A bit dramatic? Yes you’re probably right but …
for anyone who works in facilities management, sustainability or energy management that’s what it can feel like when you’re trying to promote energy management and its associated solutions.
Most of the people you talk to aren’t stupid…far from it but there is usually something holding them back from moving forward with a new energy savings project. Quite often it’s budget but often there are other factors that creep in; they have to get approval from higher up and if that’s board level then they’re trying to convince multiple personalities. Maybe the technology you’d like to introduced is new, with limited case studies so there may be some convincing to do!
So what do you do? Well, first take a step back and listen, don’t be blinkered by your goal – focus on their problems. Understand that you know your business better than they do so go slowly and explain the benefits of the product/service you’d like to introduce by referring the benefits back to their problem, after all, it is all about them! If you can educate your client or colleague to the point that they not only understand but can see the benefits to their business that will help to make their pitch/business case so much stronger.
What else can you do? Be honest and I mean completely honest, give them official stats by all means but make sure you also give them stats that you have personally been involved with, personal experience is far better and much more believable that laboratory condition stats. Using a cliché it is far better to under promise and over deliver, then your client can only ever be pleased with your service.
Go back to step one, it’s so important! Don’t “sell” to them, problem solve and educate them.
Most people know about LED lighting, energy monitoring and reducing carbon footprints but may not know the best way to tackle a problem, so ask questions, find out what keeps them “awake” at nights. Then have a meaningful discussion on what are the options and if what you’ve got in your “tool kit” doesn’t fit, don’t walk away help them find something that does. You may not get there first time but they’ll remember you favourably for the future.
If they are spending too much on energy, educate them, explain about sub- metering but make sure they know it’s not a cure but an essential first step to understanding where they can save and make things better. Manage their expectations, explain potential costs moving forward so they don’t feel as if they’ve been taken for a ride when you suggest the next stage or feel as if you are just after them for more money.
In my opinion, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all human, some of us have more knowledge in certain fields than others but by educating others, they are more likely to want to work with you so you’ll both feel the benefits!