Selling Backup Power in the Wake of Disaster

Sep 21, 2017

Even though New York State was spared from the devastation of recent weather events like Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria, we’re inundated every day by the incredible damage we see on the news. The harrowing stories of flooding, wind damage, and power outages remind us of Superstorm Sandy, and other Northern anomalies that have wreaked havoc on our homes, businesses, and infrastructure in the past.

With each of these events, we see an uptick in backup generator interest. Suddenly, that luxury purchase that people have been putting off starts to seem more like a practicality, if not a necessity.

Unfortunately, most people still don’t understand quite what it takes to install a permanent backup generator. Many folks will call in the days following a big storm, hoping that someone can deliver the equipment and get them powered back up, right there in the middle of a massive power-outage with flood water still pooling on the ground. By the time they can get a contractor out to install their generator, they may have lost interest, or talked themselves out of the purchase.

How can we take advantage of this momentum to get our customers backed up before the next big storm? How can we explain to  our customers that the time to act is now, before the next power outage, and while there’s plenty of time and decent weather to get a rock-solid permanent standby solution installed? Here are just a few ideas:

Remind them of what’s involved in the installation process:

Let your customers know what your average lead-time is for a backup generator installation. Let them know that the process requires gas and electrical work that cannot be done in adverse weather conditions, and that it often takes a few days, if not weeks, to get the equipment delivered and installed. Encourage them not to wait, because once a big storm hits, it’s too late.

Talk about the comfort and safety benefits that come with backup power:

Try to paint a picture for them. Ask them to imagine life without utility power for days at a time, just like the folks they see on the news. What would happen to their food store? Do they use any critical medical equipment that requires electricity? What about their cell phones and their internet connection? In the summer, how crucial is their A/C? Could they still heat their home in the winter?

Remind them that extreme weather and power outages are on the rise:

This study from Inside Energy shows that power outages across the country are doubling every five years on average. They conclude that aging infrastructure, growing populations, and more frequent extreme weather are all contributing to this trend.

No one wants to come off like an ambulance chaser, selling generators in the wake of every storm. Likewise, we don’t want to fear-monger, preaching doom and gloom to scare people into spending their money. We just want to gently remind our clients of the risks they face without backup power, as well as the benefits they can enjoy by having it, and the backdrop of these recent weather events can be a good reference point to help this conversation flow.