I have often used the “three buckets of energy benefits” analogy to explain what a prospect can get out of an efficiency upgrade. Today, I’d like to concentrate on pitching one of those buckets in particular: non-financial benefits.
Let’s use commercial office buildings as an example. Non-financial benefits might include perks like getting an ENERGY STAR® label, a LEED® certification and other creature comforts or accolades. If you take the time to analyze and connect the dots, you'll find that these non-financial benefits have more of a financial impact than you think.
In this case, having an ENERGY STAR® label has been correlated with higher rents, higher occupancy, and higher sales price per square foot. Building safety also has a financial component, as well as employees missing less days of work. When something goes wrong that injures someone (due to poor lighting, outdated equipment, illness, etc.) it results in insurance settlements and increased deductibles. The worst-case scenario is having to shut things down, which isn’t only expensive, but also wastes a lot of potential.
So how can these benefits become a part of your pitch? It takes some detective work but a surefire solution is tying those benefits to your prospect’s values. This can be based on what you know about your customer's industry, their particular role in that industry and where they are in their career.
I would start the conversation with the people you’ve worked with in the past. Tell them about how these customers had a similar problem and how you helped them fix it. Very few prospects are eager to talk about energy savings or technical details. It’s often remarkable how little they know about their energy consumption and what their expenditures really are. It isn’t a selling point.
What is most important is making a provocative statement to your prospect, something that is really going to raise their eyebrows and get their attention. Let them know you're not the average bear that is selling energy solutions and justifying them based on “payback.” Depending on how you connect the dots, it will come across as being more than a pitch—the beginning of an interesting conversation.