Strategic Referral Relationships – An Opportunity to Work Together


At Alfa Energy, we are working hard to build a long-term sustainable business. To do that well, it is vital that we offer and deliver value to our clients. Given that we were founded over 20 years ago and that we have more than 4,000 clients, we must be doing something right. However, we are keen to continue to grow our client base. This is one of the reasons we are expanding our energy cost management services out into international waters, with offices in Sarajevo, Frankfurt, and Chicago, alongside our HQ in London. With this expansion comes the challenge of scalability. We are a privately owned business, debt free with big plans but we are also relatively risk averse. As such, the excitement and opportunity of global expansion need to be tempered with realism and, as such, I would characterise ourselves as pragmatic opportunists.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I am looking to work with likeminded businesses to develop (where possible) mutually beneficial relationships on a UK, European, or international scale. Relationships that make sense, that work, that mean 1+1= greater than 2.

So, what actually is the opportunity?

I wouldn’t want to compartmentalise it too much as that would put in place restrictions before we even started, but what I can cover are some examples of current relationships we have in place:

  • The standard referral scheme

We work with many individual businesses who simply introduce us to their client base and allow us to upsell energy cost management solutions in return for a residual referral fee. This is a typical referral model providing you with a passive secondary income stream for your business.

We have a wide variety of business that we support on this model. They are typically cost reduction companies, telecoms, and energy services businesses. However, we do have a few very different referrers such as a Chinese wholesaler who refers their supply chain to us. Ultimately, if you interact with other businesses in any way, as clients or suppliers, there is a referral opportunity.

  • A service supplementation partnership

This is where you would integrate part/all of what we do into your own set of services to provide a diversification of your business and additional revenue. In this regard, we would act as a subcontractor for that service element with both of our businesses seen working together shoulder to shoulder.

A specific example is an energy/carbon reduction business with whom we work. They offer a wide variety of energy reduction solutions but energy procurement was missing. We work alongside them to provide their client base with a holistic energy management service. We have also been able to introduce them to our own client base. A true win-win.

  • Outsourcing partner

This is very similar to the second scheme above but you would white-label our services. That is to say, your clients would not necessarily know that the backend is supported by Alfa Energy. This works particularly well with our bureau services and helps retain the independence of your business, if that is important to you, whilst keeping your own internal operating costs down.

Specifically, we work with a very large facilities management organisation that offer soft and hard support services to their extensive client base. We enable them to supplement this service offering with energy risk management and bill validation services. This helps them differentiate from competitors. We have indeed assisted them in pitching and winning new clients.

Why align yourself with alfaenergy?

As with any relationship it is about rapport, the definition of which is:

‘’A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.’’

So, in a business context it is about aligned thinking, goals, and most importantly in my view, common values.

Alfa Energy’s values can be found here on our website but in summary they are:

  • Respect
  • Commitment to growth
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Passion

Assuming we actually get on at a personal level and that our values are aligned, you also want to be assured that we can actually deliver. The risk of referring another business to your own contact list is that it goes wrong, impacting your own relationship and reputation with that contact.

Needless to say, any client opportunity referred to us, we treat as if it was one of our own. Our reputation is incredibly important to us and we understand yours is too. If anything ever did go wrong, we would be open and honest with you about that and do what needed to be done to find the best solution. It is, however, easy to talk about why you should work with us.

The following statistics provide a more objective summary:

  • Alfa Energy has won Broker of the Year twice (in 2012 and 2014) at the annual Energy Awards. We are the only energy consultant to do so.
  • Between 2013 and mid-2015, Alfa Energy was nominated for 14 different awards in a wide variety of areas
  • In 2014, our retention rate was over 90%,
  • Our client growth has been at least 20% year on year for the last eight years.
  • Since I started working with Alfa Energy in 2010, there hasn’t been one formal complaint around mis-selling of our services.
  • The senior management team of nine directors across the group have a combined experience of 171 years in the energy industry.
  • We are a family owned business and debt free.

Assuming so far so good, it is then about the commercials and, simply put, where there is a will, there is a way. Let’s talk.

Ian White

Ian White was a Director of Strategy at Alfa Energy Group, having been with the business since 2010. He oversees the sales and marketing functions for the group, coordinating activities between Alfa Energy's four international offices. Prior to that, he worked for the UK’s largest commercial gas supplier for seven years, managing public and strategic energy consumers initially, then moving on to manage the UK Broker Channel.