Webinar Q&A: Hire More Drivers by Training Your Recruiters in Sales

Did you have a chance to attend our webinar last week, "Hire More Drivers by Training Your Recruiters in Sales"? We received more questions than we had time to answer in the allotted time frame, so we've answered them below.  

Chad Hendricks, host of the “Recruit and Retain: Trucking Edition” podcast and Vice President of Brand Outcomes and presenter on the webinar, answers each of the questions we received in this Q&A-style blog post. Whether or not you were able to attend, these questions regarding how innovative carriers can train recruiters in sales best practices and strategies to hire more drivers will come in handy. By changing the conversation from ‘signing a driver’ to ‘closing a deal’, recruiters can be more engaging, confident, and results-driven.

Question: Can we get a copy of the slides from the webinar?

Answer: The webinar is now available on-demand and can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here

Question: Drivers have "walk away points". For example, Bobtail-only park at home versus park at terminal for over the road positions. If your position doesn't or can't meet this "walk away point", what kinds of sales techniques can overcome this? Not meeting a walk away point is why drivers "ghost".

Answer: To prepare for many of these situations, it’s important to ask certain questions.  Why is a Bobtail allowed to park at home but OTR has to park at the terminal? There are business reasons for this, but has it ever been explained to the drivers upfront?

Once you have those reasons, it’s important to figure out how this benefits a driver.  This might be a mathematical problem in which X amount of miles driven out of route costs $Y dollars. If your company had to pay for that extra fuel and maintenance, then it must make up that cost somehow.

So does this benefit the driver in any way? Does the company make other driver beneficial decisions that make up for this issue and put you ahead of the competition in those areas?  

Try to relate to the driver about times when they aren’t getting paid. Talk about your detention policies and break down pay and relate it to how it feels when you are working but not getting paid.

“As a company, we are very thoughtful about times when people aren’t getting paid. What has been your experience with bringing your truck home?”

Either they always brought it to a terminal or they could bring it home. If they brought it home, then we have to address this.  

“Just as it is for you, it is a problem when you aren’t getting paid when you are in fact working. Is it alright if I explain to you why our company requires the trucks to come back to the terminal when you are an OTR driver and also explain how this affects your pay?”

The answer is that you decided to have better pay on detention/break down, but you couldn’t do that while also covering the fuel and maintenance costs of the deadhead miles to every driver’s house.  

In the end, this is a process. Be sure to think through these questions: What is the problem? What are the reasons for the company making those decisions? How does it benefit the driver? How do you show that you understand the world through their eyes? Does it require some type of compromise?

Question: Any tips for recruiting Owner Operators?

Answer:  Marketing. When I did a search on Google for “owner operator positions”, I saw one thing in common: the only message was pay. When the only message is pay, there is no differentiation. Then I looked at those Facebook pages and I consistently saw job opening postings, referral program mentions, generic messages about holidays, and generic “we like truckers” images.

I then went to their websites and saw nothing that stood out. The point of that research was to show that everything I found was about the company and there was no real value to the driver. Therefore, all of the companies looked alike. If your messaging can provide value to the drivers or content that truly shows you understand their world, you will be able to stand out.

Sales Training. Why do your current drivers like working for you? The drivers that have been around for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 5+ years should be able to tell you why they are enjoying their job or why they are staying.  

Ask them about the common complaints that potential drivers have about your company. Ask them why that complaint is not a big enough reason to leave. Are there other benefits that offset the complaint? Can you explain the complaint in a way that is actually a benefit to a driver?  

In the end, the majority of drivers that work for you might value x, y and z higher than the complaints of a, b, and c. So you will want to make sure that a potential driver values those attributes in the same order.

Question: When would the recruiting/sales training be made available and how can we get access to it?

Answer: As of February 4th, the videos are in editing and are going through final production. That effort will take a few more weeks to complete and we also want to include some valuable bonus content in the course. The goal is April Fool’s Day for availability (and that isn’t a joke!) We will be sending out an email when it is officially available.

Question: How can I train someone who sounds like a script and isn't excited about recruiting?

Answer: There are a few potential opportunities that I see with someone not being excited about recruiting. First, the person might not be excited because they don’t see a path to success. If there is a lack of training and a lack of celebrating wins, can you blame someone for not being excited? Second, are you are good leader?  Have you had leadership training or a mentor that showed you what it means to be a good leader?

Now I’m going to assume that you are a great leader, so what you are really asking for is some concrete steps to helping someone.  Scripts have to be written in each person’s own style. I would create a training document that outlines what we want and the general message we are aiming for but let the person write their own script.  When you write your own script, it will sound more natural. In addition to that, have your people role play and practice. I know it will be awkward for the first month but then one day it won’t be awkward at all and everyone will be so much better for it.  Movies are scripted but they don’t sound like a script. Practice, memorize, re write, and repeat.

If you are using this tool 10-15 times a day, 50-75 times a week, 2500-3750 times year, wouldn’t you want to sharpen it. 

Question: What is your podcast again?

Answer: Recruit and Retain: Trucking Edition. You can find it on almost every podcast platform like Stitcher, Google Play, Castbox, iTunes, etc. It is also available at brandoutcomes.com/podcast.

Question: Do you have any workshops on marketing strategies?

Answer: I’m glad you asked! We are just at the beginning of putting those details together.

Question: How do you handle drivers who claim to be told something in recruiting and get to orientation and say, “You told me X”. For example: you told me I would make $3k a week no matter what. Clearly we would not make this kind of statement.

Answer: It’s a best practice to follow up each call with an email about what you talked about. This is common practice in business meetings, but we fail to do this in recruiting. This is just one more way to stand out from other recruiters and have a good reason for one more touch point with the driver.

Question: What if our drivers only want to work Monday through Friday and morning shift?

Answer: Sometimes it’s impossible to accommodate or find common ground with a driver, which is why it’s critical to have a process in place for these situations. One process is to have the driver rank different attributes of the job, such as have him or her order attributes from most important to least important. If they rank Monday through Friday morning shift as most important, then that might be a deal breaker.   

However, there are plenty of boundaries that I set for myself that I break for the right value of something else. Is that attribute really a non negotiable or is it a preference? For example, I have decided I will not travel on Sundays, but I traveled on 9 Sundays last year. It is not really a non negotiable for me because for the right price, I am willing to travel on Sundays.  

“I can’t give you Monday through Friday but because of the fact that you said x, y, z, I think that you value a, b, and c more. Which would you prefer?”

Question: Tips for Temp/Placement agencies?

Answer: There are some good reasons for drivers to work through a placement agency. I hope you believe it too.  

“What is your experience working with a placement agency?”   None, really.

“Would it help if I explained how all of this works and the specific benefits to you?” Yes, it would.

Now you have permission to give them the reasons that benefit the driver.

Question: We are having so much trouble with getting applicants to even fill out the application. What do you suggest?

Answer: First, are you using a short form to get at least the contact information? Second, do you have a drip marketing campaign to continue to nurture those leads?  Third, does your drip marketing campaign give valuable information to the driver and not just talk about your company? Fourth, do you have sales training to help your recruiters increase their close ratio of getting an application? Fifth, is your marketing messages only about job openings and not giving value to the audience?

One of the first steps in the process is about building rapport and trust with the person.  One more out-of-the-box idea is to show empathy by starting with a rant. For example, if you have a driver contact you through Facebook messenger (which you should use by the way), ask them a question about something that would be a problem for a driver but your company has a solution for.  

  • “I’m wondering what your pay is?”

  • “How many years have you been driving and what part of the country are you looking for?

  • “I’ve been talking to a lot of drivers that are getting promised so many miles a week but then don’t end up getting those miles? I can’t believe people can’t promise a certain amount of miles and I would be mad if that was me. Are you seeing that as a driver?”

If your recruiters take the time to explain how miles will fluctuate and be lower right now because it is first quarter, they can talk to this driver about how many miles will realistically happen in different parts of the year.

Question: At what point would you suggest to quit pushing when you are speaking with a potential driver? Half of our fleet is upgraded to 2018 Freightliners and the other half are 2007 Internationals. I have to put new drivers in the old equipment and when they find that out, they aren't too excited. Along with that, they also get a $.05 decrease when we are able to put them in a new truck. Any tips?

Answer: I would talk about how it’s important for drivers to be able to make financial decision for themselves. I’m not sure how your pay, benefits, and policies stand up to competition, but hopefully using 2007 assets has been a money saver and not a maintenance budget nightmare. Switch the mindset to a positive mindset and think about it as a $.05 increase for choosing an older truck.  Maybe you are able to give more to your drivers because of those decisions or perhaps your maintenance department is top notch.

Consider asking, “What has been your experience with truck repairs in your previous position?”

“How much decision making power have you had at your previous carrier?” None.

“There are certain areas in which we like to give drivers a choice so that they can decide on things like equipment and pay.  Can I share those with you so you can know what else is in your control?” Absolutely.

As a business, we’ve decide to provide late model trucks as well as older trucks.  As you know with buying a vehicle, it is much more expensive to buy a brand new vehicle than buying a used vehicle after the depreciation gets calculated.  It’s the same for trucks and so we wanted to give drivers the option to make .05 more per mile by taking an older truck but there are always drivers who would opt in for the 2018 Freightliner instead of taking the bonus.  Which would you prefer, the higher CPM or the newer truck?

Question: As a 3rd party recruiter, how do you stop a driver from ghosting a recruiter once you submit the application to the carrier and the driver starts talking to the carrier?

Answer: Get permission from the driver to follow up at different stages. Tell the driver that you understand that there are plenty of life circumstances and logical reasons why this carrier might not work out. Consider phrasing it like this:

“When are you talking to the recruiter there? Well then, I think it makes sense for us to talk after that call on Friday to go through their offer and discuss what you heard. My goal is to make sure you get as close to ideal of a job as you can.  What time on Friday are you talking? Ok, let’s talk at 1pm on Friday to see if that is the route you want to go.”
I’m getting permission to follow up which then let’s me call them and say, “Just like I promised, I’m giving you a call and want to find out what your thoughts are on this particular carrier.”

Also, get the recruiters you’re helping to take some type of sales training process. Your success is based on their success..

Question: How do you promote local route vs. over the road?

Answer: People are different in their preferences and what they value. Your job is to find out what the compromise is if a driver chooses OTR over local or vice versa. Only then can you explore those differences with the driver to make sure they really want what they say. Usually there is a pay trade off for a local position versus OTR. At some point, you should be able to say “Because of that fact that you said, I would recommend…”   

Also, continue to promote to your company drivers that they can take another position in the company if their life circumstances change. I hear it all the time that an OTR driver leaves a company to take a local job even though his former carrier had that as an option as well.

Stay tuned for more upcoming webinars, as well as other important recruiting and retention related topics from DriverReach's blog.  


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