while I was at work, I know everyone doesn’t have that luxury. What I would say, though, is if there is something like that, that someone believes is going to add value, that they should sacrifice that short term commitment, because it is going to make them so much more valuable in the marketplace, internally, if that’s where they’re going to spend their career, or down the road if they exit that company. And I’ve always told everybody that works. The same thing, I want you to work here, I want you to be a part of this. But I also want you to be able to create value for yourself whatever that looks like, because the company will make pivots. It is naive to think that companies don’t have to pivot when the market changes as the company continues to evolve. You know, sometimes you’re a part of that. And sometimes you will look at it and say, Hey, this is no longer, you know, what I want to do? And I don’t. I’ll never have hard feelings over folks when that does happen. Yeah, I want to
Adam Vazquez 33:40
talk about pivots. Before we let you go. I know we’re getting close to time. But just to touch on that. I mean, I think you obviously showed without knowing the situation you obviously showed, I would imagine you earned the right to learn those tools. Through the work you had put in at your core function. You talked about going after the leftovers, the people who there was reason like so you at Imagine you had stacked some of those artifacts of effort and success up to where it was like, Okay, if he wants to learn this type of thing. That makes sense. I think it’s probably important to this part of the story of what you were doing. But you’ve mentioned a couple of times, the idea of pivoting, and we have been talking on this show a little bit about how to deal with the downturn, our supply chain companies should think about that. And we haven’t had anyone who is at the size and scale of what you’re thinking about as mode. So for a company of that size, how are you all thinking about how you are going to market differently, you know, changing anything in order to deal with a little bit of what we’re seeing economically.
Jason Roberts 34:50
I think it’s important to note that the company is PE backed right so we do not have some of the larger mindset of hey, we’re We’ll take market share, regardless of the consequences from a financial aspect. All that being said, Yes, I believe there is some strategic approach to try to keep market share if you can, in order to I mean, that’s actually I think that’s a philosophical debate. That’s always fun. You know, you’ll have your folks that say, No, make all the money that you can while you can, because as soon as the market turns your customer is going to turn them on. And yes, they’re my challenge to that would be, don’t pick that type of customer. And I do think that can be, you know, again, there are certain industry verticals that are more prone to that than others. So I think the good news is the strategy is not that different from a small brokerage. It is just, you know, there is an economy of scale there that we can afford, surely more so than a smaller company. But the difference becomes the last year has been capacity was the value prop, and that’s all it needed. Now, it is about added value, i.e. relationships matter. Absolutely Absolutely. So one, doubling down on the relationships that folks have is critical. I think that no matter the size of your company, everybody forgets to ask the right questions to their existing business, everybody, no one is immune to that. Almost nobody does more than 50% of, you know, a customer’s business almost most of the time. Brokers are doing one mode of service with that customer period. Now, again, as a small brokerage, I understand there are some limitations there. But have you asked, happy? If you’re only doing truckload Have you tried to move intermodal? Have you tried to move LTL? If those are all things that make your relationship with a customer stickier, I would look for the customers that have more difficult freight, I’ve always believed that there’s one. Those are a little more fun to deal with, from, you know, you’re not going to get bored trying to create a look for these do it, you know, so adventure early on, you know, hung its hat on, you know, high wide and heavy over dimensional freight. That was our bread and butter. Today, it’s a smaller number, because that’s how that works. Right? As soon as you scale van is where the, that’s where the volume is. So we’re, we’re having that space, do we still have a meaningful play on over dimensional freight? But finding customers that have you know, you know, requirements that may that may have some of the competition say No, thanks. Now, some again, there’s a line there, right? Sometimes there’s a reason, like, Hey, this is an eight stop load, and I’m going to pay you $1.50 a mile. That’s my right elbow, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna send it out to, you know, 200 carriers, right. So that’s the other thing that I would look at as a broker is, you know, do what have I quantified what the opportunity even is. And, you know, early on in your career, that’s not what you’re thinking about just thinking about, I just want the business. I don’t care where it comes from, I don’t care the size. But I do think there’s something to be said there. You know, if I’m getting put on a list, I would have the boldness to challenge that to a customer. I don’t want to be on that list. I don’t want to be on your list with 200. Carriers. That doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean no good. And, you know, good really tells me that they are they don’t value their partnership. You know, frankly, who cares? So I would challenge that and say, Listen, you know, I appreciate you putting me on that. But that wasn’t the intent of my call. I want to be your provider, I understand you may have some relationships with a few folks. And I’m fine. I’m fine, taking the tough rate, if that’s what I need to do to earn your business. But I want to create, you know, a full solution for you. So that’s the other thing that I would try to target is. So often, we think about the kind of that old salesy approach, well, you know, your first three shipments, I’ll give you a 20% reduction, and then we’ll do the you know, then we’ll do the real prices. I don’t think that’s healthy either. But I would try to go into a conversation and say, ” I understand, I may have to earn your business with that one low, but it isn’t my interest here. My interest is to create a real solution for you. So I’m going to come into the conversation with a customer, I’m going to ask, I’m going to do a little bit of homework to understand who I’m calling. Again, I think there’s a balance there. Right? You can bet the whole analysis by paralysis is real sales is a numbers game, no question about it. Do a little bit of research. There’s great tools out there today that we did not have when we first came into this. I wish we would have had some of the tools just from a funneling standpoint right. The information you can find today is incredible. We were getting on Google literally typing in Okay largest, you know, steel manufacturers in the United States, and they just went down the list right? Doing a little research, if you can take it a step further and find out where they’re shipping and receivers are. So to me, the greatest opportunity today in this market is derivative business. And I would say that ways, your shippers and receivers that aren’t your customer, you’ve already established credibility. You’ve been here, you’ve either picked up here or you’ve delivered here, why are you not calling them? The other is asking for referrals, people completely underestimate referrals. It’s the purest sale, and it’s the oldest sales tactic there is. And it’s our business people forget to ask their customers who they have good relationships with, for business, just like, I know, so many people in this circle. They know people in their circle two, they go to conferences that are their world, they also go from manufacturer to manufacturer, right? That’s no different. So the fact that we don’t spend enough time capitalizing on that, you know, is an area of opportunity.
Adam Vazquez 41:11
It’s great, it’s great, I think the two takeaways there are number one kinds of farming your existing land. And then number two, I mean, it’s an extension of it. But that referral piece of getting your fans getting the folks here that already know you to do the little bit of the listening with you. And sometimes that’s easy to overlook. Jason, this has been awesome, I appreciate you being so generous with your time and your story and the authenticity of your experience so far, and we just love getting to connect with you and be a part of that conversation now as well. If folks want to follow what you’re doing, what Avengers are doing, what modes are doing, how do they keep track of everything?
Jason Roberts 41:50
LinkedIn, no question. That’s where we put our content. So again, all three brands are on there, you know, you can look me up personally. Or you can look up mode global, that content is always going to be on there. And, you know, always, always happy to network with folks. You know, if I can provide value to someone, I’m happy to do that.
Adam Vazquez 42:12
Cool. We’ll link all that in the notes below. Appreciate you having you on Jason wants to catch up soon.
Carlton Riffel 42:18
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