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Growing a MFG business

Welder1986

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I wanted to share some thought's on marketing that I have found helped me personally or didn't.

My business focus has been changing from motorcycles to, in my opinion, a more realistic and profitable side of metal manufacturing and fabrication.

Having done post card mailers with mixed results and cold emailing every possible business I could think of I found it was time to break out of my comfort zone and start banging on doors.

The results vary from full tours of shops to "beat it kid stop wasting our time".

I have acquired more long term customers from basically just stopping by and leaving a business card. Also some of these new customers are ones I had direct mailed a ton of times over! I tend to think the mailers get discarded often as spam and that they work more with residential customers (handrails, gates and misc jobs) in my experience.

Lastly I have had referrals from other customers like small machine shops to shops they know sub out weld/fab work which has also worked out well. To me it's much easier going to the secretary asking for Jim Smith via a referral from John Doe but again this could never be the case for every place so you just have to do it.

Would love to hear any thoughts or discussions on what works for you guys from a manufacturing side or things.
 

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ZCP

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Crews to get it with:
architects / engineers
gc's (find the assistant project managers first ... they will be more likely to talk to you and will eventually move up)
larger fab shops need subs!!! create joint ventures

make sure you are in government / local trade groups for correct SIC codes
bid a lot of stuff
 

Sheens

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Have you considered metal fabrication or framing for staircases in commercial or custom homes?
 
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Welder1986

Welder1986

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Have you considered metal fabrication or framing for staircases in commercial or custom homes?
Yes metal fab all the way. Have not done anything for staircases.

Is this popular in your area?
 

ExaltedLife

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In the small town where I'm from there is a business dedicated entirely to building metal gratings and they employ maybe 50 people. So there must be some demand in that.

This kind of thing:

 

Walter Hay

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I wanted to share some thought's on marketing that I have found helped me personally or didn't.

My business focus has been changing from motorcycles to, in my opinion, a more realistic and profitable side of metal manufacturing and fabrication.

Having done post card mailers with mixed results and cold emailing every possible business I could think of I found it was time to break out of my comfort zone and start banging on doors.

The results vary from full tours of shops to "beat it kid stop wasting our time".

I have acquired more long term customers from basically just stopping by and leaving a business card. Also some of these new customers are ones I had direct mailed a ton of times over! I tend to think the mailers get discarded often as spam and that they work more with residential customers (handrails, gates and misc jobs) in my experience.

Lastly I have had referrals from other customers like small machine shops to shops they know sub out weld/fab work which has also worked out well. To me it's much easier going to the secretary asking for Jim Smith via a referral from John Doe but again this could never be the case for every place so you just have to do it.

Would love to hear any thoughts or discussions on what works for you guys from a manufacturing side or things.
I have not been in manufacturing for many years, but I want to comment on your sales effort.

You have hit on a good idea by leaving your business cards, but I suggest that you could get better results by leaving a postcard, or maybe a bigger business card with more information.

Don't just list what you do, but tell them why someone should want to have you do it for them.

This is similar to the "warm calling" technique that I and my franchisees used with great success when selling B2B.

Those cards will usually be read, and if your message is convincing you will get calls.

Keep trying. Good luck.

Walter
 

Sheens

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Is this popular in your area?
I know of it from the custom mountain homes in my area! This could very well be too niched down for most places. I will try to gather more details for you and report back.

On another note, I'm pretty excited to use cold rolled steel on the exterior and interior of the house we are building. I am not if this would be suitable for your area but if you do this and are able to show contractors or owners the option it may get a foot in the door.

I apologize for derailing this off of marketing! The more subs (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, interior designers, and contractors that you can meet and work with.. the faster the referrals pour in.) My fiance is a contractor and word of mouth is how we have chosen any subs for the current house.

Excited for you and to follow this thread!
 
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Welder1986

Welder1986

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I have not been in manufacturing for many years, but I want to comment on your sales effort.

You have hit on a good idea by leaving your business cards, but I suggest that you could get better results by leaving a postcard, or maybe a bigger business card with more information.

Don't just list what you do, but tell them why someone should want to have you do it for them.

This is similar to the "warm calling" technique that I and my franchisees used with great success when selling B2B.

Those cards will usually be read, and if your message is convincing you will get calls.

Keep trying. Good luck.

Walter
Thanks Walter

Great points. I have been thinking getting some flyers made listing my capabilities - fabrication and equipment wise that I can leave with a card.

I was thinking of a short paragraph like you mentioned explaining the benefits of working with my company.

I am unfamiliar with warm calling??
 
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Welder1986

Welder1986

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I know of it from the custom mountain homes in my area! This could very well be too niched down for most places. I will try to gather more details for you and report back.

On another note, I'm pretty excited to use cold rolled steel on the exterior and interior of the house we are building. I am not if this would be suitable for your area but if you do this and are able to show contractors or owners the option it may get a foot in the door.

I apologize for derailing this off of marketing! The more subs (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, interior designers, and contractors that you can meet and work with.. the faster the referrals pour in.) My fiance is a contractor and word of mouth is how we have chosen any subs for the current house.

Excited for you and to follow this thread!
Thank you for the thoughts and no need to apologize!

I need to reach out to more subs.

Curious how you are integrating steel on the house you are building?

Also is that your pup?? :)
 

Walter Hay

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Thanks Walter

Great points. I have been thinking getting some flyers made listing my capabilities - fabrication and equipment wise that I can leave with a card.

I was thinking of a short paragraph like you mentioned explaining the benefits of working with my company.

I am unfamiliar with warm calling??
Warm calling is my own invented name for the process of leaving information with a receptionist and saying nothing more than "Would you kindly pass this on to the person who would make such decisions?"

In practice I found that a big percentage of those drop-offs resulted in phone calls asking me to go back and talk to the decision maker. When I went back that was a warm call and almost inevitably led to a sale.

You can be sure of a better reception if you can leave a sample of your craft. A friend is a welder and I would call him an artist with a welding machine. As a side hustle he makes miniature tools such as a mallet. The head is welded to the handle and the weld is perfect.

If you choose to do something like that, leaving a tiny sample, it will speak volumes for your ability.

Walter
 

Sheens

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Also is that your pup?? :)
He is, meet Harry! The sweetest, naughtiest rescue we adopted almost 2 years ago. Complete with an unknown age (maybe 7 now, heh), unknown history besides the times he was picked up off the streets or abandoned at a shelter, and heartworms. German shepherd and greyhound. Way too smart and way too fast, not sure what I was thinking besides not being able to see him go back into a cage. Now heartworm free and running around free on our land as often as he pleases. :)


Curious how you are integrating steel on the house you are building?
The steel we are using is more to the effect of full coverage for the exterior chimney and then an exterior reclaimed corrugated metal wainscoting. The main siding, fascia, and soffit will be reclaimed barn wood.

Metal roofs are extremely common here as well for the snow but we built a cold roof system and will use shingles to hold the snow. We want to avoid gutters but will have a metal drip edge. The timber-framed patio is likely to have a metal mechanical lock standing seam roof.

As this place is an extensive remodel that was left with only a few exterior walls after the demo of it we also need to re-do the interior fireplace and will use the cold steel for the surrounding finish and maybe the adjoining wall as I enjoy the esthetics of it!

My partner in crime likes to tease me that when I do start talking I usually use more words than I need to. :blush:

So one more thought before I wrap up is that we used large exposed timbers but in many luxury homes metal post and beams, staircases, and overall a lot of steel structure is used here. I think you are on a great track!
 

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Welder1986

Welder1986

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 7, 2016
51
110
135
32
Warm calling is my own invented name for the process of leaving information with a receptionist and saying nothing more than "Would you kindly pass this on to the person who would make such decisions?"

In practice I found that a big percentage of those drop-offs resulted in phone calls asking me to go back and talk to the decision maker. When I went back that was a warm call and almost inevitably led to a sale.

You can be sure of a better reception if you can leave a sample of your craft. A friend is a welder and I would call him an artist with a welding machine. As a side hustle he makes miniature tools such as a mallet. The head is welded to the handle and the weld is perfect.

If you choose to do something like that, leaving a tiny sample, it will speak volumes for your ability.

Walter
Hmm between this and a detailed flyer i'm betting my results would be much better. Genius! Thank you

What did you leave with receptionists that you visited?
A card and brochure for your services?
 

NC Bidniss

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While drumming up new business is always a positive, I want to add something for you to think about. You of course want to make more money, but more sales isn't the only way. Look at your costs and your processes. What can you do to be more efficient? Where can you cut costs?

I own a 151k sf facility that is currently home to a manufacturer. They have pretty incredible sales numbers, but a not-so-stellar net. When I see their facility, I see a lot of places where efficiency could save them loads of money. Now, they won't listen to me, but as long as they pay their rent, who cares? :smile:

Really though, manufacturing can benefit just as much from cutting costs as it can from increasing sales, if not more. Creating a more efficient process as a small company and carrying that forward will make life a lot easier for you down the road. Your sales will eventually reach a ceiling as your current process reaches peak capacity. If you start improving your efficiency now, you can raise the height of that ceiling in the future. If you stick with the old, inefficient processes, it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to change direction in the future. I've seen it happen, and it's not pretty.
 

Walter Hay

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Hmm between this and a detailed flyer i'm betting my results would be much better. Genius! Thank you

What did you leave with receptionists that you visited?
A card and brochure for your services?
I left a few items that include a brochure, business card, and a sample. They were all attached with a large paper clip.

My opinion is that it was the sample that ensured that the bundle was delivered to the right person.

I wish you every success.

Walter
 

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