In last week’s blog it was suggested an effective approach to increasing the conversion rate and profitability of your energy efficiency proposals is to identify the total value of your products and services.
Your competitors, assuming they even mention their added value, will probably focus on the energy saved. But for many building owners, saving energy isn’t an especially high priority. Some even consider energy a fixed expense with little ability to influence. Considering energy efficiency upgrades are capital intensive, building owners often opt for investing in operational improvements. These usually have more visible results, and the paybacks are often much shorter.
The Added Value of Your Products and Services
There are three basic ways your products or services provide customer value that should be included in your proposals:
- Increase revenue
- Decrease costs
- Provide an “emotional” contribution
Energy efficiency upgrades-especially HVAC, lighting and window films-often result in a more comfortable and healthy environments. For commercial real estate, this often results in higher occupancy and lease rates, as well as reduced employee absenteeism and improved tenant productivity.
The key to defining your added value stemming from reduced costs is to focus on the total cost of ownership. For energy efficiency upgrades, in addition to lower energy costs, these often include reduced equipment maintenance, repair and serving costs. For manufacturing operations, the upgrades-especially improved lighting-often result in lower scrap rates and improved quality levels.
Emotional value-we know it exists but it’s tough to put a number on it. A good example is the satisfaction of being a good environmental steward. Another example that has direct operational influence is attracting top talent. Many of today’s younger, highly-skilled employees will only work for an environmentally-conscious company.
You may be thinking “won’t customers realize these same benefits from competitor upgrades?
Yes, they will…assuming comparable product performance and quality, installation practices, code compliance, problem resolution, respect for your property, etc. etc. But many of your competitors either are unable, or take the trouble to, define the value created by their products and services. And when they do, the focus is usually on energy saved.
Here are differentiators that will give you a competitive edge.
Employees – Your intellectual capital is the critical differentiator
- How many years of experience do they have?
- Are they sufficiently familiar with older equipment to know when they can effectively be brought up to date versus only proposing a totally new system? It’s always a good practice to provide your customer with options.
- What record of professional accomplishment…certifications recognition…awards
- How are they kept abreast of the latest technology?
How You Work – Explain how you will do the project and why your way is best
- What special practices do you follow? Are you ISO certified? Adhere to all OSHA safety guidelines?
- What methodology underlies your approach?
- Can you do the work outside a customer’s business hours to minimize disruption?
- End-to-end provider
Project Management – Explain how you will do the work
- Poor project management – the leading cause of failure in technical projects
- Do you provide a comprehensive timeline so your customer knows what to expect and when?
- Emphasize the value-added components of your management approach. Do you have regular site visits to ensure all work is code compliant and quality standards are being met?
- How will you handle change orders…cost overruns?
Specialized Equipment or Tools – If the project will benefit from special equipment or tools that only you- or tools or very few have-mention them
- Smartphone access
- Open architecture for controls
- Customization tools
- Infrared cameras for detecting heat loss
An effective way to increase your proposal conversion rate and profitability is to identify the full range your products and services add value. While some of the added value can be considered “generic” resulting from most energy efficiency upgrades, there are key value-generating differentiators that set you apart from the competition. These include the people you employ, how you work and manage projects, and any specialized equipment and tools.
In next week’s blog we’ll discuss the pricing function and how to get fairly compensated for the value you provide.