Early on the people who bought solar energy systems were either live-off-the-land environmentalists, survivalists, right wing extremists , or engineers & hobbyists. This has changed. The selling of solar electricity systems is changing.
In particular, the residential solar lease offers a whole new way to look at going solar, and therefore also presents a whole new way to sell solar. It doesn’t have to be all about watts and amps or which BOS panels are best for each home. These are still important, but they may not be the most important information a homeowner looking to go solar should hear. These are my top tips for selling solar. Are you a believer?
1. Understand why the homeowner wants solar.. Are there environmental reasons? Financial reasons? Prestige? Independence from the utility company To get off the grid It is important to understand why someone wants to go solar. This will allow you to speak to them in a way that resonates with them. It is far more important to ask them questions than tell them why they should get solar. Over my career in sales, I have read many books about sales and all of them stress the importance to ask good questions.
2. Keep in mind that they came to visit you. People go solar these days because they love it and believe they can, not because they need to. They aren’t buying a used car. This is something they fear doing. They are going solar! They are taking a leap of faith that they love. Selling solar means being willing to let the customer take charge of their excitement and not get in your way. Selling solar will eventually require a lot of outreach and outbound sales. However, I hear it mostly being done through inbound inquiries.
3. Listening is more important than speaking, no matter what product or service you are selling. Your customers will tell you what to sell by the questions and statements they ask. Listen to their questions and then respond. Then, listen again.
4. Ask great questions. My experience has shown that customers are happier and more successful when it is up to them to decide how they want to proceed. It is easier for homeowners to reach a decision by asking the right questions. This helps homeowners make the right decision. They will be the ones to have the panels in their homes for the next 20+ Years.
5. It is not worth it to have unhappy customers. Don’t sell solar energy to customers who are not the right fit. Unhappy customers are more trouble than they’re worth.
6. Keep it simple. It is easy to sell a solar lease. Simply outline the monthly payment and the amount that will be due. This will then be combined with their remaining electricity bill. You don’t need to make it more complicated. It is possible to show how their energy future will look with a lease by showing a graph that shows what their monthly payments would be if the utility they currently use compared to solar lease payments.
7. Analyze your sales data. How was it done? What was the result? What worked? What could you do to speed up closing each deal? What could you have done to make them more qualified before they went on-site? What was the best way to make your customers happy and have successful installations? You’ll be more successful in the future if you know what your best, most efficient process is. A lot of sales books will tell you that a great rep with a great process is more likely to succeed than a great rep without a process. Imagine how much you can do with a great rep, and a great process.
8. Even if the sales rep is on commission, there are still costs.. While you don’t have to pay the rep if they fail to close a deal you can incur a significant opportunity cost if your rep could have been a better one with a better process and closed more deals. You must be proficient at both hiring and firing.
9. Training. Salespeople should receive ongoing, at least monthly, training. It will be amazing how quickly the messages being delivered by reps from different training sessions differ. Find out your best practices, your process, and your unique messaging, then practice, practice.
Installers & sales people: I would be interested to hear what worked and didn’t work for you. Customers and homeowners’ I would also love to know what you liked and disliked about your shopping experience.