“Where the Money Is” — What Bank Robbers Can Teach Us About Stealing Customers in the HVAC and Smart Building Controls Industry

If you’ve ever heard of the famous bank robber, Willie Sutton, you may be familiar with his iconic response to the question, “Why do you rob banks?” He simply replied, “Because that is where the money is.”

We can apply this same logic to find new customers in the HVAC and Smart Building Controls industry. Let’s look at what Willie Sutton can teach us about finding customers in this competitive industry.

Who was Willie Sutton:

William Sutton Jr. was an American bank robber. During his forty-year robbery career, he stole an estimated $2 million, and he eventually spent more than half of his adult life in prison and escaped three times.

His famous quote created a method for solving problems called Suttons Law.

The heart of which is when diagnosing a situation, one should first consider the obvious. They have taught this methodology in everything from medicine to investing.

In order to find the more customers and grow your business, it helps to think like Willie

First, you need to determine who has money, and who is more likely to spend on your product or service. For example, businesses that prioritize energy efficiency, comfort, tenant retention and environmental sustainability are a good bet to want smart building controls for their operations.

It also pays off to look at who is spending money on similar products or services. By researching companies that will invest in similar items as yours, you can get a better idea of who is most likely looking for what you offer.

Events like Realcomm/IBcon and AHR are great because the people that attend are investing money to learn how your products can solve their problems.

Are You only Looking in the Same Places You Always Have?

We are creatures of habit, and when something is working, we are tend not to do anything differently.

How many times have we heard, “if it is not broke, don’t mess with it”? While this might work well in marriages, it can be the kiss of death to companies that want to grow sales.

This story explains what can happen:

One day, people saw a man out in the street searching frantically for something.

“What are you searching for? They enquired.

“I’ve lost my key,” the man replied.

Everyone around joined in, trying to help the man.

After time searching, someone asked the man where exactly he had lost the key.

“I lost the key in the house,” replied the man matter-o-factly.

 “Then why are you searching for it in the street?” was the obvious question asked to him.

 “Because there is more light here.” Replied the man.

Are you always looking for new customers in the same places, at the same events and in the same way?

Are You succeeding because of your efforts or in spite of them?

It might be time to move out of the light and to look in places that you have not before.

On that note, I came across this conference that I have never heard of or attended. From the looks of it, it seems like it would be an exceptional event to attend and find new customers. Has anyone been before? If so, please share your thoughts in comments.

This is from their website:

May 3 – 4, 2023 |The Sunset Room, National Harbor, Maryland

“Improving Energy Efficiencies and Environmental Sustainability in the Built Environment”

This senior level educational and networking Summit is designed to provide an interchange of in depth knowledge and serve as a catalyst for collaboration across large built environments that do not necessarily engage one another on a daily basis but all share the common goals of:

Improving strategic planning and technical operations to support decarbonization and electrification, increase overall energy efficiencies, reliability, and resiliency. These sectors include:

Higher Education, Hospitals and Healthcare Systems, Federal Facilities and Life Sciences.

The highly curated two-day agenda offers over 5 senior level panels, 8 plenary sessions (no tracks!), 5 hours of dedicated networking and live technology and solution demonstrations onsite.

Finally, don’t forget about utilizing digital marketing tools such as social media advertising or search engine optimization (SEO).

With digital marketing strategies, you can reach out directly to potential customers and make sure they know about your product or service. Also consider creating content such as blogs or articles related to your field so that potential customers notice your expertise and trustworthiness before engaging with your business.

“The only thing better than finding a new customer is having a new customer find you.” Eric Stromquist

In conclusion, don’t be like Willie, but learn from him. Crime does not pay, but knowing where to find the money does.



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