Building owners let profits leak from inefficient electrical systems all the time, but concern for this year's bottom line may scare them away from investing in a fix. Pitching upgrades to frugal execs may be tough, but thanks to high peak demand charges, Summer is the season to try. And Ray Crespo, vice president of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Energy Conservation & Supply, says these extra steps can help you convert that pitch into a sale.

Climb the ladder — You'll need buy-in from operations staff, but the bean counters will ultimately sign off on the project. “Start in the accounts payable department and work your way up to the CFO,” Crespo says. “They're always looking for cost-cutting measures.”

Come prepared — It's not enough to say, “You'll save money.” Build your pitch on a strong business case that starts with an energy survey of the facility in question — Crespo conducts them for free. “If you can show an annual ROI of more than 33%, it's pretty much a slam dunk,” he says.

Change your clock — Your calendar may end on Dec. 31, but your customer's may not. Get on their fiscal cycle, and you may find a more receptive client. “It's a minor detail,” Crespo says. “But a lot of companies make decisions at the end of their fiscal year based on how much money they have left in their coffers.”

Get money back — An upgrade that saves your customer money is good. An upgrade that saves them money and costs less is better, so find any rebates that may apply. “Rebates can turn a 20% annual ROI into a 40% annual ROI,” Crespo says. “And that changes your pricing matrix right away.”