If you’ve been looking to up your game as an energy consultant, stay ahead of the competition, and build a solid client list, look no further. While competent energy consultants abound in the field, we’ve rounded up a list of tips to help you go from good to great — because, after all, success is most often found by standing out from the crowd.
Outstanding energy consultants are those who continuously strive to deliver added value to their clients. They go above and beyond their job descriptions, constantly expanding their services, capabilities, and knowledge base. They work with outstanding professionalism and critical thinking skills, always making sure to keep their clients’ best interests at the top of mind.
Do you stand out as an energy consultant? Check out these eight best practices to see which ones you need to add to your arsenal.
1. Go beyond just comparing prices.
If you’re looking to go the extra mile, you’ll want to go beyond the basic step of finding and comparing energy prices. Listen intentionally to your clients rather than simply scanning to compare rates. This will enable you to pick up on those nuances that other would-be consultants miss out on and never address. Excellent energy consultants make it a habit to actively listen and understand their customers’ needs to find them the right deal.
It also helps to streamline communication with clients. Great energy consultants not only know how to explain different plans to customers and help them understand options, but they do it persuasively and succinctly — without using industry jargon and acronyms. Communicating effectively makes all the difference when comparing prices for valued clients.
2. Create a personal brand for yourself and your business.
A well-established personal brand will enable you to stand out from the crowd. It will make it easy for your future clients to identify that you are the right business to work with them.
Clearly identify your prospects and be genuine about your value-added. Be transparent with your story, your motivations, and your goals then build your personal marketing around that. Define clear objectives and the actions that will need implementation to make sure you achieve your goals.
Quick tip: Google yourself and analyze if the results that show up for your name or business name seem appealing and credible for your prospects. Adjust your bio, your services, and business descriptions accordingly. If needed, take professional photos and boost your image online as well.
Be ready to boost your social media presence consistently across platforms to scale your business.
3. Continuously analyze customer’s energy consumption as a service.
While conducting an initial energy analysis for clients is common, standout energy consultants will continuously analyze the unique utility needs of their clients. Conditions can fluctuate over the course of a few weeks or months, so conducting an initial analysis without follow-ups could result in missing hidden efficiencies that may lead to savings. Continuously lookout for those efficiencies and act on them. You’ll be saving your clients money in the long run while delivering excellent service.
It’s also best practice to create energy audits for buildings, building systems, or processes. Present your clients with audit reports that contain energy analysis results or recommendations for cost savings. This will help them identify opportunities for improving their operation, maintenance, and/or energy efficiency.
4. Create energy plans with strategies to reduce waste.
These strategies will vary depending on your clients, but the goal remains the same: identify key opportunities for cutting costs and reducing energy waste. For example, a food and drink manufacturing client may benefit from regular refrigeration system maintenance to improve efficiency and prevent overcooling, while installing a programmable or smart thermostat may best suit a brick-and-mortar retail client.
5. Have an expert understanding of the energy market, seasons, and trends.
A surefire way to becoming an exceptional consultant is to continuously refine your knowledge on the energy market, seasonal changes, and industry trends. Whether that includes participating in supplementary training courses, attending webinars, or meeting one-on-one with other experts in your field, being able to offer the most up-to-date and relevant insights will earn you excellent standing with clients.
6. Communicate updates in energy laws and regulations in a way clients understand.
Regulations regarding energy, emissions, and environmental policy are always changing. A stellar consultant stays up to date, notifying clients of rules or regulation changes as they occur. Truly understanding and analyzing legislation requires a strong eye for detail and the ability to apply complex information to your own work. It also means you’ll have to communicate your findings clearly without using overly complicated terms. Don’t do it to impress, do it to inform and build trust.
Some updates and adjustments to regulations may include fines and require a transition plan. This is a great opportunity to offer your client additional services.
7. Sharpen your negotiating skills with suppliers on behalf of clients.
The best deals occur when all parties walk away feeling like they benefitted. Great energy consultants are experts in the art of negotiation, leveraging their communication skills to secure the best deal for their clients. Be prepared and strategize with your client’s goals in mind ahead of the negotiation. If possible, seek insight from colleagues when practicing negotiations and research about the items being negotiated.
8. Be well-versed in the various types of energy available.
A class apart energy consultant is knowledgeable in the many different kinds of energy — and can advise their clients on which option is best for them. Energy consultants require a deep understanding of both traditional and renewable energy options, from electric to solar to wind to natural gas. Maintaining an up-to-date knowledge on green energy is also a highly valuable asset, as consumers are becoming increasingly interested in renewables thanks to their lower costs and contributions to corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Staying ahead of the curve as an energy consultant takes diligence and effort. However, depending on how the services are priced and the type of client served, it could be very lucrative to invest in this line of business.