Growing with Relative Ease

How to Grow Your Electronics Recycling Business with Relative Ease

By David R. Powelson

Re-thinking how your electronics recycling business can grow in our current industry climate can be one of the most profitable uses of your time.  Because there are essentially two schools of thought, you can:

  • Make it easy for customers to buy from you – This method is in alignment with what customers prefer.  They prefer to be “in control.”  It’s also in perfect alignment with what small companies can afford.
  • Develop a comprehensive market and selling program – This includes various methods focused on convincing prospects to buy from your company when their timing compels them to make a purchase decision.

This method “fights the current” and is unnatural because customers are typically suspicious of sellers. They fear being manipulated and making a wrong decision- thus “buyer’s remorse” is something they dread. Proponents of this school of thought are quick to point out that a great sales program overcomes these objections.  It’s an uphill battle, hugely expensive and, in fact, the outcome is uncertain. In addition, tracking your costs vs. rewards can be challenging.

The bottom line for small companies is that successful expenditures must provide an immediate return.  It’s why being easy to buy from makes sense. In contrast, big companies who can afford extremely large advertising budgets (blimp advertising) and other image producing methods can afford to “roll the dice” and wait to see what method works best.

Big companies advertise and conduct public relations programs to develop their brand.   Eventually a customer wants their product or service and makes a connection to the “blimp” and heads to their “branded” store to make a purchase.    Big companies also are eager to finance “face-to face” prospecting with highly paid salespeople.   Their investment in building a relationship is easily measured in the thousands of dollars.   There are no guaranteed results.   Why? Because a paradigm shift has occurred.

  • Today, 90% of buyers turn to the internet first.   When it’s time to buy, buyers prefer the internet since it gives them unbiased information and a level playing field. Customers want to be in control of their decisions.  They perceive sales techniques as “manipulative.”   The role of conventional marketing, advertising and direct selling are, by design, a way to change perceptions.

Buying versus Marketing & Sales – an Economist’s View

In the buying method, an economist views the cost for information for an “immediate buyer” as a finder’s fee. We here at ShredTronics like this method because the majority of our partners are local, independently owned document destruction providers. Because 80% closing rates are common with ShredTronics, the actual financing source of the finder’s fee is the buyer – not from the cash flow reserves of the business itself.    If accountants and economists could agree they would classify the finder’s fee as a “cost of sales.”   Both do agree the cash flow advantage from using the buying method is superior.

The timing of when an operating expense is taken is the major distinction between a “finder’s fee” and marketing and sales costs.   Finder’s fees are incurred concurrent with the sales transaction.  Marketing and sales costs are front-end loaded, more expensive and slower in producing quantifiable results.  For example, the costs of the “blimp” or prospecting with high-priced sales people occurs months or even years before any economic benefit is received.  The cash flow drain is normally huge for an extended “sales process” of this nature. If you are a big enough organization, these costs are expected and planned for annually.

Hence, this way of advertising suits a big business – but it is potentially disastrous to a small business’s cash flow.  The reason is simple: the playing field is not level when it comes to available resources.  It also explains why big businesses are fond of starting out a contractual relationship with a customer with extremely attractive terms, essentially losing money in the early months – to create the illusion of a lower overall price. Direct marketing and inexpensive referral services can drastically alter the playing field for the smaller business. ShredTronics can be a great resource for this.

About ShredTronics

ShredTronics is, hands-down, the best continuing source of real-time information about immediate buyers for electronics recycling services. ShredTronics does not provide sales leads.  We supply something far better.   We supply “sales-ready” referrals which include the name, contact information, and type of electronics recycling service needed by a buyer with an immediate need for an electronics destruction and recycling service in your specific company’s service area.

After becoming a network member you may drop our service without cost at any time, and you are entitled to a free replacement of any defective “sales-ready” referral. Your key to business success is your willingness and ability to be “extremely responsive” to the needs of every immediate buyer. There is no better time to join this network.

If you would like more information, give us a call on our Membership Hotline today at (844) 648-4908, or click here to fill out our form


Winning Against Giants

David and Goliath is an old story about how an ordinary man overcame the odds and won against the awesome image and might of a giant. In the Bible story the Philistine giant expected a match-up with another warrior outfitted with body armor, a shield, a javelin, a short spear and a sword.

Goliath looked down at the shepherd boy and took his appearance on the field of battle as a personal insult. Yet minutes later he was stricken in the forehead from a great distance by one of five smooth stones. Shortly thereafter Goliath’s head rolled in the dirt. In today’s terms this was an asymmetrical contest.

How to proceed against giants hasn’t changed over the years. They have giant strengths, for sure, but they also have giant weaknesses. Yet the greatest truth of all is that underdogs, armed with courage and confidence, possess awesome strength too.

Lets talk about how independently owned electronics recycling companies can win in the electronics recycling industry. ShredTronics’ mission is to help independent electronics recyclers be strong and successful in this new era.

Choose to be great (not BIG)

Success and greatness are a choice. Long term and daily goals are essential to being great.   It’s easier to build around core values. However you chose to do it, being great means “unified and focused.” Here’s an example:

Core Values of ShredTronics

  • Unity of effort is built on respecting fellow employees and all other people we encounter, earning trust, demonstrating integrity in what we say and do, and on communicating effectively.
  • We delight our customers thereby creating loyal advocates for our business.
  • We project enthusiasm, fun and passion as we go about performing our job responsibilities.
  • We are committed to continuous improvement and provide visibility to key metrics through a formal reporting system.
  • We are committed to building the best place to work for the best people.

Giants need rule books and policies, contracts and lawyers. They have hierarchies and layers of people. They become bureaucracies. In the end their bureaucracy kills discretionary effort of front-line employees. Gradually, overhead takes over. This requires higher and higher prices. Caring about customers becomes less and less important. Contracts become a substitute for great service and personal contact is lost. Yesterday’s contacts move on.  GIANTS can’t build successful personal relationships.

No matter how bad a GIANT’s service gets or how many conflicts over agreements, you can count on a public relations image that they are “service oriented” and operate with “integrity.” It makes sense to maintain a file of a giant’s public relations foibles.

The quick eat the slow.  The big think they eat the small.

Choose to act fast with every customer opportunity. There’s absolutely no way a big company can care about customers like an entrepreneur. Speed and responsiveness, saying thank you, and telling your customers how much you value their business is key.

People do business with people.  A GIANT relies on “Image”

Small business and giant businesses alike have a need to spread a message about their business.  Giants spend millions, and small electronics recycling businesses must rely on word of mouth.

Refine your elevator speech:  “So what do you do?” a stranger says.

“My company, ABC electronics recycling, is the friendliest and best electronics recycling company in the entire region.  We help businesses and individuals protect the confidentiality of their electronics.  We deliver personalized service.  Our professional drivers are key to our success.  Our customers can be assured of the opportunity to witness the destruction of their records.  Our drivers make certain our customers are delighted and they always thank our customer for their business.   Later we routinely send a written Certificate of Destruction. We’d sure like to add you to our list of happy customers.  Is there a good time we can meet?   Thanks for talking to me, here’s my card.”

Drivers are key.  They meet people every day and can even drop-in at the office next door while servicing a neighboring business.  They should become expert in delivering the company’s elevator speech, can hand out business cards and can become good-will ambassadors.

GIANTS’ advertisements costing millions of dollars telling readers they protect treasures and are trusted to store huge volumes of records for Fortune 500 companies.  The impression they create can’t measure up to the effectiveness of a personal message delivered by an authentic spokesperson.

Don’t be a sheep, you’ll get eaten by wolves

The courage and confidence of running a successful business is unbeatable.  If that’s not you, fake it until it’s true.  Sheep get eaten.   Your personal positive attitude is completely under your control. But back it up with performance.

Growth, Cost leadership, and Profitability will one day help you leave your business having achieved your financial goals. On a personal level this requires iron-willed, effective leadership.


The average business loses 15% of its customers per year.  This implies to grow at 10%, requires huge amounts of new customers.   The best internal method of obtaining referrals is referrals from existing customers. Organic growth is another winning strategy. Some successful companies routinely put extra security containers in each truck. Others have their drivers stay alert for new opportunities during each visit. Friendly drivers who consistently thank customers, are key. Their bond with customers can be priceless.

If these methods don’t provide sufficient growth, you’ll have to go outside.  Here, ShredTronics is hands-down the best and most effective, low cost external way to get a direct flow of new customers.  You will gain access to customers with an immediate need for electronics destruction and/or recycling in your market area. ShredTronics calls these “sales-ready referrals.”

In comparison, to achieve growth through conventional sales programs costs from $700 to $1,000 for each new customer.   This includes advertising, customer relationship management, systems costs, and a sales force.

Cost Leadership through route density

The key to low cost trucking is route density.   Best results come from building routes in your own neighborhood, building along transportation corridors, and building in clusters.  Your drivers are your best sales force, ShredTronics can help pinpoint where referrals come from, and concentrating sales effort in prime areas work – either apart or as a coordinated program.


When every customer is a profit center, every route a profit center, and every truck a profit center you’ve arrived. Nothing like this happens by accident, it is a result of planning and intentional effort.

Use of Contracts

You can be sure giants will make long term contracts a centerpiece of their marketing effort.  It allows them to cut back on service, raise prices while keeping a hand-hold onto their customer’s revenue.

Small companies should learn from this. They should have friendly “letters of agreement” detailing each party’s responsibilities. The term of agreement should also be a number of years, and if agreeable they should be automatically renewable.   This serves to protect your customer base.   Liberal use of the legal term “interference with contractual relations” should discourage GIANTS from poaching your accounts.


Like Goliath, a business giant will be insulted when you compete for business effectively and win.

ShredTronics is like a precisely-guided smooth stone and belongs in your marketing program. We supply independent electronics recycling companies a flow of new customers.  Our sales-ready referrals are like a perfect pitch in baseball.  There’s no guarantee you’ll hit every sales-ready referral out of the park but the batting average of network partners as a group is .810.

We’re here to help, call our Membership Hotline today at (844) 648-4908, or click here to fill out our form