Now that you’ve chosen your prospecting methods and your target niche market, it’s time to make a list of prospects. In order to do this effectively, you must first decide how many prospects you would like to initially target. A good rule of thumb is to start with a list that you believe you can work for several months. Track your progress and results, and then make adjustments when making your next list.
Remember, becoming a successful energy broker is more than just selling energy contracts and kWh with retail energy suppliers. It is about building new relationships with customers, managing energy sales lead data, explaining energy contract language to prospects, and bringing value to your customers. But, it all starts first with a good prospect.
Here are some proven methods to creating an ideal energy broker prospecting list:
Use the ECL
If you are working under a licensed broker, or have a license yourself, several states will grant you access to the Eligible Customer List (ECL). This list displays all commercial and residential customers, who have not opted-out, in a particular utility. The list displays lots of data on each customer, such as:
- annual energy usage (kWh or CCF)
- rate classes and codes
- account name
- service address information
- default supply or third part supply verification
- and more…
The ECL is a great place to start since you can sort the list by customer type, annual usage, and even find out if customers are still with the local utility on default supply. As your broker for help in using the ECL to develop a prospect list.
By using the ECL, you can develop an effective energy sales lead list to work from. In fact, the right ECL tool will allow you to sort the energy sales lead data by zip code or annual kWh, so that you can focus on an effective sales plan. If you are targeting high-usage customers, then you can tailor your energy broker marketing material to that type of customer. And vice versa for smaller accounts.
Lead Gen Companies
There are many companies that sell data on businesses that can be used to compile a prospect list. Companies such as D&B and Data Axle are great resources to purchase business data. You can filter the data by market segment, business size, annual revenue and more. D&B’s Hoover’s product even has an option to filter by annual utility cost and you can determine if the prospect rents or owns their building.
Another way of compiling a list of prospects is good ol’ Google. This might take more time than the other methods, but it allows you to hone in on actual companies you would like to target. We suggest making an Excel or Google Sheet (like this one here: energy broker prospect list) to better organize your data.
If you are a seasoned energy salesperson and have a book of existing customers, the best place to start is with them. There is no better prospect than a warm referral, so asking your existing customer for 3-5 referrals each is a tried and true method for closing sales. If you have 50 existing customers and each customer offers you 3 referrals, you grew a list of 150 warm prospects overnight.
In-Person Energy Broker Leads
If you decide that you would like to prospect in person, then you can build your prospect list as you make in-person visits. Simply pick an area that you would like to target (try to pick a 10-mile radius to start) and spend every day in your territory. If restaurants are your niche market, go visit every restaurant in your territory until you know every owner’s name, how much energy they use, who they use for supply, and even obtain copies of their bill. Do not leave your territory until you have turned over every rock. As you go, take detailed notes on each prospect, and slowly develop your list. You will see over time how these prospects begin to turn into new customers.
Managing Your Energy Prospect List
Now that you have a list of energy leads, it’s important to understand how to effectively view and sort the lead data. After all, hundreds of line items on a spreadsheet mean nothing if your cold prospecting sales efforts are disorganized. Here are a few tips to keep organized with your prospects when you are selling in deregulated energy states:
Know How To Filter Your List
As we stated above, there are different prospecting methods and energy sales techniques you can use to approach new customers. And, each of these methods lends itself well to different customer types. For example, it might be nearly impossible to prospect a university using a cold prospecting, in-person approach. What would you do? Walk up to the main information desk and give your pitch. This type of account lends itself better to an email or phone call approach. A pizzeria, on the other hand, might be a great prospect for an in-person sales call. Filtering your list into different prospect types so you can be effective with your sales approach is a great practice.
Qualify Your Energy Sales Leads
Lead qualification is another important aspect of the sales process. It is important that you get your message to the right types of prospects. Some energy brokers waste hundreds of hours prospecting accounts that do not qualify as a potential customer. For example, it is important to know whether your prospect actually pays an energy bill. In some commercial buildings, the landlord pays the utility bills and sub-meters his tenants. It would be a great waste of your time to spend all month getting in front of a prospect just to learn that he does not pay his own bill.
Make a list of criteria that qualifies a prospect to be worth your time: annual energy usage, responsible for paying the bill, is in a certain utility rate class, has a certain load factor rating, is located in a specific utility territory. All of these things might be important to you when developing an effective prospecting plan. Get together with your energy broker to strategize on the key data points that make a good prospect.
A Great Broker Can Help You Become A Great Prospector
If you are struggling with your energy prospecting efforts, it’s important to have someone to turn to. If you are aligned with a broker that has a reputation for success, their training program could be beneficial enough to put you on the path to success. At Diversegy, we support our sales partners in their prospecting efforts by sharing critical information and strategies that are proven to work in the marketplace. Want to learn more about how our sales team is experiencing so much success? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.