How to Be Your Customer’s Superhero Part 1: Qualifying Clients

Editor’s Note: This is the first piece in a four-part series called “How to Be Your Customer’s Superhero.” Throughout the series – with the help of Every Day Heroes from some of the nation’s leading energy solution providers—we’ll share best practices and tips for identifying and overcoming objections when it comes to presenting energy efficiency solutions.


If you could pick any superpower, which one would it be? The ability to leap customer objections in a single bound? The power to create multiple customer touchpoints out of thin air?

What if you could see the future? And anticipate obstacles before they cause problems and navigate around them with ease? What if you could do all of that and more—all without getting bit by a radioactive spider, being blasted by gamma rays or flying around in an iron suit?

What if you could harness the power of utility data to engage your clients in effective energy conversations? Over the next few posts, with help from Every Day Heroes who work in the mechanical and building automation arena, we’ll share tips and tactics about how to use common objections to create a strategic framework that can help you connect with your client’s concerns, close sales and strengthen your customer relationships in the process. In short, we’ll show you how to become your client’s superhero.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that the first step toward saving the day by providing effective energy solutions is to qualify your clients, both early in the relationship and throughout the entire sales process.


Ask Business-Oriented Questions

Every Day Hero Michael Trapani, Project Developer at McKenney’s, suggested an excellent way to jump-start any energy conversation: “Asking strategic business questions that focus on solving your client’s pain points differentiates you from your competitors. Understanding your client’s business and putting yourself on their side of the table positions you as a trusted strategic partner.”

Empathy is key. By seeking to understand your client’s business problems, you give yourself the ability to be two places at once: on their side of the table, trying to understand and assess potential solutions from their perspective, and across the table from them, as a vendor and trusted partner who can deliver solutions.


Know Your Verticals and Their Business Priorities

Naturally, different vertical segments have different priorities. Knowing that difference is key. Employing simple business metrics and data visualization tools can help you cut to the chase. Everyday Hero Andy Lufkin, Project Manager at ACCO Engineered Systems, puts it this way: “I engage clients by showing them work we’ve already done where the customer saved money. Having simple visuals with some clear talking points really gets their attention.”

For customers whose energy use and consumption directly affects their bottom line, they have a powerful incentive to understand exactly how their buildings are doing. Asking the right business questions can help you quickly assess how their energy use and energy efficiency impacts ROI. You can also weed out others who simply don’t have the budget, cash flow or organizational will to make meaningful changes.


Leverage Energy Benchmarking

As we’ve seen so far, contractors and other building professionals who can effectively align their energy solutions with a customer’s business and strategic goals give themselves a major advantage over competitors who don’t. Simple energy performance metrics – like benchmarking – are an excellent, low cost tool. Scott Kattwinkel, Optimization Engineer at Damuth Trane says it this way: “Benchmarking data helps us asses how a building is doing right off the bat. On top of that, we want to know that if we bring something on the table, the client will proceed with it. That really helps us avoid wasting time.”

Without a doubt, leveraging energy performance metrics can help you to identify opportunities and implement solutions while assessing your customer’s willingness to make meaningful changes. If your client doesn’t see the value in analyzing and understanding basic benchmarking data, chances are they won’t want to prioritize potential energy efficiency improvements.

In the end, time spent qualifying clients is never a waste, even if you determine there’s nothing there. To demonstrate value and expertise – and truly position yourself as your customer’s trusted energy advisor – you need present data driven solutions that can make a real difference to both building performance and your customer’s bottom line. And the only way to do that is by qualifying your clients with the right set of questions.

Throughout this blog series, we’ll share tips and tactics about how to use common objections to create a strategic framework that can help you connect with your client’s concerns, close sales and strengthen your customer relationships in the process.


Want to learn more sales best practices from industry leaders? Download the full whitepaper—

Tips from Industry Experts: Leveraging Utility Data to Drive Client Engagement


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