shredders 101

Filed Under (OP Sales Training) by Don on 22-10-2007

With the heightened awareness of  identity theft many people now look to shred their unwanted documents, mail and credit cards.  I have been selling shredders for over 13 years, long before identity theft became a prominent headline.  Combining todays modern computers and printers, etc.,  it isn’t hard for even a tech junkie like myself to produce professional looking badges, checks or any other kind of document necessary.  The No. 1 rule for everyone in every office or household today should be SHRED EVERYTHING!  It doesn’t matter how harmless the junk mail may seem don’t take any risks, shred everything that comes in that has your name on it.  Same thing applies to businesses, shred everything.

Years ago the only shredder available was a “strip cut” shredder, sometimes referred to as spaghetti shred.  These shredded strips were typically about 1/4″ in width and as long as the paper that was fed into it.  So if you were shredding computer paper the strips were as long as your printouts.  During the Iran hostage crisis the embassy personnel shredded all sorts of classified materials under the impression that this would destroy the information.  Instead the Iranians brought in people that spent countless hours reassembling the shredded documents in their entirety.  That led to the development of the cross cut shredder, also called confetti-cut. 

The confetti-cut shredder has been upgraded now to a new line called micro-shred.  You can still find strip shredders, confetti-cut and now there is micro fine shredders.  These micro shred machines have an average shred size of  1/32″ x 5/32″ or .8mm x 4.2mm.  The issue in selling these machines is sales people don’t explain the differences in the machines and especially the importance of the number of sheets-per-pass.  I see people buying confetti cut shredders that will only shred 4-6 pages per pass and they will not perform to even the lowest of standards.  If you were to go to a stack of papers and pick up a handful, the average quantity studies have shown is that you would have picked up about 17 sheets of paper.  When you shred an envelope you automatically have 2 sheets of paper, not to mention it is usually heavier than the 20lb sheet the machine is rated for.  The average envelopes contains 3 sheets of paper that is either bi-folded (2 folds) or tri-folded (3 folds).  If the sheets are tri-folded you now have the equivilant of 9 sheets of paper plus the envelope totaling 11 sheets.  If you just purchased a shredder rated for 4-6 sheets per pass you wasted your money!  I personally use a Fellowes PowerShred C420C and it confetti shreds up to 24 sheets per pass and I have junk mail that nearly meets those specs.  If I do, then so do you and everyone else.  I’m not saying that everyone needs a $1000+ shredder but the cheap sub-$100 shredders on the market today aren’t worth the carton they come in.  If you are going to sell shredders then suggest a model that will shred at least 12-14 pages minimum.  This page count should be your starting point to the machine you suggest.  I also recommend that you invest in a shredder to use for a demo unit.  I used to keep a machine that would shred 17-19 pages, had its own waste basket and came with castors that made it easy to roll around the office.  I would leave the machine on demo for two weeks and sold the prospect a shredder nearly 90% of the time.  I kept two or three different models on hand for different types of clients. The machine sold itself nearly every time!

One last thing of critical importance.  OIL your shredder!  Sorry for the caps, I hate to shout but I cannot express enough the importance of telling people to please oil your shredder at least once per month.  It’s very easy or you can buy handy oiling sheets that come prepackaged so you don’t get oil on your hands.  But if done right you won’t get any oil on your hands anyway!  When I was out making regular client calls I always kept a bottle of shredder oil in my SUV so when I arrived at a clients office that had purchased a shredder from me I would take it in and offer to oil their shredder for them just as a value-added service.  Most times when they saw how easy it was they would tell me they could do it themselves.  I rarely ever discounted the price of the shredder oil (or the shredder bags) either because it was an maintenance item.  There are a lot of great shredder manufacturers on the market such as Fellowes, HSM, Olympia, Intimus, Dahle, Martin Yale, GBC, and MBM.  Educate yourself on selling this very necessary product.  It’s fun and the equipment sells itself.  Good Luck!

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