Trade Ally Network Northwest

Simple Strategies for Selling to Small Business Owners

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Running a small business is challenging, and now many owners are faced with supply issues, safety concerns, and employee retention. It may seem like it’s the wrong time to approach them to talk energy efficiency, right? Consider the value you offer that can help them get through these tough times, such as lower operating costs or improved efficiency.

Let’s look at how to go in with confidence and provide services that truly benefit your customers while reducing their monthly energy bills:

  • Schedule a free comprehensive energy audit. This professional assessment looks at the whole building instead of just one system. Building operating equipment is not singular; all parts work together to make a building more efficient. An energy audit will help customers identify all the opportunities for energy efficiency mentioned in this article and much more. Tip: Your company may not offer solutions for all services identified in the audit, but you will build valuable trust with the customer by getting it scheduled.
  • Install energy-efficient lighting (if they haven’t yet!). Lighting upgrades are known to be a cost-effective and quick way to save energy. Adding advanced lighting controls to the project increases the long-term value of the customer’s investment. It may be a differentiator for you in the sales cycle. Plus, local utility incentives make it more affordable by offsetting upfront costs. Tip: Talk with your customer about using the money they save on their utility bill to leverage other energy-efficient upgrades.
  • Upgrade their HVAC system. The HVAC system is one of the largest energy culprits in a building. An energy audit can help locate a building’s hidden energy wasters and identify ways to improve efficiency. How about installing a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature during the day and on weekends? Other solutions may include regular maintenance checks to keep everything running at optimum efficiency or changing air filters to provide clean and more effective air circulation. Tip: Help your customer redirect energy cost savings into an HVAC upgrade or air-sealing project to reduce energy costs further and improve occupant comfort.
  • Manage their phantom energy use. Building equipment can continue to consume energy when not in use even when it appears to be off. According to the US Department of Energy, these phantom energy users—coupled with building equipment left on by employees—draw significant power over time. To manage these sources of energy waste, building owners may use power strips controlled by sensors and install lighting control products that allow for remote control and monitoring of lighting and plug load. Small actions like these can add up to significant savings. Tip: Help your customer designate an energy champion to monitor equipment and document how much power is still on when the building is empty. They might be surprised at what they learn.

By starting with an energy audit or scoping walkthrough, you will identify opportunities for each owner. You can discuss what makes sense to pursue now, and lay the groundwork for services in the future.