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Clients: The Strategy To Attract the Ones You Want Avoiding To Take The Ones You Don’t

Clients: The Strategy To Attract the Ones You Want Avoiding To Take The Ones You Don’t

July 01, 202412 min read

Sam Barrili, the waste management alchemist, is here to share insights that can transform your business. 

Today, we're diving into a critical topic: attracting the right clients while avoiding the wrong ones. 

Your clients aren't just numbers on a ledger; they're pivotal to your success. They can elevate your company or, conversely, pull it down. Let's break this down, starting with an essential distinction: clients vs. customers.

Understanding Clients vs. Customers

In the waste management industry, we often use the terms "clients" and "customers" interchangeably. However, there's a significant difference between the two:


Customers are individuals or businesses that purchase your services and are satisfied with the results. They pay their bills on time and utilize your services as needed but don't engage beyond that transaction. They are transactional in nature, focusing on the immediate need and solution. While they are essential for business, they don't necessarily contribute to your growth or improvement. They do the minimum required to keep the service running smoothly and don't typically provide feedback or engage in a deeper relationship with your company.


Clients, on the other hand, go beyond mere satisfaction. They are happy with your service and actively support and engage with your company. They understand and follow your procedures, respect your protocols, and often provide valuable feedback. Their relationship with you is dynamic and mutually beneficial. They are invested in your success because they see the value in a long-term partnership. Clients are more likely to collaborate on improving services, offer constructive criticism, and even refer new business to you.

Why the Distinction Matters

Understanding the distinction between customers and clients is crucial because it helps you identify where to invest your resources. Clients are more likely to provide consistent revenue, be loyal during challenging times, and help you refine and improve your services. They become ambassadors for your brand, advocating for your business within their networks.

The Impact of Wrong Customers

Not all business is good business. Wrong customers can have a detrimental effect on your company. They might:

Disregard Procedures

Wrong customers may not follow your waste management protocols, leading to inefficiencies and potential safety hazards. For instance, if you have specific guidelines for separating hazardous waste from general waste, a wrong customer might ignore these, causing contamination and increasing disposal costs.

Ignore Security Measures

Failing to adhere to security protocols can endanger your staff and operations. For example, if a customer ignores safety guidelines for disposing of medical or chemical waste, it poses significant health risks to your employees.

Create a Negative Environment

Their behavior can deter the right customers, who value and respect your procedures and security measures. If a potential client sees that your current customers are not adhering to high standards, they may assume your company lacks professionalism and look elsewhere.

Financial Impact

Wrong customers can also be financially draining. They might delay payments, dispute invoices, or require more resources to manage due to their non-compliance with your protocols. This adds unnecessary strain on your operations and finances.

Operational Disruptions

When wrong customers do not respect your procedures, it can lead to disruptions in your workflow. For example, improper waste sorting can slow down the recycling process, reduce efficiency, and increase operational costs.

Attracting the Right Clients

To build a thriving waste management business, you need to focus on attracting and retaining the right clients. Here’s how:

1. Define Your Ideal Client

Create a profile of your ideal client. What industries do they operate in? What is their approach to waste management? What values do they hold in common with your company? 

For example, your ideal client might be a manufacturing company that prioritizes sustainability, follows strict waste disposal protocols, and values long-term partnerships. They should align with your company's mission and be committed to maintaining high standards in waste management.

2. Communicate Clearly

Be transparent about your procedures, security measures, and protocols. Make it clear what you expect from your clients and what they can expect from you. Clear communication helps set the right expectations and ensures that both parties are on the same page.

For instance, during your initial consultation, provide detailed information about your waste management processes, compliance requirements, and the importance of adhering to these protocols. Use this opportunity to educate potential clients about the benefits of following your guidelines.

3. Provide Exceptional Service

Go above and beyond to ensure your clients are satisfied. Listen to their feedback and make necessary adjustments. Exceptional service not only retains clients but also turns them into advocates for your business.

Consider offering personalized services tailored to the specific needs of each client. Conduct regular follow-ups to gather feedback and address any concerns promptly. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction and helps build a strong, trusting relationship.

4. Build Relationships

Fostering strong relationships with your clients is crucial for long-term success. Here are some strategies to help you build and maintain these connections:

Regular Check-ins

Schedule regular check-ins with your clients to discuss their needs and gather feedback. These meetings can be formal or informal, depending on the client's preference. Regular communication shows that you value their input and are committed to meeting their needs. It also provides an opportunity to address any issues before they become significant problems.

Personalized Communication

Tailor your communication to each client. Use their names, reference past conversations, and show that you remember their specific needs and preferences. Personalization makes clients feel valued and appreciated. For example, if a client mentioned a particular concern in a previous conversation, follow up on that issue specifically to show that you were listening and have taken action.

Acknowledge Contributions

Recognize and acknowledge the contributions your clients make to your business. Whether it's through testimonials, case studies, or simple thank-you notes, showing appreciation can strengthen your relationship. For instance, you might feature a client in a spotlight on your website or social media, highlighting their commitment to sustainable waste management practices.

Client Appreciation Events

Hosting client appreciation events, whether virtual or in-person, can be a great way to build relationships. These events can range from webinars on industry trends to casual networking events. They provide an opportunity to connect with clients on a personal level and show your appreciation for their business.

Exclusive Offers and Incentives

Offer exclusive deals, discounts, or incentives to your loyal clients. This not only rewards them for their loyalty but also encourages them to continue using your services. For example, you could offer a discount on additional services or provide early access to new offerings.

5. Leverage Testimonials and Case Studies

Showcase success stories from your ideal clients. This not only highlights your expertise but also attracts similar clients. Here's how you can effectively use testimonials and case studies:

Collect Testimonials

Ask your satisfied clients for testimonials. These can be short quotes or detailed reviews about their experience with your services. Display these testimonials prominently on your website, social media, and marketing materials to build credibility and trust.

Create Case Studies

Develop detailed case studies that outline how your services have helped clients achieve their goals. Include specific metrics, challenges faced, and solutions provided. Case studies provide potential clients with a clear understanding of the value you offer and how you can address their specific needs.

Use Visual Content

Incorporate visual content such as before-and-after photos, infographics, and videos to make your testimonials and case studies more engaging. Visual content can help potential clients better understand the impact of your services.

6. Implement a Vetting Process

Screen potential customers to ensure they align with your values and procedures. It's better to turn away business that doesn't fit than to compromise your standards. Here are some steps for implementing an effective vetting process:

Define Criteria

Establish clear criteria for what constitutes an ideal client. This might include factors such as industry, size, compliance with regulations, and commitment to recycling. Use these criteria to evaluate potential clients during the initial consultation.

Conduct Assessments

Perform thorough assessments during the onboarding process. Ask potential clients about their current waste management practices, their goals, and their willingness to adhere to your protocols. This helps you determine if they are a good fit for your services.

Use Contracts and Agreements

Clearly outline your expectations in contracts and service agreements. Include specific clauses related to compliance with procedures, safety measures, and communication. This ensures that both parties understand their responsibilities and helps prevent misunderstandings.

Monitor Compliance

Regularly monitor clients' compliance with your procedures and protocols. If a client consistently fails to meet your standards, have a plan in place to address the issue. This might involve additional training, renegotiating terms, or, in extreme cases, terminating the relationship.

7. Educate Your Clients

Educating your clients about the importance of proper waste management practices can help ensure they adhere to your protocols. Here's how you can effectively educate your clients:

Provide Resources

Create and share educational resources such as guides, videos, and webinars. These resources can cover topics such as waste segregation, recycling best practices, and regulatory compliance. Make these resources easily accessible on your website and through client communication channels.

Offer Training

Conduct training sessions for your clients' staff to ensure they understand and follow your procedures. This can be done in person or through virtual platforms. Tailor the training to address the specific needs and challenges of each client.

Stay Updated on Regulations

Keep your clients informed about any changes in regulations that may impact their waste management practices. This helps them stay compliant and demonstrates your commitment to their success.

8. Focus on Recycling

Recycling is becoming increasingly important in the waste management industry. Attracting clients who prioritize recycling can benefit your business in several ways:

Highlight Your Recycling Practices

Showcase your commitment to recycling in your marketing materials, website, and client communications. Highlight initiatives such as recycling programs, waste-to-energy projects, and efforts to reduce landfill usage. Make it clear that you do your best to recycle the largest part of the waste you collect.

For example, you could create a dedicated section on your website that outlines your initiatives, including metrics on waste diverted from landfills, the new goods produced starting from the secondary raw materials you saved, and partnerships with environmental organizations.

Educate Clients on How To Dispose For Recycling Practices

Provide your clients with information and resources on adopting recycling practices. This could include tips on reducing waste generation, improving recycling rates, and embracing circular economy principles.

Consider hosting live events, webinars, or workshops focused on “how to recycle” the different waste streams you collect. Invite industry experts to speak on topics such as the latest advancements in recycling technology or the benefits of composting organic waste.

Partner with Environmental Organizations

Form partnerships with environmental organizations. This can enhance your credibility and attract clients committed to environmental responsibility. For instance, collaborate with local environmental groups, certification bodies, or green business networks.

Promote these partnerships through your marketing channels to demonstrate your commitment to save the largest amount of natural resources through recycling and to attract like-minded clients.

Offer Green Certifications

Develop a recycling award or certification program for your clients, recognizing their efforts to adopt practices focused on increasing recyclable quantities. This can serve as an incentive for clients to improve their practices and can also be a valuable marketing tool for them.

Provide clients with certification badges to display on their websites and marketing materials, showcasing their commitment to recycling. This will strengthen your relationship with existing clients and attract potential clients who value environmental responsibility.

9. Use Technology to Enhance Client Relationships

Leveraging technology can help you manage client relationships more effectively and efficiently. Here are some ways to use technology to your advantage:

Client Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

Implement a CRM system to manage client interactions and data. A CRM can help you track communication, manage contracts, schedule follow-ups, and analyze client behavior. This ensures that you stay organized and can provide personalized service to each client.

Choose a CRM that integrates with other tools you use, such as email marketing platforms and project management software, to streamline your operations.

Online Portals and Dashboards

Provide clients with access to online portals or dashboards where they can view their waste management data, track service requests, and access educational resources. This transparency builds trust and allows clients to see the value of your services.

Make sure the portal is user-friendly and offers real-time updates. Consider incorporating features such as automated reporting and notifications to keep clients informed.

Mobile Apps

Develop a mobile app that allows clients to schedule services, report issues, and communicate with your team on the go. A mobile app can enhance convenience for your clients and improve their overall experience.

Include features such as push notifications for service reminders, GPS tracking for collection trucks, and in-app messaging for quick communication.

10. Measure and Improve Client Satisfaction

Regularly measuring client satisfaction helps you understand what you're doing well and where you can improve. Here’s how to effectively measure and enhance client satisfaction:

Surveys and Feedback Forms

Conduct regular surveys and feedback forms to gather insights from your clients. Ask specific questions about their satisfaction with your services, communication, and overall experience. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement.

Keep surveys short and focused to encourage participation. Consider offering incentives, such as discounts on future services, to clients who complete the surveys.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge client loyalty. NPS measures how likely clients are to recommend your services to others. It’s a simple yet powerful tool to assess client satisfaction and identify your most loyal clients.

Regularly calculate your NPS and track changes over time. Use the insights gained to develop strategies for improving client loyalty and addressing areas of concern.

Client Advisory Boards

Establish a client advisory board composed of representatives from your key client segments. This board can provide ongoing feedback, suggest improvements, and help you stay attuned to client needs and industry trends.

Hold regular meetings with the advisory board to discuss new initiatives, gather input on proposed changes, and share updates on your company's performance.

As this article explains, attracting the right clients while avoiding the wrong ones can significantly impact the success of your waste management company. 

Understanding the difference between clients and customers and being strategic in your approach can build a loyal, supportive client base that enhances your operations and reputation.

Remember, it's not just about filling your schedule with jobs; it's about building a community of clients who respect and value your work. These clients will stick with you and become advocates for your business, driving long-term success.

By defining your ideal client, communicating, providing exceptional service, building strong relationships, leveraging testimonials and case studies, implementing a vetting process, educating your clients, focusing on recycling, using technology, and measuring client satisfaction, you can create a robust strategy to attract the clients you want and avoid those you don't.

To Your Best!

Sam Barrili

The Waste Management Alchemist

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Sam Barrili

Sam Barrili I'm known as the go-to guy for helping waste management companies execute growth strategies I started my journey in this field in 2009 when I finished my degree in Toxicological Chemistry and joined a wastewater treatment company to develop its market. Since then, I helped dozens of waste management companies in America and Europe increase their annual profits by over 25 million dollars thanks to my SAM Method.

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