Thinking Outside the Box



There are times in this industry when you find yourself having to think outside the box when it comes to getting the attention of a decision maker.  You have the prospect in your sights and you know they could use an upgrade, but how can you get the right person to listen to you? 

Let’s say you’re trying to change the lighting in a parking garage.  One thing you could do is use a three-sentence solicitation to start a conversation.  Perhaps something like this: 

"As you may be aware, we've recently changed out the lighting for X, Y and Z Garages.  Your garage is very similar, and the lighting equipment you’re currently using is the same technology we removed from all three of those structures.  Those lighting retrofits enabled us to increase the lighting levels by an average of 20% while decreasing the lighting energy by 25%.   If you'd be interested in exploring how we might extend this success to your parking garage on 123 Main Street, I'd be happy to have a conversation." 

In the meantime, you have researched which garages are most in need of an upgrade.  You have researched the industry, particularly each prospect’s history and their competition.  You’ve also looked into what is most important to their business.  For example, you know that energy efficiency might not be a top priority for the owner of a garage.  On the other hand, safety and protection from liability are high priorities. 

However, sometimes getting that opportunity and capturing attention is the hardest part.  Here are some examples of how you could get to a decision-maker with a more hands-on approach. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for information from associates who are in a position to share. Approach the parking attendant and ask who the chief engineer and property manager are.  He has this information in case of an emergency and is less of a gatekeeper than an assistant or receptionist.  You can get this information for free.  
  1. Don’t shy away from using a prospect’s pain points as motivation. If you’re in a coastal community, you might use a spectral scanner to find out who is in violation of county ordinances that prohibit more than 2% blue frequency in their LED lights.  These are the customers who need your help the most and all it takes to get the ball rolling is a little driving up and down to find them.  After that, phoning the property manager with your findings should get their attention. 
  1. Make your case to someone who can act as an internal champion. You could say, "Look, I'm not going to lie to you. We have not done this installation as much as other companies, but that gives us absolutely unbridled enthusiasm to make sure that your installation is flawlessly implemented.  When we do this, we're going to actually take the time to write up a case study and feature your business as a leader in applying this technology."  Chances are they’ll go back to their manager and say, "Listen, they haven't done a lot of installations, but they're going to give us the kid gloves treatment and a discounted price, and there's no way they're going to allow this installation to be anything less than stellar.  They're even going to write up a case study on us.  Frankly, I think we should go with these guys rather than the industry leader because I think we may get more out of the transaction." 

Going the extra mile can make all the difference when it comes to communicating with a decision-maker.  The more you know about their concerns, the easier it will be to craft a message that captures their attention.

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Posted by Mark Jewell