Broker Online Exchange is publishing a series of interviews featuring its client brokers. This interview is with Ben Chang of CA Energy Group located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.
What did you do before you became a broker?
Ben: Always had big dreams of being successful one day. I went from job to job looking for a career I would enjoy and be able to succeed in as a non college graduate. However opportunity for someone like myself who has big goals and no degree in the work force is very limited. So I eventually got into sales under a company that goes by the name “Credico”. I learned direct sales going door to door eventually built up my own team and ran a residential sales campaign for one of their clients in the energy industry.
What attracted you to the energy brokerage business?
Ben: I liked the idea that I can control my own outcome based on how much effort I put into my business and ultimately myself. That way I know there is no one else to blame but myself if I were to ever fail.
How long have you been a broker and how did you get started?
Ben: A little over a year now. I was introduced to another energy brokerage before BOX while I was selling residential energy. The opportunity to make more money is always an incentive for me to give something a try, so I did and haven’t looked back since.
Do you have employees? If so, how many and in what roles?
Ben: My company does not have any employees, we sub out to other contractors and brokers.
What have you found to be the most important experience and/or skills necessary to run your brokerage?
Ben: The knowledge about the industry/deregulation. Customers want to know that they’re dealing with an industry expert. More importantly, the support on the back end and supplier relationships that BOX provides makes life a lot easier and my pitch much more competitive.
How do you like to describe your business to people outside the industry?
Ben: It is simple, not easy though. Rewarding once you understand the concept that, in life no one is going to hand you anything on a silver platter.
How do you market or make people aware of your business?
Ben: We go cold directly to the business owners.
How would you describe your best customers?
Ben: My best customers are the ones that give me the most resistance. The harder it is to gain the business the harder it is to lose it. Those are the customers that seem to take the business relationship more personal and it means a lot to them especially when they figure out that not everyone in this industry is out to get them.
Why do your customers typically choose to purchase their energy from you?
Ben: If I were to guess it’s probably because they appreciate how transparent and upfront I am regarding how this whole things works. I don’t try to sell them smoke and mirrors and do not ever try to pressure them. I let them decide on their own.
What are the biggest challenges you face when running your brokerage?
Ben: Finding good sales people and getting them to follow up. And they quit too easily on themselves especially when talking to a potential customer.
What do you like most about being an energy broker?
Ben: I like the freedom, the ability to set my own hours. Having my income be residual is kind of nice because it allows me time to work on other things, or be with family and loved ones more often.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years?
Ben: We would like to manage at least 500 Mega watts of power within the next year and over a Giga watt within 5 years.
How has your partnership with BOX impacted how you run your business?
Ben: It made it easier. Back end is easy. And, as I mentioned earlier, the support and supplier relationships that BOX provides makes life a lot easier and my pitch much more competitive.
What advice would you give a person who is thinking about becoming an energy broker?
Ben: Get into it, it’s worth it. But don’t ever think it will be easy. This is not a get rich quick scam nor is it for the lazy who just want to sit there at work do nothing and milk a clock.