Reaching Out to BusinessesLet's talk about how best to reach out to local businesses and what to say when offering a free energy assessment!
Now that you’ve compiled a list of businesses, let’s discuss what to say when offering a free energy assessment.
Approaching a business is simple:
Here is the basic framework of what to say when reaching out to a business, along with sample language.
Approach the business at a time you don’t expect they’d be busy and ask to speak to the owner or manager.
“Good afternoon! Are you the manager or owner, or is there a manager or owner I can speak to?”
Introduce yourself and what you’re doing. If you’re a student, be sure to mention it.
Detail what the assessment involves and how it all works:
- Let them know that the assessment takes no more than 30 minutes and costs nothing.
- Tell them how you’ll be using an easy survey to ask them a few questions and look around at how they use energy.
- Explain that they’ll receive a report at the end detailing ways they can save.
Benefits that the business will get from the assessment and that you’ll gain by conducting the assessment.
“Just for participating we will send you a sticker you can put in your window to let your customers know you care about your impact on the environment. Your participation would also be helping me (receive school credit, fund my further education, gain experience in my field).”
Ask if the owner/manager would like an assessment now or to schedule another day/time to come back to conduct the assessment.
“Would you be interested in participating now, or is there a better time when I can come back?”
Let’s put it all together:
“Good afternoon! Are you the manager or owner, or is there a manager or owner I can speak to?
My name is _________. [I’m a student at (School Name) and] I’m a volunteer with Green Impact Campaign. We are offering free energy assessments to small businesses in the area.
If you are available to participate I would only take a few minutes of your time. I would just need to ask you a few basic questions and then take a quick look around to see what sort of lighting you’re using, and things like that. After I complete the assessment you will receive a report recommending different ways you can save energy.
Just for participating we will send you a sticker you can put in your window to let your customers know you care about your impact on the environment. Your participation would also be helping me (receive school credit, fund my further education, gain experience in my field).
Would you be interested in participating now, or is there a better time when I can come back?”
Now that you know what to say, here are some tips to keep in mind when reaching out to businesses:
Don't go empty handed.Maybe the business owner doesn’t have time to talk to you right now but is interested in learning more. Always bring a GIC Flyer (download below) that you can give them to look over later and follow up.
Local businesses love students.If you are a local student, be sure to tell the business owner that you’re from the local university whenever introducing yourself. Local businesses are usually thrilled to help support local student projects.
Follow up, follow up, follow up.Persistence is key. If the owner is not there, try to get a card and follow up with them directly or any other staff member that’s in charge of paying the bills. Try to follow up at least three times before giving up on that business.
Download the GIC Flyer to take with you when reaching out to selected businesses:
Don’t have time to go door-to-door? Send an email!
If you just don’t have the time to call or visit businesses in-person, try using this email template.
Subject: [Business Name] / Green Impact Campaign
Hi [Business Name/Contact Name],
Hope you’re having a great week!
My name is [Your Name] and I’m a student volunteer with a local program called Green Impact Campaign. The initiative provides local businesses with a free energy assessment to identify ways to reduce utility costs and enhance sustainability. As much as this initiative is about helping local businesses save energy, it’s also about helping students, like myself, gain some real-world skills in our community.
Would you be interested in having a free (and really simple) energy assessment performed in the coming week or two? The thirty-minute assessment can be scheduled for whenever is most convenient for you, simply let me know some days/times that work best for you.
I hope you’ll join your neighboring businesses and let me know if you have any questions!
Sample Questions from Businesses:
"I’m pretty busy. What’s involved with this energy assessment?"
“It’ll only take me about 20 minutes to conduct the energy assessment. I can either do it now or you can tell me a day and time that works best for you and then I’ll use a cloud-based tool to answer some basic questions about your space, like the type of light bulbs you use. And then the tool will give you custom recommendations on ways to reduce your utility costs, provide cost and savings estimates, and show you how your energy use compares to similar businesses.”
"How do you conduct the energy assessment?"
“We use Green Impact Campaign’s tool called GEMS to complete the energy assessment. It’s a cloud-based tool that was developed specifically to help small businesses reduce their energy usage and save money.”
"Seriously though, how much does it cost?"
“It’s completely free. No fine print.”
"So what do you need from me to conduct the energy assessment?"
“Not much. All I would need from you is some basic information about your business, like square footage and average monthly utility costs, tell me a time that works best for you for me to come conduct the assessment, and a contact email address where you’d like to receive the assessment results. That’s it!”
"How much savings will the energy assessment find for me?"
“I won’t know for sure until I conduct the energy assessment, but I can tell you that the average business that has received this energy assessment has found energy savings of 25% through the recommendations.”
"Do I have to commit to implementing the recommendations?"
“No. Our goal is to give you the information you need to make your space more energy efficient. We would hope that you implement the recommendations but there is no commitment.”