Did you have a chance to attend our webinar last week, "Recruiter Sales Training: Better Conversations. Better Results."? 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 President of Brand Outcomes and presenter on the webinar, answers each of the questions we received in this Q&A-style blog post.
Question: How important is it to maintain relationships with operations with respect to needs and operational changes?
Answer: The question really boils down to, is it important that operations and recruiting are on the same team and not two different teams fighting two different battles? For many people reading this, they are going to say of course it is important to have a good relationship between operations and recruiting. Why don’t carriers have that type of team atmosphere? Because it may be an obvious answer, but I haven’t seen too many places that execute on that idea.
There are multiple ways that I could look at the need for a strong relationship between departments. My favorite area to start with a carrier is on the feedback loop from drivers to the office. There are a few common mistakes and the one directly related to this question is that operations and recruitment departments are not given the resources to make operational changes to address driver complaints. The biggest resource that is not provided is time. We expect our operations teams and recruiters to work their 50 hours a week and then also find time to receive feedback, research the impact on the organization, make a recommendation, deploy the solution, and maintain communication with all interested parties. Unless the leader of the company or department specifically creates a structure to enact change in operations, it will always be an afterthought. Recruitment and operations should be hand in hand in this process with additional support from finance, safety, IT, HR, etc.
This is how we would also build a strong relationship between the departments and give our recruiters amazing examples to share with potential drivers.
Question: Is there any research available that shows whether contact through email/ text is more effective than phone calls or vice versa?
Answer: In the age of cellphones, text is the number one form of communication. Do you ever not see a text that comes to your phone? The answer is pretty much no. I ignore or place phone calls all the time into voicemail. Now, my voicemail has a text function where I can read the voicemail which makes it more likely that I will see/hear the voicemail but texting is king in my life.
Question: What is a good rebuttal for drivers wanting local and we only have OTR?
Answer: I’ll give some examples but it really depends on the driver which means that you have to ask the questions necessary to understand the situation.
First, I need to understand if this driver has already been a local driver. Being a local driver is a very different experience than being over the road. If this driver has been local before and understands what being a local driver is like, then you won’t have much to change their mind.
So my first question is, “what is your experience with being a local driver?” If the driver says they have been driving local for the last few years, I would change the goal of my call. My goal is no longer to hire this driver because I don’t have local and he has already experienced that life. My goal now is to gain research on why he believes local is the only option and what benefits are there to OTR over local.
If the driver has not had experience driving local, then I have a chance. Now I bring out the stories of my OTR drivers that decided to go local and ended up coming back to OTR. Local is tough. Multiple stops, tight time frames, urban driving, and you still work 12-14 hours per day. Many of the OTR drivers like having the ability to flex their schedule and stop for coffee because they can make up the miles later. Some love the travel. Your goal is to have all the stories of drivers that prefer OTR and to explain that our drivers typically value travel, flexible schedules, higher pay, etc over being home for 10 hours and sleeping 8 of those hours. By hiring like-minded individuals we create a better team atmosphere and a better place to work. Either we need to agree on the same values or agree to disagree.
Question: What’s the best way to give status updates when there is no news to give?
Answer: Communication is always listed in the top 5 of driver complaints on national surveys. What it comes down to are expectations and promises. If you are talking about status updates with drivers loads, route changes, etc, then we have to create the expectations or ask for the expectations. Simply saying, I’d expect to have an answer for you in an hour which would be about 11:30 am. I’ll give you a call one way or another at 11:30. That creates clear expectations and no reason to get upset. If there isn’t a status update by 11:30, I would call the driver and say, “Calling you back on the status and unfortunately there is no update. I’ve tried this and this and haven’t gotten a response yet. If I don’t hear from them in the next 20 minutes, I’m going to be doing this.” I’m communicating that I’ve been trying and that I’m ready to escalate it to the next level if I can’t get you an answer. To keep track of these promises, I put a task in my calendar that alerts me when I need to get back with someone.
Question: At what point do I stop following up with a driver that I had made contact with, but have not heard from in a while?
Answer: My opinion is never. First, never ever let a driver off the hook unless you already agree upon a scheduled time to reconnect. I might ask a driver when they want to make a decision on their next place to work for? If they say by next week, I’ll say “well it makes sense for you and me to touch base on Friday”. “Does the morning or afternoon usually work better for you?” “Ok, how about I give you a call at 10am on Friday?”
Then when I call back I get to say, “I’m giving you a call just like I promised I would.” If I get a voicemail, then I will tell them I promise to try to reconnect on (date and time).
The driver has to tell me to stop contacting them for me to stop. Now, I will schedule these contacts out so I’m not a pest every day and eventually I would go into sending messages like changes we are making in operations or the type of feedback we are getting from new drives. There is plenty of content that I can pull from in our day to day operations to have an excuse to send a message out.
Don’t be lazy and don’t be scared. If you stop contacting that potential driver, you are wasting every single dollar the company spent to get that driver to contact us. I’d also suggest going through the recruiter sales training program (RecruiterSalesTraining.com) because there was a disconnect between you and the potential driver which needs to be figured out.
Question: How do you stop sounding robotic?
Answer: This is an interesting question because we had this question come up a lot when we talked about writing scripts in the sales training course. If we are writing scripts, how do we not sound like we are reading from a script? First, the script has to be your script. It can cover the same information that others would talk about but you need to write it in your own voice. Think about the actors in a movie. They don’t sound robotic or like they are reading from a script (the good ones at least).
Another suggestion is that you need to be asking a lot more questions and specific questions that will give you insight into how the driver views areas that might cause friction. If you are asking questions and listening more, you are really in control of the conversation and you can’t sound like a robot when you are listening.
Lastly, do some role-playing with your team. I know it will seem awkward at first but it gets better and easier.
Question: How can I take care of drivers that contact us in off hours?
Answer: One suggestion was to use a feature where a driver can schedule a time to talk to a recruiter. I use Calendly which does offer a free version. It is a simple link like Calendly.com/chendricks which allows that person to schedule a time.
Question: How do you recommend leaving a voicemail?
Answer: Voicemail is a fact of life. It seems that close to ¾ of our calls will go to voicemail. First of all, I would make several attempts before leaving a voicemail but when you only get through a smaller percentage of the time, we need to take advantage of voicemail when it comes up.
First of all, in marketing we always talk about how many “touches” it takes to get a prospect to contact us. We might expect someone to see an ad or hear our names 7 – 10 times before they reach out. Voicemail is just one more of those touches in the journey of getting a new hire.
You also need to plan for the voicemail because the worst time to think about what you are going to say is when you need to say it.
Pick one main driver issue that seems to be your best sales tool of why drivers should come to you and use that in the voicemail.
Accept the fact that it will take multiple messages to get a callback. This is just one voicemail in a series of drip marketing voicemail messages! Change the driver issue you talk about in each one.
Ask for a callback and tell them you will follow up again.
Leave your number at a slow pace so they can write it down if they want to.
Use some humor or guilt if you haven’t received a response after a few messages. Increase the pure human side of you. “Maybe I’ve earned a call back just based on perseverance alone!”
Question: Can you explain the speed of truck ratio that you used in the webinar?
Answer: So, the example we used is that our trucks are governed to 63mph versus another company that was at 65mph. Because this is a pay concern for the drivers, we want to calculate how many fewer miles might we get at 63mph.
I take 63 divided by 65 and get 3%. So my miles (aka pay) will drop by 3%.
However, that is only if I was driving at top speed 100% of the time. In this example, the driver admitted that only about 20% of the time would be at top speed.
So .03 (aka 3%) multiplied by .2 (aka 20%) is .006 (aka.6%) So the governing speed is really only going to reduce my miles by less than 1%.
Even more telling is that my operations department plans the trips at 55mph which means the driver is probably just going to get to their destination earlier and not really get any more miles.
So when we look at our pay package versus the competitor, is our pay better than .6%? If it is, then our governed speed has no effect on the drivers pay.
This is an example of needing to take a driver through the whole puzzle so they can see it differently. Without this exercise, a driver will always think they are getting paid less than what they could be making.
Question: What is the cost of health insurance?
Answer: This is an area that I’m hoping we will be able to help with. My company is under an association health plan. This means our employees and employees of the other companies in the association go under one risk pool for the insurance company, and this results in lower insurance rates. Each company still gets to decide the level of insurance, contribution amounts, etc but the savings have been good. On average our association is saving between $1,000 and $1,500 per employee per year. We are in the middle of looking at attempting this for the trucking industry. If you have any interest in learning more, please email me at email@example.com. We will have a webinar on this subject in the future.
The final response
It doesn’t matter if it is cameras in the truck, speed, home time, type of truck, etc. The process is the same for anything. You want to ask a question about the driver’s past experience with any of these potential friction points. First, start with trying to understand what their assumptions and hidden feelings are surrounding the topic. Then express your empathy and how you understand what they told you and ask for permission to talk about the philosophy of how you do business and how it benefits the driver. In the end, we can’t give the best of every possible situation, so we need to make sure that what we value as a company aligns with what the driver values. That is how we make sure the driver is set up for long term employment instead of just getting someone in the seat of the truck.
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