At a Glance:

Whether you are a seasoned energy broker sales professional or new to the industry, having new prospects to call on is critical to your success. Sales is a funnel and the more prospects you put into your pipeline, the greater chance you have of making a sale. Here are some proven ways to generate an effective prospect list.

Prospecting Methods.

In the energy sales industry, and in any sales job for that matter, there are several different prospecting methods that can be used to generate sales. Before you start to compile your customer prospect list, it is best to decide on the type of prospecting method(s) you will use. Certain customer types lend themselves better to specific prospecting methods. Here are some of the top energy broker sales prospecting approaches:

In-Person Prospecting

In-person prospecting is often thought of as the toughest form of sales. You need to put yourself in your car or on foot and physically visit new potential customers at their place of business. In-person sales, however, have many benefits. Let’s discuss the pro’s and con’s of in-person prospecting below:

Pro’s

  • Differentiate yourself from the competition who is not willing to go in-person
  • Easier to build rapport in-person compared to over the phone
  • Best used for small and medium size businesses where you can speak with a decision-maker

Con’s

  • Not the most effective use of your time as you are limited to the number of prospects you can see in one day
  • Difficult to overcome psychological challenges and fear of walking into a stranger’s business
  • Not great for large corporations who require appointments to be made with decision-makers

Phone Prospecting

Phone prospecting, when mastered, can be a very effective way of getting in front of many new prospects in a short period of time. The phone, however, has been overused by telemarketing companies and one must find ways to stand out and not get placed in the “spam call” category. Here are the pro’s and con’s of phone prospecting:

Pro’s

  • Speak to many new prospects in a short period of time when compared to in-person prospecting
  • No geographical limits to your target markets
  • Best used for small and medium size businesses where you can speak with a decision-maker. The phone is also very effective for setting up appointments with larger companies or following up on prior communication.

Con’s

  • Hard to differentiate yourself from telemarketers and spam callers
  • Difficult to stay focused and make 100+ phone calls per day
  • Not great for areas that have been bombarded in the past by energy telemarketers

Email Prospecting

Email prospecting can be very effective if you can perfect the art of getting your prospect’s attention, and getting your email to the right person. Email has grown significantly in the last two decades and can be a great tool for growing your energy broker business. Here are the pro’s and con’s of email prospecting:

Pro’s

  • Contact many new prospects in a short period of time when compared to in-person prospecting
  • No geographical limits to your target markets
  • Best used for setting up appointments with larger companies or following up on prior communication.

Con’s

  • Hard to differentiate yourself in a cold email
  • Mass emails can get stuck in spam folders
  • Not great for small businesses where decision-maker emails are hard to find

Traditional Mailers

Last but not least, are traditional mailers. Although this prospecting method has seemed to be retired, it can be a great way of differentiating yourself in a digital world. Things like post cards and junk mail might find their way to your prospect’s wastebasket; however, if you can mail something that stands out and grabs attention, you might have a good chance of peaking your prospect’s interest. Mailers such as folders and packets, although more expensive, are a great way to do this. A phone call or email follow up is also a nice way to combine several prospecting methods to be more effective.

Picking a Niche.

Now that you’ve decided on the prospecting methods and tools you will use, the next step is to decide on a niche market to target. As stated in our latest article, Making a For Your Energy Broker Business, choosing a niche industry or business segment to target is a great way to remain focused on your goals, eliminate distractions, and achieve your plan. In addition, deciding on a niche market is a great way to brand yourself as the energy expert in that space. Here are some of the common niche markets that our energy sales partners focus on, broken down by business size:

Small/Medium Business

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • 24 hour diners
  • pizzerias
  • gyms
  • laundromats
  • retail
  • grocery stores
  • gas stations
  • nursing homes
  • retirement communities
  • apartment complexes
  • warehousing
  • car dealerships
  • farms
  • printing presses

Large/Industrial Business

  • manufacturing
  • plastics production
  • cold storage facilities
  • municipalities
  • water treatment plants
  • sewer plants
  • national chains
  • distribution plants
  • packaging plants
  • universities
  • schools
  • hospitals and healthcare
  • public transportation systems
  • bitcoin mining operations

Making a List of Targets.

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. 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.

Lead Gen Companies

There are many companies who 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.

Google Search

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) to better organize your data.

Existing Customers

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 over night.

In-Person Prospecting

If you decided 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 ever 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.

Need Help Making a Prospect List?

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Diversegy’s full-serve sales platform offers agents, teams, brokers, and customers many benefits. Our program is a commitment and investment into the future of the competitive retail energy industry. Here are some of the key benefits of our platform:

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