Who is?

Hi. I am a shipping company director, transport academic, author, family man and all round nice guy. I have worked as shipbroker, shipowner, freight trader and bulk charterer, in senior positions, with some of the largest and most disrespected (joke) companies in the world. Ask my advice on all things shipping and you will receive my blunt and always honest answer. Hang around to learn more about chartering and ship broker salaries, chartering and ship broker jobs, chartering and shipbroker recruitment agencies, cheap freight, maritime education, chartering and ship broker qualifications, become a ship broker, tips on how to be a successful bulk shipping executive, philosophy, Zen and the art of shipbroking, and much more. Yours The Virtual Shipbroker (recently proclaimed the guru of shipbroking) Copyright © 2009-17 by Virtualshipbroker

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shiptrading platforms - Part 2

I became aware of another shiptrading platform last night. This one is also linked to charity - so that every fixture done a percentage of brokerage is donnated to charity. Love the premise wish them the best of luck.

Still these guys are faced with a major hurdle. If I am a broker why would I want to advertise my clients open positions on a website that competitors can see? I will ring their client direct, they will be easy to find!

Most brokers these days do not speak to other brokers. Good brokers will endevour to be direct to both the shipowner and the cargo owner.

Good brokers do not circulate open cargo and open ship positions to everyone - especially voyage cargoes. TC is a little different.

Again I must reiterate that i think the biggest problem these websites face is that they dont understand the clientel. The premise of the websites is that shipbroking is purely about 'matchmaking' and hence the software they provide is 'invaluable'. Well not really because although matching ships to cargo is the final outcome - getting there is full of salesmanship, secrecy and bravado. And this is on the part of the client (shipowner and charterer) not just the broker.

I am sure there is scope for webbased services but sofar all of these platforms miss the mark IMHO.

Yours
VS

Shiptrading platforms

I have noticed recently the plethora of new shipbroking/trading platform websites now available.

They are a curious phenominon because I am not sure any of them are actually being used for what they are intended (to be used for)

You know the sites - they offer the ability to enter an open cargo and open ships position or a ship for sale. A platform for shipowners, charterers and shipbrokers to meet (virtually speaking)

The reason i say they are curious is for a number of reasons..

1) Some of them claim to make no money! (then why be in business? Why advertise?)
2) Others, it appears the only way they make money is via company subscriptions..
I find this a bit cynical because really all they offer is a database of other similar companies and this database can be bought quite seperately rather than having to become a member of one of these sites.
3) Not many of these sites have open access to the site owners - who are they and what is their contact numbers - just incase you are not happy with the service?
4) None of these sites seem to be offered by any substantial entity ie well known company.

All the above aside - i am still uncertain that the core service they offer is of any use because of the secretive way in which the majority of business is done in the world of international shipping.

The only theory I have left is that these sites are offered by people or companies (anonymous) and the webasites are purely designed for 'lead' generation. Ie Once a shipowner or a charterer signs up for the site - within days they will be contacted by a supposedly unrelated but authentic shipbroking firm ready to offer their services. This is quite smart and a good way to generate leeds for clients who otherwise dont know how to find shipbrokers!

I have been contacted by one of the owners of a said site who seems genuine in their efforts to produce something useful. I wonder of any of the other site owners would care to shed some light on this new (and evolving) form of website trading and let us know what they are trying to achieve and how they make money etc etc.

I would be more than interested to know if the sites are being used effectively for 'trading' as they purport to be or if these sites are still trying to work out how to make money!

So if you own one of these sites kindly either reply to this post or send me a private email and lets discuss the business's you run and what clients can expect in terms of helping them improve their own business's. Are fixtures being generated via your website?

I would be more than happy to jump on the bangwagon and promote any of the sites should
this be the case because their are always new ways of doing business.

Yours
VS

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fixing machine - tip 11

As alluded to previously, gaining the status of 'fixing machine' sometimes has more to do with perception rather than results.

If one can gain a reputation, rightly or wrongly' for being a great broker, this inturn can leed to more fixtures. People like being associated with winners and clients are no different.

So whats my number one way to appear like a shipbroking genius!

Tip 11 - The need for speed!

Over the years one hears stories of great brokers who seem to always have information at the tips of their fingers. Brokers who can recite fixtures from the tops of their heads, or who can give you rate ideas without blinking an eye. There are brokers who know the exact distance in days between various ports, and those that can give accurate estimates of port costs in far flung places around the globe.

Heres the scoop - when asked a question always have an answer on the ready. Many times questions are asked by customers as a matter of conversation and having a broker that can answer quickly with some sort of authority makes a client feel secure. Key point!

Here's the scoop part 2 - Even if you dont know the exact answer - answer quickly with your best guestimate. A great broker knows how to backtrack quickly if the information is questioned down the track.

Be careful that when you do give quick answers that they are as accurate as possible and that you always leave open a way out. It also needs to be remembered that these questions usually arise during a nonformal phone or lunch conversations, one that has meandered through a myriad of different topics over a period of time. Therefore offering an opinion in this forum will not get you into trouble.

Here is the scoop part 3 - lets just say a client has asked you what the market is from USG to Japan for a certain size and you do the right thing and quickly state usd 20.00. The client has no idea and seems to accept this. Once the conversation ends quickly do some research and if 20 bucks is correct then you are a quick thinking genius. If it is wrong then you have the opportunity to ring the client back and tell him that the market is infact usd 25.00. Advie him/her that the reason for the difference is because the fixture report that you read yesterday had load and discharge terms that were completely different to the standard market load and discharge terms. This will cover your back!

Is this manipulation or is this salesmanship - you may ask? Well that is a matter of opinion. Most things in life get down to understanding of human behaviour. IMO as long as the correct information does find its way to the client before a purchase decision is made (and as soon as possible) then it is ok.

So in conclusion always try to answer questions immediately if possible. This creates a good vibe and instills confidence. If you are unsure of the answer you have given find out quickly and use the new info as an excuse to have another friendly chat with your client.

Yours
VS

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 10

The importance of charterparties!

A charterparty is the final contract signed between the two principal parties - ie the shipowner and the cargo owner. A charterparty is a legal document, jargon heavy containing numerous clauses and it can be anywhere from 10 to 100 pages long. Most cp's (charterparties) are atleast 35 pages in length.

What is the role of a the shipbroker in charterparty negotiations and why is it significant?

Most shipbrokers care little for the contents of a charterparty aside from the main terms. Most would consider that their job is done and leave it to the respective parties to fight out the remaining charterparty details - often seen as less significant.

The truth is that a 'fixing machine' can prove his or her worth many times over by being an expert in all things charterparty. Even the most seemingly insignificany of clauses can have a deep inpact on a customers bottom line (if the circumstances assist).

We all recongnise that a charterparty clause has a significant legal role to play over the course of a voyage. What many brokers dont realise is that each clause also has a huge commercial significance - some more than others.

Many time over the years, as a broker, shipowner, and charterer I have twigged various CP clauses to my advantage (or to my customer advantage). The benefits can be huge. Adjusting a laytime clause can push a deal from a loss making to a profit making venture. Knowing the signifcance of a force majeur clause and relevant wording can mean the difference beteen bankruptsy and huge profits!

So if you want to be a truely great broker - learn about charterparties inside and out - and offer this expertise to customers. In learning about cp's never run away from taking an active part in the process, offer to draw them up and always keep an eye on chaging rules and regulations that govern the industry.

Send me the signed CP! Well done Fixing machine...

Yours

VS

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Historic Milestone (or not)

10,000 individual website hits since its inception!

Id like to thank my parents, my wife, kids and dog for all their support.

The truth is im not sure how accurate these page counters are. It registers a hit everytime someone surfs an old page so it in no way represents how many indivduals have visited the website in total. Either way 10,000 feels like its quite a big number.

Sincere thanks to all of you who regularly visit the site!

Yours
Virtual Shipbroker

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 9

Dont be afraid to ask questions!

For anyone who has bought my books, I am free to answer any questions whatsoever regarding shipping / Shipbroking or anything else people have on their minds.

It constantly suprises me how people seem to have a fear of asking questions. The other day I was at a local sports bar watching my favourite sporting event. There was a problem though - no volume! I hate being at a bar watching sports and not having any volume. I also knew instinctively that everyone else felt the same but for some reason no-one was doing anything about it. I also knew instinctiveky that it would be upto me to ask the barman to raise the volume. So I went to the bar and asked the question. The barman looked at me totally unaware of the problem. He apologised and 10 seconds later - whala - we had volume. And guess what - the 30 people at the bar cheered as if to say 'about time'!

The moral here is this - Dont lose opportunities because you are too scared to ask obvious questions. In shipbroking this is very important. It saves time and money.

I get things done because i ask the questions other fear (not logically) to ask.

Yours
VS

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I should mention

I should mention that although shipbroking/chartering can be taught (in my opinion) fairly quickly, this by no means is supposed to be a slur on the Industry itself. Most products or services that can be broked / brokered, dont take years to learn. Just because a ship is HUGE in stature doesnt make the process of fixing it any more difficult that someone who is broking a financial / Insurance product or even selling a commercial building for that matter. The idea that it would take a realtor 3 years before they have enough skill to sell a house, or a mortgage broker 2 years to sell his first mortgage package - is a little ludicrous.

Shipping is a different ballgame but not all that different.

Something to think about

Yours
VS

Trainee shipbrokers

I was recently asked how long does it take for a junior shipbroker to be trained properly.

Well there are two answers to this. Most companies will tell you that one must be a trainee for 2 to 3 years. The reasoning is that it will take this long to learn all the intricacies of international shipbroking. The average trainee will be able to start fixing ships (with the help of a mentor) after say 18 months on the job.

Ok so whats the real answer - I know I could train almost anyone to be a good shipbroker in about 3 months. That is from inception (not knowing anything about shipping) to being able to front the market predominantly on their own and then start fixing ships.

Why then do companies insist on this 2 or 3 years..?

Few reasons

- Some management genuinly believe it takes this long to train a broker. Most people/companies who believe this have no formal training methodology.

- It is difficult for many people in the industry to accept that shipbroking as a skill can be leanrt so quickly (90 percent of it anyway). if they admit that then they are admitting that what they do as a vocation isnt that difficult after all. What would their wives say?

- Companies dont want to have to pay trainees full shipbroker salaries until they have too. A trainee shipbroker fullfills many a meanial obligation from collating ships lists to attending functions that noone else wants to go to. Firms 'need' low paid juniors who fit into line. Eventually once you have 'done your time' then you will be allowed out of the crib.

Offcourse none of these reasons are 'valid', and infact many companies are doing themselves a huge disservice by buying into this scenario. They could be earning more money, at a quicker pace, and creating employee loyalty at the same time!

So senior managers - Do yourself a favour and hire a trainee, teach them well and quickly. Send any job descriptions here to Virtual Shipbroker and I will be sure to pass them on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 8

This one is used very effectively by a few experienced shipbrokers. In fact this is the method I have used the most over the years. It has bought both myself and the companies I have worked for great success.

Tip 8 - Concentrate on clients who are out of their depth. In other words - find a customer who knows very little and become their mentor.

This is easier, from a brokers persepective, with charterers than it is with shipowners because for many charterers 'shipping' is not their core business. Very often an inexpeirenced shipping clerk is thrown into a position of great authority and then expected to learn on the job.

Finding a client like this is great. The next step is to build a wall around the client to ward of other brokers. I talk alot about how to achieve this in my book 'starting a shipbroking business'.

Find a problem - fix it - make money!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 7

The best competative brokers are like well trained athletes. I dont mean physically (trust me). I mean mentally.

In 'Inside Shipbroking' I talked about the need for any good broker (or trader) to develop a thick skin. I guess it is not so much about developing a thick skin but more about being able to bounce back from adversity.

A brokers day/week/year/career is broken up into many different cyclical phases. One day a broker will be fixing everything in sight and then 6 months later they get a severe case of the putting yips (golf reference) and nothing seems to work.

Like any business, shipping is alot about personalities and keeping customers happy is never easy. Some days conversations flow easily and everyone wants a piece of you and yet on others it seems like you have been blackbanned by one and all.

At times like these it is easy to get down on ones self and the confidence will take a hit. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ride it out. Understand that relationships are clclical and just keep your head down.

Having said that 'Fixing Machines' have an uncanny ability to bounce back. The next morning, despite a crazy previous day, they walk in the office acting as if nothing has happened. Instead of carrying emotional, energy draining baggage around for a few days, they get straight back on the horse and treat customers like they have every other day before.

(for years I was bad at this)

This is where sports psychology comes into it. The best tennis players have learnt to play point by poiont. The best baseballers take it pitch by pitch, and the best golfers are able to block out the last bad shot and hit the next one close to the pin to save par.

I will also make a Zen reference here. In Zen buddhism they talk about a thing called 'beginners mind'. Those that are enlightened have the ability to see things every day ljust like it is the first time they have seen something. Think about how much you learn as a child when everything is new. And then think about how little you learn when you have convinced yourself that you are an expert.

If you can bring this beginners mind to the desk every morning and treat customers like you are cold calling them for the very first time, desperate to win their business, then you will be a star!

If you thought that business, broking and trading was about objective sitauations and events then you are wrong. Like most things in life success starts with whats going on between your ears!

Yours
VS

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 6

Knowing how to run a voyage calculation is a great skill for any broker dealing with clients who regularly fix 'voyage based' business. So what about the majority of brokers out there who's main clients are shipowners and charterers who only ver fix on time charter (not voyage).

Tip 6 - Understand the patterns of trade. Or in other words understand what the market is doing for your clients business at any particlar moment in time.

Remember that the end game here is to be able to strike up meaningful dialogue with your client. A meaningful dialgue is a conversation that will help them make choices. Helping the client in this way build a rapport and respect and will keep them coming back for more over and over again.

Average broker conversation.

Average Broker - 'Hi Mr Shipowner I see you still have your ship open in Rotterdam'.

Shipowner - Yes Mr broker I do. Any suggestions on what I should do?

Average Broker - ah, ah, ah, What do you mean?

Shipowner - I have no cargo and the ship is open tomorrow, what should I do?

Average Broker - ah, ah, I dont know I will keep looking to see if i can find you some cargo.

Shipowner - Ho Hum thanks for nothing.

Fixing Machine conversation

Fixing Machine - Hi Mr Shipowner, I see you still have your ship open in Rotterdam!'

Shipowner - yes Mr Broker I do. Any suggestions on what i should do?

Fixing Machine - Sure! Although Europe seems very quiet on the cargo front we are hearing of lots of activity from the US Gulf. A greek Ship just fixed for a trip from USG to Japan at very juicy numbers. So in my opinion (only) you could do worse than lifting anchor and heading empy to the USG. I spoke to a charterer in Houston yesterday and they seem to feel that the USG will be active for atleast another 2 or 3 weeks which gives you plenty of time to ballst there and pick up a cargo.

Shipowner - Yes you are right. i have been thinking the same thing. Good suggestion. I wont tell other brokers that this is my plan but can you do me a favour. Please market my ship to be open in the USG in 14 days time. You will have the ship exclusively for the next 3 days. After that I will need to tell the other brokers

Fixing Machine strikes again - The more he know how the markets work the luckier he gets!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Shipbroker pay stable

This is the headline in this weeks 'Tradewinds' Magazine (4th June)

Brief points of the article

  • Bonus's have taken a hit but the overall salary outlook for brokers is looking rosy
  • Recruitment specialists 'Fast-Stream' state that average pay for broker is now around the USD 128,000 mark
  • Those brokers with 10-15 years experiece seem to be in th most demand.
  • Junior broker salaries are under a little more pressure
  • "there has not been a huge wave of layoffs as have been experienced in the financial sector".
  • Freight Derivative broker salaries have taken a hit.
  • Continues to be good demand for brokers in Houston.
  • The Singapore market is starting to 'Mature' after 4 years of steady emplyment growth. Expats are reluctant to leave Singapore due to low income tax , good schooling and excellent entertainment / lifestyle factors

Yours
VS

fixing machine - tip 5

Ok so you dont know how to run a voyage calculation. Thats ok. But you MUST somehow work out how to know what the market is doing at any moment in time. Or more importantly you must know how the 'specific' markets for your 'specific' customers are going.

Average broker: Will know that the BDI is up or down and will have a general sence of the overall market sentiment.

Fixing Machine: Will understand his customers specific markets. If for example he has a shipowner client who always has lots of ships open in West Coast South America, the fixing machine will endevour to keep upto date on overall tonnage supply in this area, plus any similar cargoes that have been fixed recently.

If the brokers' main client is a trading customer who often ships 25,000 mt of fertilizers from The Mediteranean to India then the fixing machine must try and always have an idea of the prices in this specific market.

Ways to keep abreat of specific markets

1. check market reports - although market reports usually only report the main market fixtures.

2 Run a voyage calculation every 3 days. Have a matrix of 5 or 10 of your closest customers favourate trade routes. This matrix template is your easy freight rate reference guide. The only change you need to make is your daily Tc (time charter) equivalent figure. (this will make little sence to those of you who are not already shipbrokers)

3. Cant run a voyage calculator? Then you need to be able to speak to people in the know - on a regular basis. A fixing machine will know how to steer daily gossip conversation towards what is important - ie whats the market doing and what are todays freight levels .

A conversation along the lines as follows

Shipbroker talking to a shipowner -

Shipbroker - ' I see you have a ship open in Peru in 3 weeks time?'
Shipowner - 'Yes we do but we have not seen any good paying business as yet'
Shipbroker -Ok - thats not good. I will have a good look around for you'
Shipowner - 'Thank you.'
Shipbroker - Market could be a little softer than last week. Just for my reference what price do you think is achiveable for your ship if we were to fix today.
Shipowner - 'For a trip top the far east?'
Shipbroker - 'Yes'
Shipowner - We are hoping for usd 22,000 but I have a feeling the market may have passed us by.
Shipbroker - Ok - lets see what this week brings. Hopefully we will see some more market cargoes by then end of the week.

Etc etc

Fixing Machine now has a rough idea of what the shipowner needs for his vessel and can spend the next 3 weeks trying to find a cargo. If the shipbroker is smart he will send this vessels description to all his close cargo (chartering) friends - and at the bottom of the message state something along the lines of

"owners rating trips to the far east usd 22,000'.

Anyone receiving this email will automatically aknowledge that this broker has a excellent information regarding this ship and may choose this broker as a channel should they have a cargo that suits

Happy fixing.

Yours VS

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 4.

Does a broker need to know how to run a voyage calculation to be a star. No - but it helps.

20 years ago I would guess that 5 percent of brokers could run a voyage calculation. These days maybe 20 percent know the basics. Many brokers concentrate on time charter tonnage and orders and therefore have no need to learn how to make a voyage calculation.

++

So what are the benefits then of knowing this skill?

1. You can quickly assess the prospects of your charterers business.

2. It shows you are taking an active interest in your charterers business

3. It gives you an 'IN' when it comes to talking shop with both the charterer and the shipowner. This on many instances will allow you to secure the channel of negotiation.

4. By knowing how the freight price is calculated it allows the broker to offer some solutions taht other brokers may be unaware of. For example - the voyage charter order may quote a discharge rate of 10,000 shinc. Being a good broker you are aware that at the discharge port in question that they regulary achieve 15,000 shinc discharge. Armed with this knowledge you will now be able to work out the cost of this disparity (through adjusting your voyage calc) and show both parties the outcome. This is called finding solutions to help bring a fixture together.

Good broking - send me the recap!

To review the revolutionary Vs Voyage estimation pack click here

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 3.

Getting Support!

Scenario. You are a competative broker and one of your close cargo clients has a new cargo voyage order. When you see the order on the computer your first thought goes straight to a particular ship that you know is perfect for this cargo. One big problem though. There are 7 other brokers who have exactly the same thought at exactly the same time. The race is now on to garner the support of one or both the principals. Should the two parties fix then YOU want to be the broker involved.

So what to do?

Average broker - after receiving the voyage order he quickly sends the order to the shipowner. In the email he tell the shipowner that this cargo suits his vessel perfectly. At the same time he finds the vessels description from a previous email and sends the vessels description to the cargo owner. In the email he states that this ship is perefect for this cargo.

Half an hour later he first calls the shipowner and asks if he has an interest in the cargo. The shipowner says he does but he is not willing to rate the business as yet. Shipowner also hasnt decided on which broker he will support as yet. All 7 brokers have also sent him the same cargo and some of them have also made a phone call.

So left with nothing from the shipowner Mr Average then looks to the cargo owner. He calls the charterer and asks if he has an interest in the ship. The charterer says that off course he does. The broker then asks the charterer for his 'rate ideas'. The smart charterer says 'no ideas' awaiting interest from the shipowner. The charterer then tells the broker that he will support any broker that brings in firm interest from the shipowner. So again left with nothing!

Mr Average then sits back and will make the same phone call later in the after noon waiting for someone to make a commitment. Average outcome for 6 out of the 7 brokers.

Fixing Machine - Upon receiving the order the first thing he does is pick up the phone (not send an email). He calls the shipowner immediately to tell him about the cargo. The shipower thanks him. The broker then tells the shipowner that the order will be coming to him on email within 5 minutes.

Then the broker quickly rings the cargo owner to tell him about the ship. Without any prompting the broker also tells the cargo owner that the shipowner has an interest and that he is already running a calculation. You will note that the broker is taking a liberty here because he has no idea that if the shiowner is running a calculation or not. But this doesnt matter because it is a damn good guess that the shipowner is running a calculation. Also it makes the charterer believe that the broker has the support of the shipowner and that the shipowner has already picked a channel! Well done fixing machine!

Next step - instead of straight out asking the charterer his freight ideas he approaches it a little differently. He tells the charterer that a similar cargo was fixed last week for usd 20.00 and was wondering if this is ballpark for the charterer. The charterer appreciates the market information and tells him that it sounds a little high and that he will wait for firm interest from the shipowner before he commits to a market expectation.

So the Fixing Machine isnt quite there yet. Although he has done great ground work he still technically does not have either parties firm support. He really needs to find out either 1. the charterers freight ideas or 2. the shipowners freight ideas.

Next step - he runs a voyage calculation! 10 minutes later - after a quick voyage calculation, making guestimates regarding certain costs the broker now has a ball park figure in his own mind what the cargo could be worth in todays market. USD 19.00. This is just a rough idea and inlinwe with the usd 20.00 that was fixed last week. This information is enough to stimulate conversation.

Next step. Try and get the charterers to devulge his ideas. He then rings the charterer and tells the charterer that after speaking to the shipowner the shipowner mumbled something about USD 20.50. You will note that the broker is once again taking a liberty because he hasnt in fact spoken to the shipowner. But he is taking a calculated risk - he has added usd 1.00 to the calculation to protect himself and he has not stated that this is the shipowners firm indication. He mererly stated that the grumpy shipowner mumbled usd 20.50 under his breath.

Good news. The charterer begins to speak and devulge more information to the broker. It turns out the charterers ideas are usd 18.00.

With this information the "fixing Machine' was able to cement the shipowners support and 4 days later the cargo was fixed at usd 19.95 per metric tonne.

The Fixing Machine strikes again! The smarter he works the luckier he gets!

Yours
VS

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 2

Morning habits

Mr Average. Arrives, grabs a coffee and the sports pages of the local newspaper. After reading the sports news, he or she then proceeds to go through, in order of receiving, each and everyone of their 900 inbox emails. Sometime around mid late morning this chore is finished. During that time they recieve phone calls from various people and can be heard saying 'Ihavent finished reading all my overnight messages so i am not sure what you are talking about. Let me get back to you soon!". Sometimes during the course of a day you will ask this person about a certain message and it will be apparent that even by 3 pm they havent finished checking emails. You are fired!

Star Brokers. Arrives, grabs a coffee, while computer is booting has a quick glance at the sports section of the nespaper and sees that Barcalona have done a number on Manchester United.
Once the computer is up and running the first thing he does is go straight to the Baltic Exchange Daily Market report or a report generated from the fareast (depends on his time zone). First he looks at the BDI to gauge the overall market and then he checks any specific routes important to his customers to see if they have changed. Then he has a quick skim of the fixture reports and a read of the commentary to see if anything major has occured in the world markets.

Key point - within 10 mintes the broker knows what the market is doing.

His second task is to then find an efficient method to go through his inbound emails. I always found the best way is to first do a search with your name in it. Read all the emails that are addressed to you. Then do a search and read all th emails for a particlual vessel or charterer that you are primarily concerned with. Badabang - Within 20 minutes you know exactly what is going on and a good idea of what is urgent and what is not. Then read the paper!

Most importantly you will not commit that cardinal sin of telling a client you are too busy to respond effectively to a phone call because you are still reading your overnight messages.

Being able to respond in a fast and accurate manner to questions regarding the market, a ship or a cargo is a major step to becoming a 'fixing machine'.

Yours
VS

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fixing machine - Tip number 1

Being a star broker is alot about good habits. In fact it is mostly about good habits. A habit is a task that comes naturally as opposed to a task that seems like hard work.

An interesting piece of information - according to some smart people out there, it takes 20 days to form a new good habit (or break a bad habit).

So my tip number one is for any broker wanting to be a star - is to establish many good broking 'habits' that can be replicated every day.

Thats all very well I hear you say. But give me something more than just philosophibabble. OK OK! Next posts will outline some of the tasks and processes that can help a broker become a star.

yrs
VS