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Don’t Limit the Conversation to Utility-Cost Financial Savings



Suppose you are targeting a large building that you know has plans to do an efficiency upgrade. Chances are a lot of other salespeople are vying for the same job. So how do you set yourself apart from the competition? I can confidently say that most of your competitors are going to focus on the metrics (saved kW, kWh, therms, etc.) and the most obvious financial impacts – the cost of the project, the utility cost savings, and perhaps utility rebates or incentives.

Sure, people care about money; however, utility-cost financial savings alone are often not compelling enough to motivate a major change to the built environment. You can set yourself apart by highlighting the non-utility-cost financial benefits (which are often an order-of-magnitude larger than the utility cost savings) and non-financial benefits.

What non-utility-cost financial benefits might you emphasize? That depends on how well you know the business dynamics of your prospect’s market segment and individual role. How might your project produce benefits that can be quantified and monetized? How well can you reframe your project’s benefits so that they could be measured with yardsticks your prospect is already using to gauge his/her success? Need some examples of non-utility-cost financial benefits to focus on? How about these for starters: 

  • Improvements in worker productivity
  • Improved occupant health
  • Reduced absenteeism/presenteeism
  • Improved employee/tenant attraction/retention

Realize that the above-referenced benefits are hardly hypothetical. There is plenty of empirical evidence supporting the connection between enhanced efficiency and every one of these benefits… studies that quantify and monetize the impacts in a wide variety of segments including office, healthcare, education, and more.

And by the way, once you’ve quantified and monetized the non-utility-cost financial benefits, remember to consider all the non-financial benefits as well...  things like getting an ENERGY STAR® label… many of which actually wind up leaking value back into the non-utility-cost financial benefits bucket. As just one example, no less than a half-dozen recent studies have shown that ENERGY STAR-labeled office buildings enjoy higher base rents, increased occupancy and higher resale value. So, what you might have assumed to be a “feel-good” non-financial benefit may actually be a robust non-utility-cost financial benefit instead!

So, if you limit your conversation to utility-cost financial benefits or technical specs like kilowatts, kilowatt hours and therms, get in line. Every other vendor who has approached your prospect has talked about the same things. When you talk about higher-order benefits – ones that are custom-tailored to your prospect’s segment and role – you’ll have a far more interesting and compelling interaction, and a much higher closing ratio to boot.

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Posted by Mark Jewell