It’s Not What You Think, It’s What I Think

My electric company called me yesterday. They started with; “This is not a sales call.” It was. They lied to me out of the gate.  Not a good start.

They were calling to get me to allow them to put a monitoring device on my air-conditioner. It would give them control over my AC and on hot days they would shut off the blower. The objective was to help them better manage power usage during peak times.

Their value proposition was the following:

  1. a $40.00 credit each fall on my bill
  2. It is good for the environment
  3. It helps keep energy costs low for everyone.

All good reasons, but not enough for me.

My wife is a stay at home mom.  We have 3 kids under 4.   I don’t want to risk a heat wave, where my wife and the girls are stuck in a sweltering house because the A/C blower has been shut off for two hours.  So, I said no thanks.

In response, the rep blurts out: “You don’t care about the environment?”

I do care about the environment.  But, based on what’s been explained to me, my wife and daughters comfort is far more important than the 500kw’s were going to save by shutting of our A/C for a couple off hours a month.  If you have 3 under 4, you get the critical nature of their comfort.

I like to have fun with sales people. Despite my no,  I let the rep know that her approach of attacking me, as not being environmentally conscience ,was NOT the way to get me to change my mind.

I gave her this advice.

After someone has heard your pitch and says NO, simply ask them why they don’t feel the program is for them.  Don’t “tell” them another thing. Just sit and listen.

To drive home the point and give her another chance to sell me, (I wasn’t adamant about not letting them do it,  I needed to be convinced it wouldn’t affect  my families comfort) I shared with her my concerns for the comfort of my family on hot days.  I was very specific.  I served up my objection like a giant softball!

Do you think she took it?


She went right back to her 3 scripted value propositions; cheaper energy, 40 bucks and good for the environment. She couldn’t get away from the script.  She couldn’t think for herself.

I tried twice to get her to bite.  She didn’t and I didn’t change my mind.  Excel energy wasted another call.

When a company creates a product or offer, it makes assumptions about it’s value.   But, no matter how thorough it is in identifying the most compelling value propositions, the market will always tell you what the true value is.

For me it was, can I accomplish all those things you promise without a change in my comfort level.  If the answer is yes, sign me up.  If you can’t give me my comfort, the other 3 don’t matter.

The Xcel Energy rep just didn’t get that.  She was convinced she knew what I wanted, the script said so.