At a Glance:
Selling energy in deregulated markets is no easy task. Especially if you are just entering the space and have little energy knowledge. This article is written to provide expert advice to energy sales veterans and even those just getting started as an energy broker. With these tips, you can multiply your energy broker income, learn how to navigate volatile commodity markets, and most importantly, develop a strong six-figure income selling deregulated energy.
Creating An Effective Energy Sales Plan.
The first step to becoming a better energy broker is to understand your target market and develop a sales plan. The advantage of the deregulated energy industry is that anyone with an electric or natural gas bill can be your customer, providing they are located in a deregulated state. Unfortunately for many salespeople, this can also serve as a distraction.
With so many potential customers it’s quite easy to become scatterbrained and not know where to focus your energy (pun intended). Your first step is to narrow your focus and decide what type of customer book you would like to build. If you have some knowledge about manufacturing and heavy machinery, then targeting industrial customers might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you have many family members in the restaurant business, use those connections to build a career.
Pitfall Alert: One of the biggest mistakes most deregulated energy brokers make is not having a specific focus. Because they don’t have a prospecting plan in place and a target focus, they lose sight of their goals and their activity usually dwindles. Having a specific focus, such as I am going to try and sell electricity to every grocery store in the state of New Jersey, allows you to instantly have a plan. Now you can come up with a list of every grocery store, network and build relationships with those in that industry, and successfully become the grocery store, energy expert.
In order to build a sales pipeline and have many opportunities, you need to prospect! Prospecting can be daunting for most people. The thought of picking up the phone to call a stranger or walking into a business can be intimidating. Our successful salespeople have mastered the art of prospecting for commercial energy customers. Here is a great article on how to effectively prospect in the retail energy space.
These are some of the tactics that work best:
Get access to data so you can put together the largest prospect list possible.
Network with other professionals who might already have existing relationships with your potential customers.
Tell your story. The more times you can get in front of a potential customer the better!
Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up. After you’ve made an attempt to present your service offering, make sure to follow up. Most prospects will not buy from you on the first contact!
Proving Your Value.
Now, prospecting is one thing, but proving your value to a prospect is another. If you are able to demonstrate that you can solve a real problem for your prospects, then they will quickly become your new customers.
Below is a list of common challenges and problems faced by many commercial energy customers. This is how you can bring real value to the marketplace:
High Utility Bills: When you come across customers who are simply looking to save money or control costs, your job is simple. Find a fixed rate that is lower than what they are paying, and the contract is yours!
Past Supplier Problems: Unfortunately, there are many customers who might have been taken advantage of in the past by other energy brokers or suppliers. Maybe they forgot to renew and the supplier doubled their rate on a variable price. In order to overcome this challenge, you must show proof of how you effectively manage your existing customers’ accounts, renew them at prime opportunities, and are available for all customer service-related issues.
Lack Of Understanding: Some customers simply just don’t understand energy deregulation, what it means, and how it can benefit them. Educating these customers in a simple-to-understand manner is key to winning their business. Articles like this one on A Simple History of Energy Deregulation are a great place to start so your customers understand their opportunity to shop for a supplier.
Reading the Market and Managing Accounts.
The number one key to maintaining your customer accounts is to learn how to effectively renew them. Most customers are simply looking for a good renewal offer from their brokers, and do not have the time to track the date of the renewal.
A good energy broker watches the future prices of energy and looks for opportunities where he or she can renew a customer at a better price.
In the current market, for example, prices have been relatively high for the past year. In fact, prices in the natural gas market have reached 14-year highs and attractive renewal opportunities are few and far between.
A great energy broker would have noticed the recent decline in natural gas prices (~20%) and priced his customers who had a renewal coming soon. These recent decrease in prices was driven by global geo-political issues in the news. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn more about energy market news.
Last but certainly not least, are developing powerful customer relationships. Remember, people do not buy products or services, they buy people. When you take the time to cultivate relationships with your customers, they stand the test of time. A simple regular phone call might be enough to do the trick, and other customers could require more attention. Understanding who your customers are, their needs, and their goals is a great step to developing long-lasting relationships. Here are some tips:
Remember the details: Remember when a customer tells you who his favorite sports team is, or that he is taking his son on a camping trip. Recognizing these personal details sets you apart from other self-centered salespeople.
Truly Care: Most people can sense when you are doing something to get something else in return. When you truly care about your customers and their businesses, it rings true and helps develop authentic relationships.
Be Upfront and Honest: No one likes a liar. If you do not know the answer, tell your customer that you will find out and get back to him or her. If the market is high and you think there’s a chance it might come down, don’t scare your customer into locking into a long-term deal. Do what’s right for them and their business and they will trust you forever.
Are you looking to learn more about how you can become a better energy sales representative? You can attend one of our online training courses or speak to a Diversegy energy expert today. Contact us to learn more.