Trade Ally Network Northwest

Trade Ally Q&A: Derek Smith, Stusser Electric

August 14, 2023 | Trade Ally Network NW

Derek Smith at Stusser Electric is an active Network trade ally. In this interview, he talks about the importance of incentives and how they help him close sales.

  1. Tell us about your company.

Stusser Electric is a DBA for Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED). As a wholesale electrical distributor, we specialize in offering a diverse range of electrical products to both industrial and commercial markets. Our primary focus lies in central Oregon, where we actively engage in retrofit projects across these sectors.

  1. How have utility incentive programs helped your company’s sales process?

I think utility incentives do exactly what they’re designed to do; they help us complete the sale. Often, customers who express interest in enhancing their facilities and improving energy efficiency require a gentle nudge to finalize the purchase. The financial incentives provided by utility programs have played a significant role in enabling successful closures of sales.

Incentives have helped numerous clients of mine meet their budget restrictions so they don’t have to put off the project indefinitely. The support from these programs has been particularly beneficial for companies like ours, as it allows us to maintain healthy profit margins while achieving higher closing rates.

  1. What common barriers do you encounter when it comes to selling energy-efficient equipment?

I believe the most significant roadblock we encounter is when dealing with a landlord and tenant scenario. In such cases, the landlord may not recognize the value of an upgrade, as the tenant is the one responsible for paying the bills. Although deferred maintenance can have a long-term impact on their bottom line, there might not be an immediate urgency to pursue the upgrade as long as the tenant remains locked into the agreement. This is where incentives play a crucial role in making upgrades more feasible and attractive.

  1. As a distributor, you must have some insights into energy efficiency projects that our trade allies in the field may not consider. Tips?

Education about programs is really important; it’s essential to stay informed about the latest technology and terminology. I regularly hear questions about how long incentives will remain available, and keeping myself informed helps me use this knowledge as a tool to encourage people to close the sale. Being well-informed about incentive programs is crucial, and to ensure that I try and regularly attend Energy Trust of Oregon and Trade Ally Network NW trainings.

Category: Featured Trade Ally/Field Specialist

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