While you’re on site, you want to make sure you collect all the information you need to successfully complete your audit, select solutions, understand options the building owner wants to see, and set yourself up for a successful proposal and ultimate project close. They say the devil is in the details and these are the high value questions that will make your life easier and ultimately result in a more closed deals. The types of questions you want to ask fit in three categories: 1) Audit, 2) Solution, and 3) Options.
After doing your prep work and counting lights, there are still questions you may need to ask to fill in the gaps in your audit. First and foremost you want to make sure you have all the lighting and operating schedule questions asked. Good additional questions include:
- Do any areas get complaints as being too dark or too bright?
- Are there any areas where the lights are left on consistently when no one is in the area?
- Will the operating schedules be changing in any areas soon?
- How much do you currently pay annual to replace burnt out lamps and ballasts? Do you do the replacments or do you hire a contractor?
- What is the building voltage? Are there any areas that are different?
- Does the building have a central control system? If so, can I see the control panel?
- What type of emergency backup do you have for the lights? Which lights are emg?
Next, you’ll want to ask good questions to tee up your recommended solutions:
- Do you want controls in every room, some rooms, or none at all? (use this question to tee up your knowledge on controls and push them towards more controls)
- Would you like new fixtures in any locations? Follow Up: I noticed some are very dirty and don’t look like they get cleaned very often. This hurts light levels and can be a health concern.
- Do you like the current light color? Would you like it more white or more yellow?
- How important is quality versus price to you? (We recommend selling value, not price. Coming in future blog post)
- For Tube Fixtures: We can replace the tubes, do a retrofit kit, or a completely new fixture. Do you have a preference or is price the determining factor?
- Will you be doing your own installation? If so, this could impact utility rebates since many require an electrician to do the installation. Do you have an electrician on staff?
And finally, some quesionts that will help with determining whether you need to prepare more than one option for them to consider:
- Do you have a maximum budget for this project? Would you consider financing if it was cash flow positive?
- Is there any reason to phase the project? (examples could be seasonal requirements, budget constraints, staff time, etc)
- Would you like to see a budget option and a recommended option?
- Is there an investment hurdle (aka simple payback, IRR, etc) that management has before investing?
- Are there any time considerations we need to consider?
- If we get you a winning proposal by X date, what would the process be for getting the project reviewed, approved, and started?
- Who makes the final decision on whether the project moves forward? (If not your contact, I’d like to present the proposal to both you and the decision maker. Can we get a meeting with both of you?)
The primary goals for this step are to 1) Ensure you don’t have to go back on site again to collect more information, 2) Build trust and report with your prospect, and 3) Set yourself up to close the deal. When you’re driving away, you should feel confident that you’ve accomplished those goals and that if you deliver a winning proposal, you’ll close the deal!
Leif Elgethun, CEO, Founder, Retrolux
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