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  1. #1
    1funkybear started this thread.
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    How do I get more customers for my scrap metal business??

    I have had a massive slow down in customers lately coming up to Christmas and in normal months I'm only getting 5 customers a month.

    I have enough money but not enough customers and my profit margins are narrow at this rate.

    I have been spending my business money to get by, it's frustrating.



    Any tips would be massively appreciated!


  2. #2
    ryanw's Avatar
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    5 customers per MONTH?

  3. #3
    t00nces2's Avatar
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    Do you advertise at all? Do you go out and hunt for goodies? What do you do for work other than scrapping, any way to get leads there?

  4. #4
    Patriot76's Avatar
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    The number of customers is immaterial without knowing the commodity, quantity, your business plan, etc. The first question would be what type of scrap are you focused on? Five corporate customers for ewaste might force you to hire help. Five customers with one computer each would not feed your dog for a month. Five average farms for me would be 40 tons of iron plus the nonferrous and computes to a good living at the current prices. If you can provide more information we might be able to help or point you in the right direction to search in the library. Please provide more information.
    Give back more to this world than we take.

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  6. #5
    t00nces2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot76 View Post
    The number of customers is immaterial without knowing the commodity, quantity, your business plan, etc. The first question would be what type of scrap are you focused on? Five corporate customers for ewaste might force you to hire help. Five customers with one computer each would not feed your dog for a month. Five average farms for me would be 40 tons of iron plus the nonferrous and computes to a good living at the current prices. If you can provide more information we might be able to help or point you in the right direction to search in the library. Please provide more information.
    Good points, Patriot76

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  8. #6
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    I made a long response yesterday but it failed to post so here's a shorter version. This advise can apply to any business.

    All businesses rely on sales, even the one man recycling business like I had. So if you can learn to be a better salesman then you will have more customers. You may think this doesn't apply to you because you're just recycling junk but as you progress from curb shopping to acquiring regular customers. When making contact with a potential customer you have to explain why they should do business with you. There are others providing this service so figure out why you may be a better choice. I find quality of service is the best thing to hang onto and this is something to work hard to continue to provide thereby retaining your customers.

    So getting a new customer, figure out potential customers and what you can provide that they are not getting now. It could be as simple as being there on a regular basis, cleaning up after pick up, finishing the job each time.

    Ok so you have a list of potential customers in hand. How should you approach the business? A cold call is when you show up without an appointment and normally not knowing who you want to speak to. Let me start with a fundamental of sales: The four rights of the customer, what you need to tell the customer right off the bat.
    1 Your name
    2 You company's name(if you have one)
    3 The business you and your company is in.
    4 The reason you are standing there talking to your potential customers.

    This may sound silly to you but look at it from the customers view, he/she feel their time is valuable. By telling your customer this up front they know if they may want to talk to you or not. Imagine this response to your intro: "Our company requires we ship all the recyclables back to the main warehouse so we won't be needing your services. That was quick and didn't waste the customer's times or yours. Of course leave a card and say "please call if your situation changes".

    Next how to be successful at your opening statement, making certain not to miss any of the 4 points and making it feel natural.

    Practice looking into a mirror at your own eyes while reciting this opening statement. Example:

    Good morning my name is Mike D...., and I am the owner of Onslow Recycling we recycle metals and electronics. We also specialize in destruction of hard drives and other materials containing sensitive data. The reason for my visit today it to determine if our companies should be doing business together. Do you have some time to speak with me now?

    NEXT IS A BIG ITEM: Shut up and listen, in fact say nothing until he/she responds. That shut up and listen is one of the most powerful techniques you will ever master. When you are not talking the other person feels the need to fill the silence. When they do they often reveal what they really want.

    I have used these techniques selling my recycling services, selling sausage casings(yea the red ring around your bologna) to the tune of $300K+/year in the early 1970's and safety signs and sticky back letters also to over $300/yr in the later 70's, That's back when 300k was a lot of money.

    I have more sales tips if anyone is interested. 73, Mike
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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  10. #7
    mikeinreco's Avatar
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    Yes please good info....I doubt OP cares but there are some out here still reading

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked View Post
    I made a long response yesterday but it failed to post so here's a shorter version. This advise can apply to any business.

    All businesses rely on sales, even the one man recycling business like I had. So if you can learn to be a better salesman then you will have more customers. You may think this doesn't apply to you because you're just recycling junk but as you progress from curb shopping to acquiring regular customers. When making contact with a potential customer you have to explain why they should do business with you. There are others providing this service so figure out why you may be a better choice. I find quality of service is the best thing to hang onto and this is something to work hard to continue to provide thereby retaining your customers.

    So getting a new customer, figure out potential customers and what you can provide that they are not getting now. It could be as simple as being there on a regular basis, cleaning up after pick up, finishing the job each time.

    Ok so you have a list of potential customers in hand. How should you approach the business? A cold call is when you show up without an appointment and normally not knowing who you want to speak to. Let me start with a fundamental of sales: The four rights of the customer, what you need to tell the customer right off the bat.
    1 Your name
    2 You company's name(if you have one)
    3 The business you and your company is in.
    4 The reason you are standing there talking to your potential customers.

    This may sound silly to you but look at it from the customers view, he/she feel their time is valuable. By telling your customer this up front they know if they may want to talk to you or not. Imagine this response to your intro: "Our company requires we ship all the recyclables back to the main warehouse so we won't be needing your services. That was quick and didn't waste the customer's times or yours. Of course leave a card and say "please call if your situation changes".

    Next how to be successful at your opening statement, making certain not to miss any of the 4 points and making it feel natural.

    Practice looking into a mirror at your own eyes while reciting this opening statement. Example:

    Good morning my name is Mike D...., and I am the owner of Onslow Recycling we recycle metals and electronics. We also specialize in destruction of hard drives and other materials containing sensitive data. The reason for my visit today it to determine if our companies should be doing business together. Do you have some time to speak with me now?

    NEXT IS A BIG ITEM: Shut up and listen, in fact say nothing until he/she responds. That shut up and listen is one of the most powerful techniques you will ever master. When you are not talking the other person feels the need to fill the silence. When they do they often reveal what they really want.

    I have used these techniques selling my recycling services, selling sausage casings(yea the red ring around your bologna) to the tune of $300K+/year in the early 1970's and safety signs and sticky back letters also to over $300/yr in the later 70's, That's back when 300k was a lot of money.

    I have more sales tips if anyone is interested. 73, Mike
    I'm game. I don't know what to ask I don't know. The shut up thing is a great idea. I normally try to listen, but making a point to shut my mouth is something I have to try.

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  14. #9
    Patriot76's Avatar
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    Miked,

    You are a gold mine of valuable information and when you offer your insights, smart individuals will be listening, absorbing, and applying your strategies.

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  16. #10
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    Use google maps searches. I zoom in to specific areas and then search for things like "computer repair" or "machine shop" or "HVAC" and see what pops up. Not everything will be relevant and the search won't usually provide everybody who does that but it's a baseline of people to call or visit to see about buying their scrap. And like Miked says, have your pitch practiced and have your FAQ answers ready. As example if you're calling a machine shop that machines aluminum you'll probably need a price ready for aluminum borings for when they ask. The old threads here have hundreds of tips for potential client sources btw. Take the time to read up.

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  18. #11
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    I thought I would add onto my earlier post on sales techniques.

    After meeting the customer and giving him/her the four rights of the customers you need to transition into the sales "pitch". Successful sales people are not flimflam artist, nor are they fast talkers who don't give enough room in the conversation for questions or objections. You must convey why this company will want to do business with you, remember it doesn't matter what the product is you are selling service: You are reliable, you complete the job and clean up after, you are competitive in pricing.

    Earlier I mentioned objections to your sale pitch. Overcoming objections is an important thing to learn. You likely do some of this now but perfecting your techniques will put you way ahead. Just like all other aspects of your business you need to be as efficient in your sales efforts as you can be. The shotgun approach to sales would have you knock on every door in your area but that is not good use of your time. Like was suggested in another post in this thread targeting the type of business you know has material you are interested and knocking on those doors will get you where you want to be much quicker.

    Ok let's get back to over coming objections. Without making this waay long winded, don't ask yes or no questions. This takes practice. Often potential customers with turn you down with a statement that does not convey the real reason why they are rejecting your pitch. That does not mean they are evil, bad, stupid. There are many reasons why they will not immediately give you the real reason. I'll try what I hope could be a relatable scenario, ask a woman out on a date. "hey want to go to dinner this Friday?, (her) No I'm washing my hair. (you) What sort of a date would you like to go on? Now she can say no to the second question but it would not be a proper answer to your question. Take it a little further. Instead of "no" she says I would love to go dancing with a very tall man. Well we have discovered why she said no to your first question, you are only 5'5" so not qualified in her eyes.

    With practice you find you are able to discover the real objection to your pitch and then over come it. Now the MOST powerful and for many the most difficult to master in sales. SILENCE. Ask your question and then shut up. He/she who speaks first loses. The silence can be very difficult for many who get uncomfortable and feel the need to fill it with what turns out to be defeating their own objective. This silence can be practiced with friends and family in normal conversations or even more fun with salesmen pitching you.

    These have been brief explanations of sales techniques that are very powerful when you practice and use them. One of the benefits of using the "over coming objections" is finding out you have no reason to work with a particular company you have targeted and can quickly move on. Otherwise you identify to the potential customer why they should be doing business with you. 73, Mike
    Last edited by miked; 12-31-2020 at 10:01 AM.

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  20. #12
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    I know I'm going to get flack... but this is why I hate salespeople. If I'm selling, I want people to come to me because of what I have and the value I provide. I do not, and will not, beg for a sale.

    My learning was peppered with "question authority". And I will continue to until I die. Which I hope isn't dragged on for a hundred years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IamTheGreatest View Post
    I know I'm going to get flack... but this is why I hate salespeople. If I'm selling, I want people to come to me because of what I have and the value I provide. I do not, and will not, beg for a sale.

    My learning was peppered with "question authority". And I will continue to until I die. Which I hope isn't dragged on for a hundred years.

    "If I'm selling, I want people to come to me because of what I have and the value I provide."
    So how do I know you have value to provide??

    I have noted over the years the difference between retail sales and business to business sales. Retail is almost entirely that of order takers. The customer arrives knows what he wants and takes it to the cashier. Even in auto sales the questions are normally, "do you know which model you want?" and "do you know how much you want to pay each month?". Order takers although I have met some really talented auto salesmen.

    "I do not, and will not, beg for a sale."

    Nothing in what I wrote should not nor was intended convey any desperation in my seller advice.

    If you don't sell the service/product then there is no reason to produce product or perform the service. If you don't introduce your product or service to potential customers then it's unlikely they will become your customer.

    Your response suggests to me a very jaded experience with a salesperson somewhere in your life. Think beyond your current experiences and grow your business. 73, Mike

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  23. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by IamTheGreatest View Post
    I know I'm going to get flack... but this is why I hate salespeople. If I'm selling, I want people to come to me because of what I have and the value I provide. I do not, and will not, beg for a sale.

    My learning was peppered with "question authority". And I will continue to until I die. Which I hope isn't dragged on for a hundred years.


    I also hate sales people. But the best salespeople are the ones that don't need to sell and can just provide details without pressure or desperation.

    For example one time I went into a mattress store expecting to get hounded and pressured into a sale or an expensive model I didnt need, I actually had the one I wanted picked out online and wanted to just try it out before buying. I went in and I asked where the bed was and the lady took me too it, and asked what I like about it most, which was how soft it was. Then that lady said oh, if you like that one maybe try some of these too and I actually found one that was suggested that was even better and pretty significantly cheaper, and there was no begging or pressure at all for a sale. One of the better sales people out there.

    I've also found that when you are selling something you believe in, or selling yourself, it often doesn't feel like selling. It just feels like telling the truth and giving out info. Everyone is selling, it is part of life, selling and proving/providing value. You gotta sell yourself to get a date, make friends, get jobs, etc. It is a valuable skill to have and doesnt have to be sleezy used car or snake oil type stuff, that is just stereotypically what people think of 'salesmen' of all types of products.

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