A Freight Sales Masterclass with MoLo Co-Founder Stephan Mathis
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In this episode, Blythe discusses the art of freight sales with 15-year industry veteran and former MoLo cofounder, Stephan Mathis. He shares tips on building trust and long-term partnerships, overcoming adversity to strengthen relationships, leveraging storytelling and reviews to stand out, and developing a personal brand on LinkedIn, as well as providing more invaluable advice for new and experienced brokers alike.  Overall, this episode serves as a masterclass on setting a brokerage up for long-term success!




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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI logistics and I am your host. Blythe Brumleve, I am happy to welcome in brand new guest to the show, and that's Stephan Mathis. He is a former co-founder of MoLo You've probably heard of them and now he is a current free agent. So we are going to be talking all about sales marketing yourself, entrepreneurial journey within the freight broker business and what the horizon sort of looks like in the future, and some sales and marketing tips for those brokers, if you were to get started today. So, Stephan, welcome to the show.

Stephan Mathis: 0:43

Yes, thanks for having me. I've been a big fan of watching you from afar and it's cool to be on an episode, heck yeah, awesome.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:51

Well, thank you so much. I was actually just listening to. To give the audience a little bit of background, we officially met in Nate Shutes. He has the ballast group, which is for logistics founders fantastic group. Go check out their website in case you are a logistics founder or maybe interested in it, and it's a great community. It's really like a safe space to sort of share our struggles and our wins and achievements and things like that, but mostly struggles. But, that's where we met. We got connected and had to get you on the show and before you know, I have you on. I was listening to your interview on the real I'm sorry, I'm going to real freight talk podcast, which is a I don't want to say a fairly new podcast, but kind of is. I think there are about 30 episodes in which is it was great stuff, great conversation, and during your, when you were explaining your background a little bit, I thought it was funny that for the overwhelming majority of us, when we get into freight, we are we just do it by happenstance or we have a family member that's already working in the business, and that was the same for you, right?

Stephan Mathis: 1:55

Yeah, and I mean I think that's fun, like some people go to college for it, they study supply chain or whatnot. For me I just stumbled into it accidentally. And then my family lineage actually got into it too. My younger sister had worked in MoLo for a little while, and so did my cousin Miles. He's a spot freight in Indianapolis. But, like it's just, it spirals into like you, you didn't know about it before, and then eventually your friends and like what's this? And everyone starts like that's cool, like I'm into that, like I'll try that career out, and so, yeah, I wasn't expecting to do 13 years in brokerage, but here I am.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:32

And so for. Did you join Coyote? So you were part of the, the initial Coyote team or the early days before UPS, you know, acquired them, but did you work at any other freight positions before that, or Coyote was your first gig?

Stephan Mathis: 2:48

Coyote was my first one. Before that I was a valet manager at a country club and parking cars and shaking hands with members. That's what I did and I got my first interview at Coyote. I think I was 22, maybe 23 and saw the fun vibes of a brokerage and all the energy and I'm like this I could. I could do this Like let's, let's sell some some freight. I didn't even know what. The most I knew about a truck was that it had 18 wheels, like that was it. I had no idea what a broker was. I thought everything was. Everybody owned their trucks. So yeah, looking back on it, so what?

Blythe Brumleve: 3:25

did that, I guess that initial process look like? Like how you're, you're, you're going from being a valet manager and you're starting the early days with Coyote. You have no idea about the, the industry, so what does that, I guess, sort of that training process look like to get familiar with the industry in order to be able to to sell it effectively?

Stephan Mathis: 3:42

Yeah, so it was in 2011 and at that time Coyote was was a rising star. I think CH was a big, big on the scene back then. Echo command there was a few other bigger players that TQL and Coyote was was the the hot new startup to work at in Chicago. Everybody wanted to work there. Day one, you get into a classroom style training program with 20 other kids that are fresh out of college and it is information overload of freight terms, carrier, customer, everything it was. I felt like I was, yeah, like almost in, like a study hall, like of every day you, you went there eight to five, learning freight terminology and just getting trained to be, to be on the floor.

Blythe Brumleve: 4:38

So how give us a sense of like? How big was Coyote? At that point? You mentioned that it's. You know, it's the startup that everybody wanted to go work for. I remember working in a brokerage and I was an executive assistant and when I was tasked with redoing our website, I was sent the Coyote website in order to say just do this. And here I am. I have no idea what I'm doing, but a lot of our early marketing strategy was based off Coyote.

Stephan Mathis: 5:04

Yeah, I don't want to misspeak. I was an entry level employee. I would assume it was pre being a billion dollar company at that point. But you know, I think they had just gone through a logo change. They switched from Lake Forest to to downtown Chicago and and Logan Square. But I remember the year after that the market took off and they they had a hiring spree of like 500 people. So that was like whoa, we could actually grow this thing and and seeing, seeing the opportunities, like it's exciting when you're part of a company that's like wait, this thing's going to take off, like that energy. You want to be a part of that and it makes you feel good that you picked the right place to work too.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:46

And so when you're you're going through all of this training process what for a lot of training programs, I think TQL in particular they, they almost over train you and throw everything at you in order to sort of wash out the week and keep the strong. At what moment, when you're going through this training process, or maybe even work, starting to work in the job, did you say this is something I could actually stick with for a while?

Stephan Mathis: 6:11

Yeah, good question. I actually struggled with the training program, just to be honest, because it was a lot of information overload and tests and all and I'm like, okay, like I'm not the greatest test taker, but I'm a kind of I can figure things out as I go when I get in the mix and that's when I usually do my best work. So, but, man, can you repeat the question? I've I lost?

Blythe Brumleve: 6:36

Sure. So I guess you know what was that catalyst moment that you were going to say I'm staying here, I'm made for this.

Stephan Mathis: 6:43

The relationship piece of being a carrier sales rep. Once I hit what's called Hop-Hot, where you graduate from training I I got through it, but you go through Hop-Hot where you learn how to how to hit the phones and talk to carriers and book freight for about eight weeks. And my relationship customer service background being able to talk to members at the country club as a pizza delivery guy back when I was 18, 19 years old so just being able to like be personable with people allowed me my personality to come out on the phone. So it became more natural to like be doing the work versus like learning the work, like I learned by doing, which I would say most people probably do, but some people love to like see it, read it and like remember it. And I'm more of a like give me the phone, like I'll figure this thing out. So I remember talking to carriers and Hop-Hot and like being able to like make relationships really quickly and build trust and, if any, if you work in this industry long enough, you know that you're only as good as your name and and trust in how you treat people. I didn't know that as a 22 year old that I needed that, but that was the attribute, the attribute that allowed me to build strong relationships and become an excellent carousels rep. I did refrigerated sales at a coyote for five and a half years. At one point I mean some of the top guys we still argue about it today who was who was running the most reefer freight? I think I had number one for a year or so, but someone else. Someone else will tell me that they were the best rep, but I don't know. I think I had it, had it for a little while.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:23

So what was one part of the process that I've always been fascinated with is is the initial outreach in order to get a customer. Does that look? Is it just repeated phone calls, you know? Are you pulling their email off, zoom info, just hoping to sort of break the ice with them? What does that sort of initial contact to building a relationship with a customer look like?

Stephan Mathis: 8:48

Well, I would say I learned most of that at MoLo. So coyote I just to clarify, I did all carrier there. I didn't do any customer exposure at all. I was super raw at MoLo when we initially started. I actually was selected to be a part of MoLo with my carrier acumen to be able to help build our carrier network out. But I had a little pit stop between coyote and MoLo where I had landed a customer and gotten one onboarded and so I kind of understood at least the process. And when we got to MoLo I shifted quickly to going straight customer because we needed a few customers to get launched. Right Like when you start a brokerage, like it doesn't matter who's doing the work you're doing, if you don't have a customer to give you loads, like you're, you're not doing anything. So I had a couple of relationships to start MoLo and then I we all kind of made a decision like hey, we got to divide and conquer from the early, early days and so I went full blown customer. I didn't know everything perfectly on how to land new shippers because I never was trained on it, right Like, I just did carrier sales, which is a lot more learn on the on the go. But what I realized was that if I could mirror my same type of relationship mentality with carriers and make a customer comfortable, wanting to work with me and bet on me it doesn't matter if I don't say it right or email it right I can get them to trust me as their sales rep and make them feel comfortable and giving and giving us a shot. And so, again, because I wasn't polished in like the perfect strategy, I was like I'm going to be relatable and like, let this person get to know me and I'm going to be vulnerable. I might even say, hey, I'm new to customer sales, this is a new venture for me, but I took care of my carriers better than anybody. And if they're the ones that are hauling your freight and if they trusted me and I shipped 600 truckloads a month, all refrigerated, chances are I could probably figure out how to move your freight as a customer sales rep Right, like, and so I would always use whatever I could to you know, lever tools I had in the chest to to land the customer. And that was like you start figuring out what's working, what's not. Trial and error, you make dumb mistakes, you say stupid things, but eventually you start getting in a rhythm of like customers are responding to such and such. They don't like these things, and you do less of what doesn't work and more of what works. Right? That was my first year and a half, two years at MoLo.

Blythe Brumleve: 11:31

And so take me, let's let's back it up a little bit to, I guess, the, the other catalyst of of leaving Coyote in order to co-found MoLo. What does that process look like? Was it, you know, a decision that you came to over time, or was it, you know, sort of you know, I'm going to do this and I'm going to do it next month.

Stephan Mathis: 11:53

No, yeah, good question. I've always been someone that looks at my life or my career as am I still growing or have I reached my like peak and I can't go any higher here? And so when I got to what I consider the highest level of of carrier sales, I was like I'm not learning anything else more here. I need to go challenge myself to do something else. And so I I left right around the UPS acquisition time. Um, one, I I felt like maybe the company might change and become a little bit more corporatey and I loved the like privately held, like we get to do our own thing here, and I didn't want the changes to affect how I was already doing my job. But two, I was like if I'm ever going to bet on myself and grow, I got to leave. And so I had a small pit stop at a very small brokerage Um, I don't even know if they're in business anymore. So this day, but it was like the first time that I've truly bet on myself. It was like I'm going to take what I've learned and see if I can do something bigger. Um, and by doing taking that leap of faith, I became a free agent and that's how I found the MoLo opportunity because, um, so MoLo was founded by Andrew Silver and, um, matt Volgrich. They're like friends from Lake Forest Jeff Silver, andrew Silver, everybody kind of knows that story a little bit. And so, because I was outside the walls of coyote I was, I was I found the opportunity. Andrew had reached out to me. I was like I think you would be a good fit to be one of our first few employees on at MoLo. Like, would you want to jump on the ship with us? And so I was like, yeah, I'm in. What do you want? And he explained like you wanted to make this a thing a big, a big, you know, big company. We're going to build it out. And I remember being, I remember standing in my kitchen in Chicago I had an opportunity to work at Amazon freight. Um, I think I was courting Uber freight at the time and one other company in the suburbs, and then I had no, we didn't have a name. It was just we're going to build a brokerage, you want to be a part of it? I was like, yeah, I'll do it. And I just jumped on it. So that's how I found MoLo, but it was more. I think everything happens for a reason, to be honest.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:14

So it's so when you are entertaining these other offers. I mean, I imagine this is also the days where, like, a social media is kind of in its early infancy. How are you building these relationships with some of these outsiders at other brokerages in order to start up a new one, is it? You know? Are you keeping tabs with each other on social media? Is it kind of just word of mouth, like what? What does that I guess early digital networking look like?

Stephan Mathis: 14:41

So there, I think other people relate to this but like Coyote had this like vibe of, a lot of companies were stealing Coyote employees. Like they wanted, like oh man, like they had so much growth, so former Coyotes would go to another company and then they would start hiring more of them. And so this was around 2016, 2017. And I think at that point, social media was definitely taken off. It wasn't where it is today, but you know recruiters right, like they would reach out to you on LinkedIn or seeing what, what you want to do next, or, based on your experience, you might be a good fit for X. So some of those offers came there, but some of it was like I saw someone that I knew at Coyote who maybe he's working at a different company, and I was like, oh okay, so tell me about that. Why did you go there? Or like, do you like it there? Like you're trying to find your next home. But for me, there was a little bit of I like the fear of the unknown and I'm also scared of it. So there's like jumping and the oh shit moment, like man. So I decided to risk it all and go to startup. We don't have anything, we don't have a name, we don't have an office, there's nothing. But this sounds more fun. And I remember saying to myself, like in three years, if this doesn't work, I can go take one of those other jobs. I have enough experience, so why don't I bet on myself and jump on the unknown? And so that's why I went to MoLo.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:09

Yeah, it's definitely. The entrepreneurial mindset is strong with you and so you know, as you're. You know, looking around the room, I guess, as the MoLo is starting to get built, what does I guess sort of the team structure look like? You know, I imagine everyone's wearing a ton of hats and doing all of the things, and I guess how does that start and then evolve from there?

Stephan Mathis: 16:34

Yeah, I mean picture starting thinking of how to start a company from scratch, like you don't have the systems, you don't have the processes, nobody knows the right thing to be doing at the right time. But there's a collective sense of like, hey, we're gonna build this company and we need we know kind of like what you need to do, but you don't know the order of things you need to do it in. You need to get a debt license, you need to get computers, desks. You know you gotta have credit and all the like requirements to get a company running. But yeah, we were wrong. We didn't know everything perfectly. Me, matt and Will for the first year were kind of running point on on MoLo. Matt had a really strong business acumen from his days at IBM supply chain. Will and I had worked at Coyote together, so we were kind of the more you know hustle, the freight type type guys like get, get everything, whatever it takes to get that done. And then there were several other really important early MoLo employees that came over and jumped on board we had Emily Madden was in operations. Ricky Cabrado worked in as one of our first carry sales reps, blake McClimance he's at RFX now. He was, I think employee number five or six and he booked freight and did a bunch of things worth a ton of hats. But really there is no right or wrong way to do it. When you're starting from not having a script, you just assemble enough like hustle and bustle type people that we're gonna do this thing and we're gonna figure it out. And that was most of it. I remember wearing several different hats, answering the phones, cutting com checks and nights interviewing, buying the supplies for the office is building tables, hanging TVs, tech guy, like you do everything in the beginning. Now, hindsight you learn you could probably have done it way differently and better and more efficient. Right, like you, obviously you always learn from your mistakes. But part of the hustle and bustle and that's like makes, that's what makes it fun, like you don't know and you're just gonna go forward. And as you get successes then you start like rinsing and repeating or figuring out what works, what doesn't work. But eventually we got to a point. I think a few months in we were like okay, we kind of have like somewhat of a rhythm. We have a few customers, we're moving some freight. We need to divide and conquer like who's gonna do what, and that's kind of where I we had a discussion. It was like hey, we think you could be really good at customer sales. Why don't you go be the first customer sales rep? And so I took that on and had to learn it and had to sell a brand that wasn't established in the industry at the time. There was 18,000 brokerages and I'm sure a newer brokerage now, or you know someone's been open for two years. We went through the same process of like they don't even know who you are. You're reaching out. They're like, yeah, we have plenty of carriers, we don't need you. Or you've only been in business for one year. Why would we work with you? Like, we've never heard of you. All of that like we had to fight through that and sell through why we were gonna be different, competing against the household names, right like, and that's in and of itself being able to sell when you're not in a established brand is very challenging. So I can relate to anyone who's in the early stages of like how, the challenges of, and then thinking about the market even today it's a down market, so finding a way to get customers to give you some attention. But we again, we went through all of those phases, MoLo wasn't like a perfect company that we had everything you know. We ran a script and it was like zero to six hundred million dollars.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:15

Like we, we had our mistakes, but we did a lot of things right, I think too so I mean, clearly you did a lot of things right, but but I'm more curious as to how you sort of it was almost like the, the brick by brick, you know, comparison of building up those customers how did you make a customer or, I guess, help a customer trust you when you're relatively unknown?

Stephan Mathis: 20:42

yeah, great question. So we sold against what customers hate about brokerages and so we pretty much set up MoLo's philosophy around everything that people hate about brokerages and we were gonna do the opposite. And so that means like accepting all our freight, never changing rates, treating our carriers great, you know, always following through on our commitments, whereas, like at that time, like you could, their larger brokerages could kind of get away with some of that stuff if, like they've been in a network for a long time for a shipper and they our household name, like they could change rates or this or that. And we didn't. We were like we have to do things better than everybody and like do it to an A plus level if we want to compete with these larger brokerages. So we started putting out that type of energy out into the world. Now, granted, what is that sustainable forever? No, it's not. It's not sustainable forever to be keeping every single customer in the industry happy at all, given times like you're gonna go nuts doing that. But there was a period where shippers were really frustrated with the level of service that they were get they were getting from from brokerages, and so we were like why don't we be that just the anti broker and be the one that does everything by the book, and that type of energy took us to year five, probably, honestly, like until this day, we still do everything by the book. But now you kind of understand the customers expectations and how they play the game and, like you have relationships where you know shippers want you to come back and change rates. If it's like you're, you're gonna be in the right. Like it's a little bit more different now, whereas before it was more black and white, so we were able to use that to our advantage for sure are you in freight sales with the book of business, looking for a new home?

Blythe Brumleve: 22:35

or perhaps you're afraid agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the freight agent trenches, sponsored by SPI logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. And what better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SPI? Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit SPI3PLcom. Are you a broker, ready to level up your business? Well, I've got a game changer of a solution for you because, let's face it, your TMS choice can make or break your company, and that's where having the right ally becomes key to success. Meet TIE Software, an all-in-one platform with user-friendly automation that makes your day-to-day operations smoother and smarter. Whether you're running a big brokerage or a startup, tie's got your back through every phase of your domestic freight Gear up because your logistics journey is about to get a serious upgrade. Experience it now by heading over to tie-softwarecom for a demo. And so you have this history of carrier sales. You evolve it into customer sales and it's just you doing the customer sales initially. When was that moment when you started to add more members to the customer sales team, and what did that look like? You'd gone through rigorous training over at Coyote, so I guess maybe one of the lessons that you learned there that you were starting to bring into MoLo as you guys were growing.

Stephan Mathis: 24:27

Yeah, and I'll clarify there, I wasn't the only customer sales rep, we had others. It was one of those things where everybody sells in the beginning, if you're starting a company from the ground up. If you had access to someone who was at a shipper that could potentially give us freight. You're on the phone with them. It's your brother's cousin's mom who works at CDW who could get you a combo with a shipper. You're taking that call and your title might not be customer sales manager, but you're going to figure out a way to get that in the hands, to somehow get freight. So we all wore that it wasn't by me by any means, but I was one of the first ones to say I'm going the enterprise sales customer route and I think Andrew had come on after I think a year later, and he had a ton of customer sales experience running offices at Coyote and just being exposed to it on a high level there. That also put it through fuel on the fire too, with his inextensive customer sales background that allowed us to get even more of the brand and culture and push forward to finding our differentiator in the market and getting customers to believe in us.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:47

How do you differentiate yourself in a brokerage market?

Stephan Mathis: 25:52

Man, that's such a good question. On paper, everybody looks the same, and that's the old adage. That's why it's very challenging for a shipper to decide who is the right broker to use, because what do you measure them by? Typically, what we found was customers would buy into working with us after we had proved ourselves for somebody else. That's just the nature of it. You haul really well for Aldi and Aldi says, yeah, you guys are good. And then Aldi says, hey, kraft MoLo's good, we use him. And then Kraft's like, yeah, you should use him Walmart. And then Walmart's like, yeah, we had to sell that way. When you're not a household name, you need someone speaking on your behalf which I highly recommend getting recommendations or word of mouth or someone saying something good about you. Because the reality is the differentiators are very few and far between in our industry. Everybody says they do the same thing we pick up all our loads, we deliver them on time, we have all the tech, we have this, we have that, and every shipper at this point has heard all the sales pitches possible. So how do you truly differentiate? And I've been on the point where I sold customers by saying we're not any different, I'm not going to sell you anything differently than someone else does. But what I'm going to do is I'm a really good sales rep. I manage X amount of business. I run $100 million worth of freight and we were at 96% on time delivery last year. Would you want to work with someone who has that type of track record? Take a shot on me. You can kind of just simplify it Like, yeah, I'm not reinventing the wheel. We are a broker, we're between trucks and customers. Do you need someone that gives you good service and you want to work with me? That was kind of at the end what it was for me at my sales pitch. I would not try to sell the differentiator at this point because shippers are so bogged down from that.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:02

Yeah, I imagine what's a little surprising, as you were talking, is that these shippers like Aldi, for example hey, hatecraft, you should work with them. I would almost think from a business perspective that Aldi would want to protect their own transportation solutions and not give that referral to bigger customers that might want to steal some of that capacity away or steal some of that talent away. Was it easy to get, as it kind of sounds like it was a little bit easy to get those word of mouth referrals from those different customers?

Stephan Mathis: 28:36

Well, and I don't even know if those were the right names, I was throwing them out. But when you are good and you do exactly what you say you will do for a given amount of time, and then other people don't do that, you set yourself apart, and so we always tried to paint the picture of like okay, we're not as big as CH or Coyote or Arriva or any of these other ones that are ahead of us that have way bigger market share, way bigger teams, way better, so how can we compete with them? Well, we can compete by making our scorecard look like we're number one or two or three on that and they're on number eight or nine or whatever. And so, any way, we could paint the picture that, like look at this, we are beating other people that you see as, like, you give way more freight to. So you're constantly trying to find a way to paint the picture in their eyes that you should be someone that they should be working with, and that's and like and you can't argue against facts Like that. That's a fact. Like a broker will say we're good at this or we, we service better than everybody, but maybe showing a scorecard or your tender acceptance or those are things that are really not real. That happened that someone who's sitting in a logistics manager position might look at and they could be like, okay, well, that's a real thing that I can now gauge you on. And so we tried using whatever we could, whether it was scorecards or reviews or recommendations or storytelling, which, like I've talked about a lot and I know some other people have mentioned it If you're not storytelling in this industry, you are like living in the Stone Age, because everybody knows that it won't go perfectly in logistics. There's always going to be hurdles and things you have to overcome, but that's like literally what the person on the other side of the phone wants to know about you or how you handled an adverse situation, so that they can put themselves in the shoes of the person who you solved the problem for previously and they can, like they can, resonate with that. And so, again like kind of going back to what I started with in the beginning. I didn't have a perfect salesmanship, I didn't go through a customer sales training where they tell you exactly how to do things, but I did figure out on what people buy on and they buy on trust, they buy on storytelling, believing in what you're saying, believing in your mission, reviews, recommendations, because those are things that like they can see and like pick up on You're going to do what you say you're going to do. And so that conviction you start getting as a sales rep the longer you sit in the seat and you actually prove to yourself that you are going to do exactly what you're saying you're doing. And you become more and more confident when you don't take the like easy route of giving freight back or re-rating it or failing on loads or doing the kind of negative broker attributes. So that starts to build momentum into like you have easier conversations with shippers.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:49

Yeah, I think one really important thing that you just talked about, with the storytelling aspect and almost explaining the pain points to maybe shipping managers who have no idea or maybe have a very good idea of what some of them pain points are going to be and helping them to avoid them, do you have any? You mentioned that storytelling should be a crucial part, or you kind of hinted to it that it should be a crucial part in your selling. Do you have any kind of like favorite story moments that you told a customer and it worked out for well for?

Stephan Mathis: 32:23

you, yes, and so this was probably this story. It's a true story and it actually was a very challenging situation. And so I onboarded a very large food and beverage shipper, let's say, and I sold them for three years to get our shot in and enterprise sales. You got to be able to have some patience because it might take you a long time to get into a really large shipper, and so I just want to say that really quick I see a lot of sales reps that don't have the patience to wait that long to get their shot at like a mammoth customer that could literally be their entire book of business. Like you got to be willing to slowly build traction with them and get them to believe in what you're saying. But so I did that. It took me about three, three and a half years before I finally cracked this shipper. We got our first awards, we're excited and everyone's like yo, we're going to be home for blah, blah, blah. And then the storms hit in Texas and in a matter of 24 hours, the rates went up 30% and our freight was starting to happen on a Friday, monday, our rates all went live and everything was 30% higher than what we had quoted and you had just got done selling the customer on, like we stick to our rates, we service our freight, we're going to be the great partner. Thank you for bringing us on. Like, everything is great. But shippers are smart enough to know that like, yeah, you're going to sell me on all of these things and I'm believing what you're saying. That's why I'm taking a chance on you. But my perception of you actually starts all over again the day I send you a first load. And now we start all over again. And now I'm seeing if you're actually going to do what you say you're going to do. And so it was the worst timing in history of timing, probably. I mean, maybe I'm exaggerating, but the storms hit, shippers were shutting down, rates went up 30%. We're getting all our contracted freight. We're bleeding cash within the first few weeks, probably $20, $30,000 in the red. But you have to keep servicing the loads right. And so, like, any brokerage would already be like ding, ding, ding, like man that stinks, like you should do something about that. Or like go back to the customer and ask for more money, or tell them. And we looked at it like wait, no, we're not going to do that. That's what everybody else would do. Why don't we stay the course here and commit to what we said we were going to do and we'll dig ourselves out of this hole? And we lived up to our promises. And that catapulted into them needing more help on non-contracted freight. And so we were losing money on the contracted but all of the spot and additional support that they needed because the other providers were maybe falling on their face or not picking up the freight. So that's your way to save the day. And so we looked at it like, hey, let's take care of this contracted, we'll crush it on spot or new opportunities, mini bids, whatever they have that's coming through the pipeline. And it turned into like we became the household name. That was like who's the new kid on the block? Like not struggling when everyone's struggling, and I love these moments where you're like you're hit with adversity and now you got to back it up and so you fight through it. A year later, we probably cracked their top 10 as large brokerages chipping. I don't know what the numbers were back then 40, 50 loads a day by then, which is like unheard of in your first year with a new shipper. So it just was one of those stories that like I could tell that story to any shipper and they would be like man. What would I have done in that moment? Or what were my carriers doing to me when that happened? They were doing the stuff that I hated and you weren't. And you tell that story and it's like real, they're like man. So if that's how you guys do business, then I'll find a way to get you in my RFP or I'll find a way to have you guys review a contract and like there's several other stories like that. But if you're a logistics manager and you can see the pedigree that somebody has and how they're going to handle adversity, of course they're going to be a good partner when it's like sunshine and rainbows outside, like picking up their loads and delivering it when the market's nice. And that's really the challenge in our industry is that when the going gets tough only I'm making up a number here 5-10% of the carriers actually can stay the course and get through that challenging timeline and then tell a story to their customer like, hey, I'm going to stick with you through this. This is going to stink. I might need your help later on, but I'm going to battle through this with you and your customers. Remember when you went through the struggle with them and they make you whole. Typically they'll make you whole. Some of them aren't the greatest We've all probably had some tough shippers but for the most part, if you stuck to your guns and took care of them, they'll reciprocate, and so I always had that in my mind. Like, the long term vision of these shippers, especially in the enterprise game, is not what we're doing for them this cycle or this year. If I want to haul for I don't even know, I didn't even haul General Mills or throw up a large logo like I want to be hauling for them now and 10 years from now. So what I do right now in this year is just a blip on the radar. When it comes to a long-term partnership with Brenda, who's been in the VP of Logistics for 30 years. If she knows that I'm going to stay the course and build with her long-term, that's someone that they want to do business with and you have to establish the type of relationship you want to have with them. So, anyways, I'm rambling, but you can kind of get the idea. You can buy into the type of relationship you want to have with shippers and how you're going to service them through volatility.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:46

And I imagine that landing that big customer, going through those trials and tribulations, only helped to snowball the effect into landing more of those similar type of customers. Is that accurate?

Stephan Mathis: 38:58

Yes. And so then you're not talking about differentiators with those customers. You get on the phone with them. Obviously, you check the boxes, api, edi modes, the transportation, all the basics that they require, but you're really just talking to them about the type of provider you are or the type of mindset you have partnerships and believing in each other and trust. And I have your back. You have my back. Sometimes I'll need to wave the white flag and need your help. Sometimes you'll need me to lower my rates because the market goes down. So win, win business. And if we stick to our partnership being really strong, we can do this for a long time together. And more times than not talking to shippers like that, I found that was the easiest way to build relationships, because it was less about the X's and O's and less about the rate per mile or what load I shipped or region. It was more about the person on the other side of the phone, that I respected them. They took a shot on me getting in their network and I need to live up to the promises. And they also if I do everything that I said I would, will you grow me, will you continue to give me more business? And that's a relationship you have, and I started towards the end of my career being able to do that with several enterprise customers, because it wasn't so much about all the bells and whistles and how great we are and this and that and all the buzzwords and the decks and this and like, how great are we? We recreated the wheel here. Like we're the techiest, I pick up my loads, I deliver them and I'm gonna do it exactly the way you asked me to, and we're gonna golf a couple of times a year and I'm gonna make sure that I don't make it look bad in meetings. Cool, can we keep doing that for the next five, six years? Awesome, and you're like my friend, like that was like my style and it worked.

Blythe Brumleve: 40:50

Yeah, I could definitely see how that works is, especially because you're being honest with them from the jump and you're getting the job done at the end of the day. I mean, you mentioned 96% delivery rate and that's what matters most to a lot of these guys and gals. Is that how can you create less problems for them so they don't have another manager or another C-suite executive breathing down their neck because supply chain prices have increased dramatically again?

Stephan Mathis: 41:17

And I'll say another thing too, which, again, I'm no longer a broker, so I can like unload the knowledge of things that I've learned along the way. You I think people underestimate what perception that everyone on their team has on a customer's perception of you. So what I mean by that is sales rep or, let's say, c-suite at a brokerage lands, a new logo and they're doing business with them. General consensus is like oh, the relationship is with Stephan Mathis and whatever shipper. When the real relationship is the account manager, the accounting team, the operations teams, the load planners, that relationship is like 90% of it because if they are on the same page with the other planners, they're their counterparts at the shipper and everybody inside of that organization speaks highly of X carrier. Their feedback goes up to the top inside of a shipper of like who their favorite carriers are. And so if they're always like, yeah, john at operations at Molo is always on top, I love working with them, and then he said that to his VP who's your favorite carrier? And they always are sick. So I always coach my team that like it's not just me who has a great relationship with my guy who calls me. You guys all have to have great relationships with everybody. You touch every email, you send every shipping contact that you schedule a load with, or the accounting department. Everybody needs to be selling and like making a perception that we're the carrier that they should love working with, because they all have a perception or have a bad day when you sent the wrong email, you were in the wrong mindset and that, like quickly can escalate, or you didn't handle that problem, load the right way and then they're like man Molo's like kind of stinking now Like everyone's constantly taking a perception of you, and so I always was like guys, if we're having our worst day, it doesn't matter, let's just like always look like we're buttoned up, even if you're struggling on this thing. Perception is reality and we have to control the narrative of what people think about us. And that's true sales when it comes to the brokerage, because if you have a defense up where no one can penetrate, like getting thinking negative about you because you always like come through, then like why wouldn't you get more business? You'd be hard to unseat at that point.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:52

And so, as your, it sounds like you know in this moment of time, you know you're landing big enterprise customers. You know things are running like a well-oiled machine. How do you get to the point where you're like I'm ready to leave, I'm ready to take a step back and try something new?

Stephan Mathis: 44:09

Yeah, it was kind of similar to the jump that I had before where-.

Blythe Brumleve: 44:16

With Coyote and when they got bought out.

Stephan Mathis: 44:18

Yeah, I think I was like I had accomplished everything that I wanted to as a. I started as a basically a carrier sales acumen, and ended up co-founding a company that got acquired and being our top sales rep. At the end. I managed 150 million in fray spend and was shipping 6,000 truckloads a month. I didn't know where, anywhere else. There wasn't anywhere else to go other than just keep doing more of that and for me, I like to challenge myself. I like to keep accelerating and learning new things, whether it's about this industry or another industry. But, truthfully, I got to a point where I felt like I accomplished everything I wanted to inside of Molo and Arkbest and I wanted to exit kind of gracefully and spend time with my family. And I had a baby on the way. And the timing was great because when we had started Molo, I was 28, single with a dog, and then when I ended, I had a baby on the way, a one year old. I was building a house and it was like man, this is the right time, Like let me pass the baton on. I landed enough customers, my teams all feel really good, my customers love working with Molo. Let me kind of do like a farewell and bow out and like feel good knowing that we worked really hard and at the end, yeah, a lot of the customers were congratulatory, like saying like man, it was awesome working with you. We'll keep working with them. Like you know, we're cheering you on and we can't wait to see what's next for you. But I wanted to like exit and focus on family for a little bit before I figured out kind of what I want to tackle next.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:06

So how did you? Because I sometimes well, not sometimes all the time I sort of associate, I guess, my self-esteem with my work, and when some work in previous career moves, when that work has been taken away from me, it's either pissed me off or it's made me really sad. How did you sort of like grieve, that process of this is one part of your life and now you're moving into the next. What did that process look like? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to sort of do next, or was it just embracing sort of the fear of the unknown?

Stephan Mathis: 46:48

I think it was bracing, the fear of the unknown, and it was whatever I tackle next, I will be fine, you're nervous and you're fearful of learning something new or starting from scratch, but I always had this like, hey, everywhere I've ever gone, I was worried, but then I made it through the fire. And why would it change if, whatever the next thing I put my mind to, so Molo became my identity, it so like when you started saying that it was very challenging because that was like my heart was, I lived it, I breathed it, it was who I was as a person. But I also needed to like let go of that. Cause, like at times it was unhealthy, like caring so much about something that, like you, are that person and like so that's something that I'm excited about Whenever I jump on my next endeavor or or on another team is like also drawing a line between like work and like who I am outside of work. Cause, like I felt like I was a Molo co-founder everywhere I went for like six years, good and bad man.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:51

It probably helped me in my sales perspective, but like hurts you that when you're only focused on that, for so you know so much of your life, so yeah for sure there's definitely life outside of the brokerage walls and especially like, as, as the industry is still going through so many changes and evolutions, it feels like it's happening faster than ever. We had a little bit of a boom over the last handful of years with, you know, sort of digital freight companies and digital freight brokerages. That's kind of maybe was I don't want to say a flash in the pan, but you know, some of that has fizzled out, obviously with the convoy closure and the challenges around that space, but it also forced the industry to adapt more technology and really forced them to. So if you were to, if you were to plan to start like a Molo 2.0 or a freight brokerage in 2024, what would be those table stakes of how you would get a modern day freight brokerage started up from the ground up?

Stephan Mathis: 48:58

I think that I would actually do some some customer feedback before I even like started, like ask, find out what customers truly want and what they've their pain points and experience that they've had what they like, what they don't like, and kind of get enough of that before you jump into it. But I'm not someone who wants to rat on the digital brokerage thing. I think that convoy and some of the other brokerages have really pushed the industry forward from a tech perspective and it's you know it didn't fully work out for them at the end but, like we all had to get more tech efficiency focus. So from that perspective I think that was a win for them. But yeah, I think ultimately a brokerage needs to be able to be efficiently moving the freight and also manage their costs at the same time, which shippers have no way of knowing if a brokerage is managing their cost effectively internally. They're like you bid the freight and you move it at the rates you gave. So I think partnering with companies that allow you to, you know, keep track of your overhead and make sure you're not over leveraging yourself in certain areas. You see the layoffs happening everywhere across the industry. It's terrible to see. A lot of that has to do with, you know, some of the companies making a lot of money during the pandemic and over hiring. Some companies have such great talent that have been there for so long that they just can't pay them all anymore, and so those people will go and find other smaller companies and help build them out, and when the freight comes back, those companies will take off and grow. So I think it's like a typically a 24 to 36 month cycle where, like it keeps, the freight keeps changing hands. The market will move forward from a tech perspective, the customer's expectations typically raise, you know, go up but then there will be a market inflection, something will happen that'll make it hard to move freight and then you'll see who the true players are, and then typically the ones that could go back to just being pure brokers and taking care of the freight and not doing it in a fancy way. We'll win, and that's why the names at the top of the list of the largest brokerages, or the ones that maybe top 100, haven't changed in years. It's the same brokerages who are doing really good job and are the household names in the industry, because they can figure out how to weather the storm and keep taking care of their customers.

Blythe Brumleve: 51:44

So, kevin, kevin Hill of BrushPass Research. He dropped some stats recently that said they're about 33% more freight brokerages today than there were compared to 2019. And I'm curious especially with it, I guess, combining the technology aspect of it too do you think shippers are overwhelmed with all the freight tech solutions and freight brokerages just in general, or are they welcoming of these new advancements and these new ways of doing business?

Stephan Mathis: 52:19

I don't think they're welcoming of it. I think that it is when they take a chance on someone who has a new way of doing it and it works, then they might be more open to it. But a lot of the shippers they just trust what they know and if this works, I'm not going to. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's kind of the old adage, but it eventually will continue to change. If someone is working and doing really well with a new technology or something, then that shipper talks to the next one's like these guys are doing this, we like this about them, you should use them. And then it starts spiraling and then before you know it, the brokerage community is like well, we all have to use this thing now because the shippers have said this is the thing. But I don't think that that's out there today. There's a lot of technology that for back end brokerage support or in-house everyone's doing something to help the brokerage better. And I think there's kind of a lacking in technology for the overall space, specifically to the customers and how they make decisions about who and why and what and who's moving the freight and why, and I think that there's kind of opportunities in the space. From that perspective and just the overall experience from brokerage to customer. The industry needs more people working on it. I said this on Nathan Shoots podcast. There needs to be people working on the industry, regardless of what's going on in it Like the freight's moving, fine, but like who's making it a better place to work in, and thinking about like solving problems over here while they're not running around moving loads. Like because that's like you're not fully giving 100% towards the problems when you're spending time moving the loads. And so that's the challenge as a brokerage If you're moving $500 million worth of freight, how much time do you have to actually go and like automate and change something over here? Like someone else needs to do that then for you. And so I think that the industry is right for continuous disruption, but not like in the techy convoy kind of like mindset of disrupting brokerages, but more disrupting from a place of like technology that could advance the experience or efficiency from both the customer all the way through the brokerage. And so that's. I'm fascinated by what the future looks like for that and could see myself trying to tackle a few of the problems that I've seen over time.

Blythe Brumleve: 55:00

So if you are a broker and you're just getting started maybe you work at a small company, maybe you work at a large company what kind of advice or tips would you give to those brokers who are struggling to get that new business and are not having the emails answered or the phone calls answered and they're getting ignored? And would that advice be different, large versus small brokerage?

Stephan Mathis: 55:28

Yeah, I think you have to go through that challenging period where you're on the phones, you're hustling and bustling like that's part of being a broker and you have to kind of cut your teeth on that. But my advice for them would be to find their genuine voice of who they are and think about putting themselves in the shippers shoes of the type of person that they would want to work with or trust their freight with, and then start mirroring your sales pitch on yourself or on them, as if you're trying to be the person who's a good sales. Don't be the person who's blowing them up constantly. They hate that. At this point, there's enough information out there of what you shouldn't do to piss a shipper off and if you are still doing those things like you're the broker they hate, let's just be real. And the second piece of that I would say yeah, be genuine, be authentic, show who you are, be vulnerable, because the reality of this industry is it's all about relationships and it's all about trust, and it doesn't matter you look back 10 years from now or 10 years further. It's always going to be like the experience you had with the person and you'll rather trust that person than someone new you've never heard of. And so the second part of that I would say is, like building your personal brand, building your own, whether it's on your LinkedIn or maybe it's in your emails when you're reaching out have something that they can follow along with you and get to know you as a person, because a lot of times these shippers are choosing to work with the person that they could see themselves like having a good relationship with too, which, like you, could be the best broker in the world, but if you stink at like relationships or you struggle with that part, like, eventually they won't want to work with you even though, like your company, is so good. And so I think it benefits everybody to work on their LinkedIn talking about freight, talking about whatever it is that they do, gaining a following, because whether or not you are getting traction from the customer, like you know, they're responding to your emails. If you follow them or post on LinkedIn, or maybe they're you connected with them on LinkedIn, they can still indirectly see your content and they can make a perception of the type of person that you are. Are you the type of sales rep that I'd want to do business with? Or following your company, and the same and again with that. Same goes with the companies, right, like they should have their own LinkedIn branding and putting the type of energy into the world, how they do business, so that shippers can see that and kind of put themselves in the shoes of like if they were working with you, which is important.

Blythe Brumleve: 58:36

Yeah, I 100% co-signed that you should actually be building that personal brand and using social media as a digital handshake. But I have heard from so many different brokers and freight marketers that they've lost their job if they start personally branding themselves out on social media because the owners or the C-suite they get scared that they're going to be bigger than the company or they're going to misrepresent the company. So they discourage their employees from actively building out in public building on social media. So what would you say to some of those companies who are forbidding their employees from building up that brand and that authenticity and trust?

Stephan Mathis: 59:19

I think all pub is good pub for the most typically. I think I got that from a movie at some point or someone made it, that quote. But, like if your employees enjoy working at your company and they're putting their information out in the world and like people get to follow them, that's a direct reflection on more exposure to inbound interest in your company, not from just like a shipper perspective or a carrier perspective, but also from like potential employees Right. Like if I'm an entry level or, let's say, a mid-level sales rep at a mid-sized brokerage and I'm posting on my LinkedIn about sales or what I like to do in my free time, or challenges or hurdles or things I've done in my career, and other sales reps from other companies see that you know John Smith loves working at blah blah blah carrier. They all are looking at that and seeing like oh, he really likes his job over there, like maybe I would want to work there and it's like a talent pool. I think individual brands personal brands for employees. It helps and catapults a brand you know the company's brand so I think it's good to keep doing that and pushing them and then and then, if they're the ones that are saying not to do that. Are they doing it themselves? Because they're probably not, which, like they should be the ones out there. Also, if they're the CEO or C-suite or VP's, they need to be putting information out there for other people to catch on and start telling their story. I think everyone has this natural pushback against social media because they see so much of it already. And I'm not that type of person or this or that. But how do you expect people to learn about you? I think it's a little bit different, other than just you cold blowing them up in emails and calls and stuff and like, does that seem? Is that how you would want to find out? You kind of want to like indirectly, find out about how somebody is like maybe they went to a ballgame on the weekend. They post a picture about it with one of their old, their carriers or their customer, and then you're like oh, I know so and so at that shipper, they went to a ballgame together. Maybe they are someone I should consider Right, you can start to put yourself in the shoes, but you'll never get any of that attention if you're not using the social media to your advantage.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:01:47

Yeah, I definitely co-signed there. I think it's very short-sighted for a lot of these, I guess, sort of company leaders to prohibit their employees. I get it from the sense of, like you don't want them commenting on. Say, we used to have a rule Anything that has to do with sex, politics or religion just steer clear from everything else is safe, and so as long as you're following those very loose guidelines, then there's really no reason to be that worried about your company or your employees promoting the company, unless they're revealing sort of sensitive information, which hopefully they're not dumb enough to do that. But if they do, that's a situation that you cross that bridge when it happens. But you don't need to worry yourself about things that haven't necessarily happened yet.

Stephan Mathis: 1:02:36

And for folks who are maybe working in those environments, I would highly encourage you to still build that brand separately and then that way you can have something to fall back on, or just, I mean, it's much simpler, it's easier said than done, but go work for another company that actually values some of those talents, yeah, and if you're a sales rep or an employee at one of these companies, you need to do it because that's your personal brand Doesn't necessarily need to mean you are who you are outside of that company too, and you might not work there forever, and if they get butt hurt about that, you can say, hey, I might work here for three, four years, but I want to build my personal brand up and my LinkedIn following. Maybe I'm working somewhere else in five years. I want there to be a following of people who know who I am. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm an individual and stand up for yourself, and I have a problem with that. Maybe it's not the company to work at.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:03:34

Yeah, that's a real quick way to find out if that company is a good fit for you or not long term. And so, as you sort of shifted into, you call yourself a free agent, right now you're not ready to talk about the things that you're working on. Of course, I'm sure that will come a little bit later on, but I'm curious as to how you're thinking about marketing yourself right now. I've seen you on a couple of different podcasts. Obviously, we're recording one right now. How do you think about your personal brand right now and what you're building towards?

Stephan Mathis: 1:04:03

Yeah, I think I'm really just putting out my story and building up the back end of what I've done so far in the industry building a following of industry peers, getting to connect with people who are doing some cool stuff and being on your podcast or being in the founders group with Nathan and getting to hear other people's stories. And the more I get out there and be exposed, I'm meeting some really cool people that I didn't even I was sheltered from it because I was so focused on just molo, molo, molo, molo, molo or customer customer. I was in the weeds and I didn't see the world going around me of like, wow, this space is massive and there's a lot of other stuff going on. So I think it helps to be a connector and being in different spaces and, yeah, that allows you to open up doors that could potentially be a new career path or potential partner one day. If you have your own company, they might be a vendor of yours, like you just never know. And so I'm really just putting out there the energy. I'm trying to help as many people as I can, connecting. I don't have an ask today because I'm not actively working but building a brand of my own following staying active in the space, and at some point I'll pop up and do something that I'm inspired by, and hopefully some of the following that I have might be future customers or people that I can help, and that's the way I look at it.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:05:29

And so I think this is a perfect segue into the final segment that I like to have with each of our guests that come on the show. It's more of like marketing and sales, like rapid fire. We're already talking about marketing and sales, so I would love to get into. You've already kind of answered some of the first. For people who listen regularly, I do have a certain amount of questions that I asked, but I'm not gonna repeat those in case you've already answered them. And that first one is how do you think about marketing when it comes to you and your company? You've definitely answered that, I think, throughout this entire show. But this next one is what's your favorite social media platform and why?

Stephan Mathis: 1:06:05

I'm a big Instagram follower. I don't do a lot of content on there. I don't think in the logistics space now it's growing on there, but I don't know if a lot of shippers are on Instagram. From that perspective, they're kind of using it more as their way to just be themselves and be away from it. But my favorite would be LinkedIn by far. Linkedin is the place where you can really truly connect and network with people and see what's going on, whether it's in the industry or internally at companies, what people care about. You can see the following. You can see who you should connect with to be in certain types of groups or it's wide open and you can see the. I wouldn't call them influencers, but there's a lot of people doing really well on LinkedIn alone just monetizing their audience, and that's a whole other part of this too. I wouldn't say necessarily in the logistics space you need that, but it does move you to have a presence on there and be well known and be someone that could be in any room and someone knows your story. That's a step right. And I think about it too from a place of like if you wanted to have a new job and you were connected with like 500 of the same people, chances are those people wouldn't be connected with you if you were not a great person, right, like they wouldn't want to be following you or whatnot. So you kind of get like instant credibility of like connected with all these really cool people that I also trust. I should probably give this person a chance, or you could ask that person what do you think of them, right? So I definitely would say LinkedIn is massive and it's gonna keep growing for sure.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:07:50

Yeah, for sure, it's definitely, I think, a unicorn in the logistics space. I think X is kind of formerly Twitter, is, you know, growing a little bit. It's just it's still there. I just feel I have a deep fear of like what the rest of 2024 is going to do to Twitter itself and like the psyche of a lot of the crazy users of that platform. But it is starting to really grow from a logistics standpoint. There's a lot of folks that you can connect with on there. But to your point about Instagram, I don't know how many shippers are actively on X. So right now, linkedin is really the best bet for a lot of us that are looking to build up your personal brand, and you had mentioned earlier about you know being, you know, kind of in the Molo circle, and so you didn't know about some of these other things that are going on within the industry and you're finding a lot of excitement about learning about them. So one of our next questions is what is your favorite SaaS tool that you use? Or maybe you've seen within the industry that you can't, that you would either want to purchase or that you can't live without.

Stephan Mathis: 1:08:55

Man, that's a good question. I can't think of one right now and that's partially why I think that I want to go into SaaS. I don't want to label one. I think there's some great up and coming. I'll say Carrier Shirt and Highway and Goodship, and there's a bunch of companies out there that are doing some good things that we need in the space to tackle a specific problem. But yeah, I'm not bullish on any one brand quite yet. I think the space is wide open and there are challengers that could come in and do something great, that could easily take the reins and run with it. The brokerage community is so competitive. It is like it's beyond competitive. The tech space is like wide open that's actually a really good point.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09:53

I haven't thought about it that way.

Stephan Mathis: 1:09:54

There's like 20 companies in the tech space that are trying to do something great and there's 28,000 brokerages.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:03

So look for the opportunity is what you're saying. So where can you?

Stephan Mathis: 1:10:05

compete right.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:07

What is? You might have already answered this question, but what is your favorite freight business that isn't your own or formerly of your own?

Stephan Mathis: 1:10:17

The first one that came to mind was Candard Expedite down in Dallas. I think they're in Dallas DFW market.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:24

Yeah, dallas, texas. Nicole Glenn, former guest of this show.

Stephan Mathis: 1:10:27

Nicole Glenn yeah, she's the real one. She was the reason I left Coyote and got out of and found Molo. She bet on me. She pulled me out of there and said you can do bigger things. And I took a chance. So definitely, nicole Glenn. I have a picture wearing a Candard Expedite shirt from like four years ago, because she had that phase where she left and went and built her own company and went through that whole phase and now she's doing really well. Woman owned company.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:56

Ladies leadership coalition. She's got the podcast going on.

Stephan Mathis: 1:10:58

I get inspired by people who do good things, big things in this industry and bet on themselves and wear it, wear their heart on their sleeve. So she's someone that I look up to and I respect. So I'm rooting for Candard Expedite, for sure.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:13

Heck, yeah, great, great choice, All right. Next one on the list is what is a book or podcast that has changed your perspective on something you used to think?

Stephan Mathis: 1:11:24

I do listen to the Edmile Let Show quite often. He's a kind of how do you say it the right way? How do you say it the right way? He's a self-help coach and like bettering yourself and he's one of the leading influencers in that space. I think he's like number one coach for just like pushing yourself to that you can reach a higher potential. He interviews some of the like the best people that can help you. You know, tackle problems or challenges that you're going through and like mindset and I'm a big believer of like it's like what you say to yourself when you're internally that actually like is how you live your world. So, like, I've been working on my internal voice of like you can do it, go do it. And what's the other one? Oh, this book right here is really good. Be Useful. By Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh, I've heard good things about it, he is just like I mean right, wrong and different. He has his flaws, so say to the disclaimer but the guy has won at every level and everything he's ever tried, because he never was scared and always went for it 100% effort. And like I respect that when you like don't look back and you just say I'm gonna do this thing and it has to work. And like the guy has lived like an unbelievable life of like every challenging thing that he has attempted to do, he's accomplished. And I think that, like by the end of the race, when you're on your deathbed, you wanna tell a story of like man, I tried everything that I ever wanted to and I like I'm tired and I think more people need to go out there and bet on themselves and try really hard things and or the thing that they obsess over and push themselves. So that's a really good book.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:21

Yeah, that's a really I would say that that's a perfect place to end it and I might, you know, sort of kick myself a little bit here because I do have one more question and we typically save this one for the last, but it's really it's kind of challenging to answer, but it sounds easy, but it's also challenging to answer. But what is your favorite supply chain or logistics fact or maybe one reason why you love this industry?

Stephan Mathis: 1:13:47

The fact that helped me the most closing shippers was that 93% of the trucks on the actual road have less than two. I think 93% of the fleets on the road have less than two trucks. And when you think about that, and when a shipper is gonna tell you, oh, I only work with asset-based carriers, I'm like, okay, so you only wanna work with 7% of the carriers? Then in the industry, got it? I know you that's a. That's false. So let's talk real here. You need brokers to work and haul your freight right Like and I landed some awesome shippers by like telling them like, working with a broker isn't necessarily about broker versus asset, it's about your ability to gain access to capacity. And so if you're gonna just say you want large assets, like you're gonna okay, great, go after the 7% that everyone else wants to them to haul perfectly for you. And that's just not the reality of how the freight moves in this industry. So that would be my quote.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:14:49

Yeah, that's a really good one, and I think that's going to be a sound bite to start off the episode. So, Stephan, anything that you feel is important to mention that we haven't already talked about.

Stephan Mathis: 1:15:02

I am open to continuing to connect with people who are forward thinking, maybe contrarian thinkers. I wanna keep learning and networking with people who wanna move this industry forward. I will be working on something that's a solo project of my own, so excited for that to gain progress. But just in general, like yeah, I'm rooting for the industry to keep moving forward and hoping that the layoffs aren't everyone lands on soft landing and hopefully the market picks up so that everybody can make a little money.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:15:41

Yeah, I think everybody has an agreeance with that. So great stuff, Stephan. Where can folks follow you? Follow more of your work, stay connected so when you do have that big announcement that they can all follow along and cheer along.

Stephan Mathis: 1:15:54

Yeah, so, stephanmathis. com, I created just a landing branding page. It's a little bit of what I did at Molo and, thinking forward ahead, my LinkedIn page pretty active. On there there's a Calendly link if they wanna connect with me and just meet or discuss anything. I'm kinda open right now because I'm at home with my kids. But yeah, that's really the spot. It's just my personal website right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:16:22

Well, perfect. I think this was a freight sales masterclass for this episode and I think that's gonna be the title of the episode for a lot of folks who may be struggling out there. Hopefully you listen and take a lot of this advice. But, Stephan, thank you again for joining the show.

Stephan Mathis: 1:16:39

Yeah, thank you for having me and yeah, be authentic. Don't try to sound like you know everything about everything. Just be yourself. That's half the battle. I'll leave on that. Have a good one.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:16:52

Well said, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. Subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everythingislogisticscom. And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate, and that's Digital Dispatch, where we help you build a better website. Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a co-worker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website. Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI, automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags ippers.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.