Most companies recognize that shopping for energy is critical – though few would ever say it’s something they look forward to. Why is that? What is it about shopping for energy that makes it not nearly as fun as browsing for socks, coat racks, ceramic cats, or actual cats on the Internet?
The truth is that the industry has made the energy-buying process rather uncomfortable for buyers. Where customers desire transparency, they’re met with double-speak; where they need consultation, they receive a hard “sign now” sales pitch. Buyers can be thrown for a loop by the differences in all the choices.
1. Conversations are consultations, not sales pitches.
Would you rather go to a doctor who listens to your concerns, explores your health thoroughly and offers responsible advice? Or one that has an agenda and constantly wants to give a specific diagnosis or get you on a particular drug? Similarly, an energy advisor who knows his place and is comfortable with the relationship can be as honest about when a deal doesn’t look good as when it does and has no need to give you a hard “buy now” pitch. Every conversation throughout a contract should be as helpful and interesting as the day you renew.
2. It’s good to have someone to peel back the curtain.
All energy decision makers receive far more sales calls in a week than they’d like to, and every once in a while a provider gets in with an offer too good to ignore – at least on the surface. The ability to have a trusted expert to refer that caller to in order to find out the truth – and really tell you if the offer is as good as it sounds – removes the stress of having to rake through the mud yourself. Imagine the high-pressure caller telling you that you’d be crazy not to take his deal and being able to say “my energy advisor will decide that – here’s their number.”
3. Watching the market is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour job.
There’s a fairly good chance that the person making energy buying decisions at your company does not have the time, access or inclination to watch the natural gas and electricity markets every day to make the best buying decision for next month or next year. Having an expert to do that for you and only call when there’s something you need to know allows you to focus on the many other tasks vying for your time.
4. Multiple bids and other vendor requirements can still be met.
There is nothing mutually exclusive about having multiple bids from multiple vendors to meet a shopping requirement and also having an advisor to review those offers. Whether it’s an independent consultant who prepares an RFP or a broker who gathers all offers, every requirement you’re looking for in a shopping experience can be met by a qualified energy advisor. So if you need to show four competing supplier bids, do just that – by having your energy advisor gather the four best, and normalize them for you in an apples-to-apples way.
5. It’s nice to have someone who actually knows your account.
Going with the (apparent) low-price offer every time has its pitfalls, and that includes changing account reps every 1-3 years if you don’t have one consistent energy advisor overseeing every deal – regardless of the winning supplier. When you change suppliers or contracts, it’s a choice between a) having to explain your tax exemption percentage or your peak shaving strategy or that you shut down for two weeks in December or how you like to be communicated to, or b) having one trusted, steady person on the other end who already knows all of this and has it covered, the better option seems clear.
The list of reasons that having a trusted energy advisor makes sense for your business goes on and on, and it’s important to recognize that this service comes at a cost. This will typically be priced as an adder to your per-unit price, or an hourly rate, or even a flat monthly consulting fee. But it’s also important to remember how quickly such an advisor can pay for themselves: a 1 million kWh electricity account who signs at a half-cent discount due to helpful market advice from their advisor stands to save $5,000 per year – typically more than enough to pay a consultant for a company of that size.
If you’d like to know more about how an energy advisor can help your business, contact your Shipley Energy account manager today at (717) 804-0569 for a FREE, consultative 12-point analysis of your current electricity or natural gas bill.