As a commercial/industrial or light commercial contractor you sense that many of the buildings and building owners that your company has worked with are not conserving energy and the building is not “performing” as well as it should. You may even be currently providing HVAC services or planned maintenance services; yet, you know you can help them more. You are probably correct in your assessment of the situation, but how do you qualify these opportunities and position your company as the best solutions provider related to the HVACR and electrical systems?
There is a step-by-step process, certain behaviors, and critical data that needs to be collected in order to qualify, position, negotiate, and close this valuable service for the businesses and facilities in your area. There are also many industry “tools” and empirical data that can be presented to justify your “sense” of having the ability to help commercial building owners and managers save and control energy costs.
Building Performance Assessments and Energy Services Solutions also give you, the contractor, the opportunity to cultivate and sustain long-term relationships with customers by bundling services such as; energy retrofit work, energy management solutions, equipment replacement, or capital expense planning, and the foundation of a well “performing” building; true, planned maintenance.
Let’s take a look at the process, behaviors, tools, and collateral documents that you will utilize for the qualifying, positioning, negotiating, and the selling of more Energy Services using a Building Performance Assessment approach.
Qualifying Opportunities: It all begins with technology-based networking, direct marketing, and appointment setting that leads to a first structured meeting in the best target markets. We also begin the process correctly by accessing financial decision-makers, along with the technical and middle management prospects that we have the first structured meetings with. We learn about the “global” aspects of the building and business that include; building system needs and concerns, “pain” that follows the concerns about the HVAC/electrical and utilities, as well as, goals and objectives of the business. Asking questions shows caring and concern for the prospects well-being and proves how thorough you can be.
Positioning Your Company: Along with interviewing and asking great questions in four levels (rapport, business, financial, and commitment), it is imperative to present case studies, references, concise presentation materials, and relevant support articles about the importance of a building assessment. BuildingAdvice, ASHRAE, and the DOE ENERGY STAR Program websites are wonderful places to invest your time and resources to help you perform building assessments and energy evaluations or building benchmarks. Specific language to use in positioning your company as the best solution would include talking about utilities usage and the cost of operations including typical building square footage averages. We also want to discuss the “big three”; true, planned maintenance (the number one cost saving opportunity in any building), energy retrofit description options with typical savings projections, and capital expense planning for equipment replacement recommendations over a three, five, or seven year period.
Negotiating the Recommendations: By using benchmarking reports, survey data, and building operating costs analysis information, we begin to negotiate the options for energy retrofit work, equipment replacement with better efficiency ratings, lighting retrofit work, and offering true planned maintenance, as well as a capital expense plan for aging equipment. By facilitating a formal confirmation and verification meeting, using manufacturer and distributor collateral and case studies, financial justification, and reviewing options, we do not present formal documents until the negotiating is completed.
Proposal Generating: When using multiple recommendations in a presentation format with financial justification and reports generated, making certain the use of photos, survey data, and professional reports in a “bundled offering” approach, we can produce several agreement or contract documents once the negotiations are complete.
Selling intangibles or concepts, using a proven sales process, benefit statements, understanding the pain and payback, or ROI, as well as, using the tools mentioned above, ensure the customer has plenty of options, is involved in the collaboration of ideas, and is satisfied for the long-term! Energy Services and improving building performance is the most global, value-based, “green,” forward-thinking and fiscally conservative approach that a contractor can offer building owners and managers.
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