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6 BIG Ideas to Beat Big Business

Hi it’s Russell French from Energetic Consulting. Today I’m going to share with you David versus Goliath, 6 BIG Ideas to Beat Big Business. 

As a small business or medium business, sometimes it seems overwhelming to be able to compete and beat the big companies in the industry. It seems like you don’t have the resources or the knowhow or the expertise. But actually, I’m going to share with you six big ideas that actually proves that wrong. For those of you that don’t know my story, I actually had a design installation and sales business for many years from about 2008 until 2012.  They were the main core years of my business. And actually I was competing against Origin Energy and the biggest names. And we were winning. Not every time, of course, but what we were doing was that we were doubling down on our strengths. 


Big Idea #1 Double down on your strengths. 

Double down on your strengths and the things that you’re really good at and forget the rest. You can’t be all things to all people. Small and medium business is nimble. There are things that you can do that big business just can’t do. You can go do a site visit. A lot of big business only does desktop assessment. Get out to site and get in the face of the customer. Build rapport with them and get to know them so they know that you’re real. You’re a real person. You can build a connection and build a relationship, and that goes a hell of a long way. Perhaps you’re an electrical business, you may not be, but perhaps your electricians. That’s something that big business just doesn’t have, typically it’s all outsourced with subcontractors. They’re a sales marketing front. So play to your strengths. 

Big Idea #2 Educate your customers. 

Now, this is something that I talk a lot about. You may have seen my videos previously about educating customers. It is absolutely essential to beat big business, because big business often just has a quota that they have in mind. I know companies that has each of their salespeople call 300 people per day. Can you believe that? 300 cold call customers a day. Now, I can guarantee you this, not a hell of a lot of education is going on during those phone calls to be different. Educate your customers what’s important to them and really educate them on why cheap solar is risky. There’s companies out there selling 6kW systems for $2500, and there are corners getting cut. So educate your customer on what the differences between a quality installation and a cheap installation is. How your system is going to be designed. What the aesthetics of the system are. Where the inverter is going to go. Where the panels are going to get laid out. How you’re going to tie the cables up, so it’s nice and neat. Are the conduits going to be on the outside of the wall? Are you going to put the cables on the inside of the wall? Pay attention to detail. What the differences with the warranty are. What is your follow up service going to be like after the system is installed? What’s the connexion process like with the electrical distributor? Educate your customer, go above and beyond. 

Big Idea #3 Articulate your differences. 

In one of my last videos, I spoke about the art of differentiation, which is something I’m very passionate about. Articulate what’s different about your business. Do you do data monitoring for every system? Are you providing safe solar or perhaps low voltage solar systems, or power optimisation? Whatever it may be. You may not do that, but what is different about your business and what value are you providing that other businesses may not be doing and why should they care about those differences. Remember planting the seed of doubt about the risks involved in going solar actually can go a hell of a long way in getting a customer on board and making a sale with your business. 

Big Idea #4 Have incredible customer service. 

Go above and beyond and follow up when you say you’re going to follow up. Which is all about having integrity and guiding the customer on the journey. Remember, you’re the expert, they’re not. This is their first time, and may be the only time they ever go solar, so guide them on the journey of what that looks like from once you’ve made the sale or have made the purchase. What happens next. What the five things are that happen next. Is there a network application that goes in? Is there some paperwork that needs to be signed off on? Ask them what day of the week would suit them and be their preference for having a system installed. Maybe they have some things that they have to do during the week, like school runs with the kids or other things. Work with them and have incredible customer service. And back it up and educate them on what is going to happen next. If there is an issue with the system, what will you do. 

Big Idea #5 Tell a more compelling story. 

Part of the key of the training that we provide to the solar energy industry is all about telling a fantastic story about your business. Why a customer should care to go with your business. Previously, I’ve spoken about having a great value proposition and unique selling proposition. Get exceptionally good at telling a great story. What the history is of your company. How did it start? Who’s involved with the business? Can you share some testimonials about your raving fan customers? What value are you going to add to the customer’s life? Tell an incredible story and get really good at that. For those that don’t know, I actually have an electrical background. I’ve been an electrician of 25 years and I had to double down on teaching myself how to sell, and how to provide great customer service. For 10 years I didn’t stop doing courses and programmes. I went to night school for many years and I learnt how to tell a much more compelling story to customers. So they can actually have the insight into the difference between a great solar business and a business that cuts corners and who really doesn’t care. 

Big Idea #6 Double down on your referrals. 

That’s the low hanging fruit, right?! Your cost to acquire for a customer could be anywhere from $150 to $500. But not if you’re doubling down on your referrals for every customer that buys a system from you. It will be less! Aim for a 1.4 multiplier coming from referrals. So as soon as you’ve sold that system and it’s installed, immediately have some automated follow up for the customer. Get a testimonial, and keep on interacting with them and offering them something unique so they actually can refer their friends and family and colleagues. Maybe it’s a gift card for shopping at Woolworths, Coles or a department store. Perhaps Bunnings. $150 or $200. What are you going to provide them? Because remember, that’s your cost to acquire and the customers that you’ve already sold to are low hanging fruit. Don’t let them just go idle and then go off and do Facebook campaigns. Really double down on referrals. 

Here’s a summary of our 6 BIG ideas to Beat Big Business. 

1. Play to your strengths. 

2. Educate your customers. 

3. Articulate the differences of your business. 

4. Tell a more compelling story to your customers. 

5. Have incredible customer service. 

6. Double down on customer referrals. 

I hope that’s been of service to you. Remember to subscribe to our Youtube channel for the latest video content. We put out a lot of free content and it really helps us if you subscribe. So please subscribe, like the post and hit the notification button for when the next video becomes available. We do this on a weekly basis and we hope it’s been of service. 

You can listen to the Soundcloud recording below:



If you need help with your business or marketing needs, contact Energetic Consulting today and start creating raving fan customers!

Article by Russell French – Founder of Energetic Consulting Australia

Energetic-Consulting-Founder-Russell-FrenchRussell is a veteran of the Australian renewable energy industry of 17 years and an innovative business leader with a proven track record spanning over 20 years. Alongside Warwick Johnston of Sunwiz, and Donovan Craig, he is the co-founder of Sunfluence and Solar Guide, which are solar business automated marketing platforms and services to help solar retailers win more business.

He is also the Founder of Solar Social, a new and innovative meet-up bringing together like minded businesses and professionals to discuss innovation and the latest technology developments.

He has served as a Director for several well known renewable energy companies like:

  • Enphase Energy as their APAC Director and Australian Country Manager and brought the business to Australia and setup their operations in the region
  • Sungrow ($2.2B, world largest solar inverter manufacturer in partnership with Samsung SDI) as their Marketing & Strategy Director
  • Sun Empire as Founder and Managing Director. Sun Empire was a founding company member of the Clean Energy Council of Australia.

Russell has also worked in the award winning Sustainability Strategy team for the City of Melbourne developing the city’s renewable energy and solar program, and helped develop the new Solar & Storage division for one of Australia’s largest energy retailers, Red Energy which is owned by the iconic Snowy Hydro.

He served as the Secretary & Convenor for the Melbourne Chapter of the Smart Energy Council of Australia (formerly Australian Solar Council) for 5 years.


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