Energy Matters

Help the next generation of energy and sustainability professionals – Donate to the Kate Goldstein Memorial Fund

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BOD-Kate-Goldstein-e1403794028447Last week, I received a permit for a Grand Canyon hike next April. And with it came a sad reminder that Kate Goldstein won’t be joining me on that hike like we had discussed last spring.

Kate Goldstein was an MIT energy fellow, and one of a too-small group of smart, energetic, and generous young professionals in our industry. She had the drive, focus, and heart to make a difference. ...

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Do you let energy-efficiency programs run your business?

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Contractors who have complaints about energy-efficiency programs are often quite justified in their frustration.  Programs often do a lot of silly things that thwart their own goals and undermine contractors’ ability to deliver. So stipulated.

But contractors, you need to ask yourselves some questions as you search for the root causes of your woes.

Do efficiency programs generate all of your leads for you? Are those leads satisfactory? And will they be there next week or next year?

Do the programs ...

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The Missed Home Performance Opportunity in the “Single Measure” Call

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missed opportunityIncreasingly contractors are sensing the tremendous opportunity to add a broader array of “home performance” services to their business. Gearing up to deliver is an investment in training, equipment, and processes that might easily run $100,000 of initial investment if one fully accounts for the time and effort. Once they’re ready to go something all too frequently happens. Silence. A common refrain is “we’re not getting any home performance ...

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“I don’t like that role-playing stuff.”

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A couple weeks ago while sitting in on a client’s sales meeting, I heard one of the sales people say, “I don’t like that role-playing stuff.” That’s too bad, because role-playing is a very important tool to improve your sales and customer communication skills.

One of the key elements of in a well-received infographic on Conducting a Sales Meeting I posted a few months ago is the need for training and role-playing, the heart of every ...

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Home Performance Sales Approaches

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How would you characterize your home performance sales approach?

  • Do you focus only on the reason the homeowner called, or do you use that as the starting point for a deeper examination?
  • Do you list all of the features of the equipment, or insulation, or fan type, or do you ask questions and listen to learn what the homeowner actually cares about?
  • Do you use hardball tactics to try to pressure the homeowner to move forward, or do you help them understand what ...
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Dump the Jargon and Focus on the Value

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You’ve heard me talk about avoiding jargon and using “words that Mike’s mom would understand“. And engaging people based on what they value rather than what you like to talk about. The following fits squarely in that conversation.

What People Care About v What We Talk About

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What are your home performance business KPIs?

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OK, contractors, how do you measure the health of your business and whether your on track to meet your goals or in danger of closing down the doors? How do you know whether your business is making money in 2014 (you don’t want to wait until April 15, 2015 to figure that out!!)?

KPI is short for Key Performance Indicator, something you’ve determined is critical to track and evaluate to determine whether your business overall, a department, or even an individual ...

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Asking your team questions and letting them solve problems

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Do you want a high performing team? One important step to take is to stop doing their work for them.

For many managers, the first inclination is to tackle every problem. And if an employee asks a question, to immediately answer it. Often, you’re better off resisting that urge.

When you jump in and answer the question, you don’t give you employee a chance to to think through the problem herself. She misses on on the problem-solving process and the chance to ...

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A Tale of Two Value Propositions

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energy star v heady topperHere’s a hypothetical project, and two archetypal contractor stand-ins.

Really Smart Energy Contractor, Bill, is working for a customer who pays $3,000 (exactly, $3,000) in annual utility bills. He has put together a work scope which includes replacing an old and failing HVAC system with a newer high-efficiency system, correcting some bad but simple-to-fix duct leakage issues, and doing a good attic air-sealing job in a house ...

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Untapped business–following up with the sales you didn’t close

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You probably don’t close at 100%. And you probably never will.

But you can take a step in the right direction. When is the last time you reached out to all those prospects who did NOT buy from you the last time around? As soon as you catch up with all your active customers, reach out. And reach back as far as you have to. You’ve got a chance to touch base with someone who already knows you, someone whose home ...

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