Skip the price wars, find other ways to differentiate yourself from competitors.
As an energy broker, you shouldn’t have to compete in a race to the bottom. Offering lower prices to win business will guarantee neither you nor your clients' success. Since many energy brokers operate using the same or comparable providers, you need to find ways other than pricing, to set your brokerage firm apart from the rest. Still unsure? We've got some ideas to help you distance yourself from the competition.
If you want to stand out, shift your focus to building relationships with your clients. That means getting on a first name business with all clients and then knowing exactly who your target market is and what they need. One of the best ways to do that is by actively listening to your clients and prospects, getting to the crux of their problems, and offering solutions. The tricky part is figuring out what those problems are.
Don't Be That Typical Salesperson, Use Active Listening Instead
We've all been there. You walk into a shop, and before you know it, some salesperson is in your ear trying to tell you what they think you want or need. Launching straight into a sales pitch before knowing what ails your client will often halt the opportunity before it starts.
Instead, use active listening. Ask questions about their needs, concerns, and long-term goals. Show your interest by making eye contact, nodding, and repeating key points to show you fully understand. The goal is to build confidence and ensure that the customer feels heard. Active listening is not a silver bullet and does require practice, but by demonstrating that you're paying attention, you'll be better able to close deals and improve sales.
Some of the benefits of active listening include:
- Feeling valued and heard by your customers
- Building trust in you and your solutions
- Solving disagreements and allaying underlying objections
- Reducing errors by either you or (potential) clients
- Closing more deals and improving sales
What Questions Should I Ask?
As electric and natural gas energy brokers and suppliers, you provide your customers with the best rates and services possible. Here are some questions you could ask to find out what challenges your clients or prospects may be facing:
1. Are you having difficulty getting connected to providers?
Because you have access to various providers, you can help your client find the right one, negotiate better rates, and find a plan that fits their budget.
2. Is it tough getting consumers to switch providers?
Even if a client is unhappy with the current service, most people are creatures of habit and are hesitant to change something if they're not sure it'll be better. That’s where you come in. You can take the hassle out of switching and ensure they get the best, unbiased advice and deal possible.
3. Are you receiving conflicting information from different providers?
It’s hard to know who to trust and what to do. Help your client navigate the confusing landscape of energy providers by comparing rates and choosing the best provider for their needs. Working with various providers, you can demystify the process of finding the right plan at the right price. Your impartial advice will guarantee clients choose the right provider.
4. Have you noticed inaccurate billing from utility companies?
As more consumers are turning to energy brokers to get the best rates on their electricity and natural gas, chances are your clients may have noticed inaccurate billing from their utility companies. While this is a great way to save money, it can also lead to inaccurate billing from your utility company. Getting your clients to calibrate their energy meter properly is a great place to start.
5. Are your suppliers not fulfilling their contracts?
Scrambling to find a new supplier last minute is no fun. Suppliers sometimes fail to deliver on their promises due to capacity issues or other problems. If your client has problems with suppliers, you can remedy their situation. Try mediation or finding a new supplier who can meet your clients’ needs.
Ask these and other questions to better understand your client’s situation and the people involved. Not only will you learn something new to prepare you for future problems, but you’ll also be building solid relationships with your customers.
Don’t Sell, Consult
The conversation shouldn’t end there. Once you understand the value of active listening, you will be in a better position to become a valued partner to your prospects and clients.
Good consultants are both problem solvers and guides — finding the best solutions that don’t end in making the sale and walking away. You should work together to create a transparent information system that best serves your client's needs. This transparency will lend itself to you becoming the trusted consultant who is informative, honest, and objective that clients, both real and potential, have been seeking.
Lastly, your customer's degree of satisfaction will be determined more by your company's response to their challenge than by a successful resolution. You won’t earn trust by simply fixing a problem; you’ll do so by taking care of your customer's emotional needs throughout the resolution process.
With active listening and consulting, you can differentiate your business from the competition and create lasting relationships with your client. Become that trusted resource. Then watch as more referrals come in and you achieve a better reputation in the Energy industry.
That’s not all. Download our guide, 5 Ways to Differentiate Yourself as an Energy Broker, to discover more ideas to serve your clients best. Why not set yourself apart from the competition and improve sales? You’ll be glad you did.
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