And Why It Matters Now More Than Ever.
As with any industry, as it matures and grows, there is also an ever-increasing number of competitors entering the market. Unfortunately, when it comes to energy A/B/Cs (aggregators brokers, and consultants) it is all too common for a few bad apples to leave a sour taste in a customer’s mouth, tainting the industry yet again. This surge in the competitive landscape is exactly why now, more than ever, you must differentiate yourself from the competition. This new competitive market growth also presents itself as an opportunity in disguise. Your brokerage firm now has the ability to not only outperform the rest but also earn lifetime customers in the process.
Offer Your Value, Not Just Your Price
Ok. Ok. We both know that one of the first things, if not the very first thing, your customers will ask is ‘What’s the lowest rate?’. That is however the first thing your customer will ask every other broker that contacts them as well.
Unfortunately, when you are competing on price alone, it could be a losing battle, as most brokers utilize many of the same suppliers and have very similar (if not identical) pricing.
What is something else your firm offers that others do not or cannot? Ongoing support throughout the contract? absolutely! A unique product structure that is tailored to their needs? Perfect! Quarterly analysis to outline performance? Heck yes!
This is your time to think outside of the box and offer some true value to your customer.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
– Warren Buffet
Become an Active Listener
More often than not, salespeople assume they understand the struggles and long-term goals of a prospect and quickly launch into a typical sales pitch. This, sell first, listen later approach is what derails any opportunity before it even leaves the station.
Instead, engage your prospect with questions about their needs, concerns, and company objectives. Once they have finished answering your questions, take it one step further by paraphrasing the prospect’s needs to ensure you fully understand. A good rule of thumb is a 1:2 talk, listen ratio.
Although active listening is a skill that must be practiced and takes time to perfect, once you have this technique down, you will stand out from the crowd.
Benefits of active listening:
Your customer feels heard and valued
You become a trustworthy partner to your customers
Your customer will have greater confidence in your solution
You will uncover and be able to address underlying objections
And ultimately, you will close more deals
Consult, Don’t Sell
Simply put, consultants don’t sell, they help customers buy. Now that you understand the value of active listening, you are in a great position to become a valued partner to your prospect and not just another salesperson.
As a consultant, you are a problem solver and guide, working hand in hand to map out the best possible solution to your prospect’s need or problem. This may take many different forms, but becoming a trusted consultant who is informative, honest, and objective will propel you past the competition in no time.
Gallup Polls have found that less than 50% of customers feel listened to and the seller adequately addresses their problem.
Become a Market Expert
Now that you are consulting, as opposed to simply selling, it’s time to take that next step and become a market expert. Keep in mind that a market expert is vastly different than a product expert. Sure, you may know your product or solution inside and out, but being able to understand and articulate outside factors to your customer is where your advantage lies.
For many energy brokers, it may be as simple as understanding a few of these questions when mapping out your prospect’s solutions.
What factors are causing the market to rise or fall? Are there regulatory factors in play now or in the future that may impact this customer? Is now the optimal time to make this buying decision? What sustainable options are currently available to offer? How do extreme weather events impact energy rates? And so forth.
Don’t be afraid to share your market expertise. This is why your customer is working with you AND what differentiates you from most of the competition
Utilize Available Broker Tools and Technology
Today it is easier than ever to grow, automate, and streamline any brokerage firm by utilizing online tools or brokerage platforms.
Whether you operate a one-person shop or multi-location operation, these online platforms provide unique opportunities to take advantage of software that may once have been unobtainable.
Everything from automated pricing and contracting tools, to commission tracking analytics and streamlined renewals can now be achieved with little to no overhead from the broker.
There is no better time to leave the spreadsheets behind!
POWWR’s award-winning Broker360 platform (yep, this is the plug you knew was coming) has helped 1000s of brokers quickly scale their operations and has become the gold standard in broker software. Contact us today! We would love to show you around.
Bonus Tip: Promote Your Brand!
Now that you are a rock star energy consultant, it’s time to strut your stuff and start promoting your business.
First and foremost, create a website that allows your customers to find you, learn more about your business, and if all goes to plan, contact you for your services.
Easy to use platforms like WIX and Squarespace offer simple drag and drop templates to have you up and running in no time. Don’t forget to help your customers overcome challenges on your new website, and don’t simply sell on price.
Next, utilize POWWR’s complementary Price to Compare website to allow your customers to instantly review energy plans and lock in a new rate.
And finally, if you are not already, become actively involved in social media, specifically LinkedIn.
LinkedIn was designed for B2B professionals to network and collaborate online, and it is estimated that over 50% of B2B buyers turn to LinkedIn as a resource when conducting research.
Don’t forget, on LinkedIn you are able to promote both yourself (through individual accounts) and your company (through business accounts) and get double the exposure. Win-win, right?
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