3 Tips to Refine Your Solar Sales Approach
While there is a lot of excitement about solar energy, it can, and often does, take a long time to educate a customer on why they should actually invest in “going solar.” The good news is that taking on that role will position you as the educator and less like the salesperson with an agenda. In reality, solar contractors do have an agenda which is perfectly OK!
In today’s market, customer acquisitions costs are estimated to be an average of 20% of a system’s total cost. This cost has a significant impact on a business’s profitability.
To increase profitability and ensure long-term success, it is important to reduce your upfront acquisition costs and be successful in your ability to convert interested prospects into paying customers. Here are a few ideas to help refine your sales approach and further grow in 2018:
Define your identity to tell your story
Who are you? What is your brand? Work hard to be consistent in your messaging. From your website to your kitchen table conversations with customers, you should have your “elevator speech” nailed down and be able to tell your story. One way to do that is to share your project successes with potential customers. By explaining how the process went from initial sale to final system commissioning, you can convey who you are and how you do business by “showing and not telling.” Leverage your successes into your next opportunity. Sharing your stories with confidence can lead to the next contract signed by a confident customer ready to do business with you.
They say your eyes are the window to your soul…well your website is the gateway to your business. Don’t let your website deter people from wanting to do business with you. If you spend time on anything, make sure that your page is easy to find. It’s a key asset, if not necessity, that allows people to find you. Allow for search engines to be able to pick up your contact information and try to be listed in national, regional and local directories where people are looking for energy and solar contractors. Many of these sites, like EnergySage, will also allow for your happy customers to write reviews and your reputation to shine. Overall, your customers want to share their positive experiences and their decision to go solar. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Know your market
Your market is not just defined by residential and commercial or rooftop and ground-mount. What are other influencers, opportunities and limitations? Is it local/regional policy, geography/weather? Is it the untapped potential that your competition won’t touch?
It’s important to understand who your customers are. You don’t have to try to do it all. You shouldn’t. Are your customer homeowners? Are they businesses? To standardize your products and your operations it is important to know who you are selling to over and over again. This does not take away from offering each customer a unique and personal experience, but it does allow you to improve your efficiency and set expectations for the appropriate audiences.
If you’re a rooftop installer (resi / small commercial), it doesn’t make sense to have pictures of utility scale solar farms on your website. If you have decided that responding to RFPs is your sweet spot, then don’t waste your time knocking on homeowners’ doors. Your content development should instead be focused on the narrative to win you that bid. Thinking about yours company’s goals and make sure that your marketing efforts reflect those goals.
Leverage Key Partnerships
Remember, your whole team is selling your brand and what you have to offer. Most, if not all, are on the front line and customer-facing and need to be good stewards of your company and your mission. Your installers with boots on the roof could be some of your strongest members of your sales team. Invest in your whole team.
When working on our businesses and looking inwards, we often forget about the powerful tools we have outside of our company. Local partners come in all shapes and sizes. Your local Chamber of Commerce and other business networking groups are a great place to share ideas, find new opportunities (and potential customers) and find resources intended to help you further your business. State and regional business associations like SEBANE, TenneSEIA, and the California Solar + Storage Association all offer great benefits that you can and should take advantage of as a paying member. Local educational institutions, non-profits, and municipalities want to educate their communities and YOU have great content to offer.
Customers are partners too. Commercial businesses have a marketing need too and want to tell the world about their solar story and their positive experience with you, their great partner. Residential customers are often proud customers and want to show off to their neighbors. Can you leverage the Homeowners’ Association as the conduit to reach the community?
Workshops are an excellent way to bring people to you and reduce your inefficient call to call and door to door approach. In addition, it emphasizes your role as the educator and less as the sales person. Strong partners allow you to co-brand with staples in your community who can advocate and tell your story for you.