Has cold calling killed marketing in the energy broker industry?

As a business owner I’ve never been a fan of cold calling. It has never struck me as the best way to use the bright young minds I have the privilege to employ. That said an element of non-scripted cold calling to research, to make appointments or to make a new connection in the energy industry or with a customer has no doubt contributed to growth of my business as well.

In recent years however an increasing number of our competitors and smaller start-up energy brokers have taken to cold calling with a flourish not seen since the infamous boiler rooms of the 1990s and early 2000s. In the past 18 months every client I have spoken to has said to me they get up to 5 calls a day from largely untrained but very persistent salespeople. As a result many people now simply don’t put the calls through and the word “energy broker” is rapidly becoming associated with “high pressure telesales”.

Where should an energy broker’s resources go?

Many of the call centre operators are unhealthily front-heavy, and lack the back up resources and administration staff to manage the contract if they do win it. Target-driven call centre staff chasing the sale inevitably sail close to the wind when “pitching” their solutions, and we know of many companies that have signed with this type of business and gone on to have a very negative experience – often due to misinformation or poor understanding of their business.

Of course this perpetuates the bad image of the energy broker market even further.

What does an industrial and commercial energy broker do?

Pulse works primarily with large energy users for whom navigating the energy market can be much more complicated, and so requires high levels of niche expertise and product knowledge. Energy brokers in this end of the market are true energy brokers, trading gas and electricity on the wholesale market the same way a city trader trades on a commodities exchange using live trading screens and sophisticated financial models.

There is also significant legal and contractual skill required to set up bespoke contract terms with suppliers and ensure the best deal for our clients.

All of this is far removed from the perception of energy brokers that the army of cold callers has created, but it does affect us as we have become reluctant to simply pick up the phone and connect with someone new.

Our marketing strategy going forward includes many things, but cold calling isn’t one of them! If you have a way of stopping cold callers in their tracks let us know in the comments below!