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Increasing solar sales requires educating the buyer. Making sure they understand the technology, what it does, the warranties, incentives available.

Solar photovoltaic technology has been proven for decades as an important clean energy technology to help move us closer to a sustainable future. A future without burning fossil fuels for the production of energy.

Solar energy technology helps harness photons of light from the Sun, with an almost zero environmental impact, and converts that light into electricity. This indefinite renewable energy source should be enough to encourage its mass adoption both in the residential and commercial sectors.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case as many doubt the effectiveness that solar can deliver. That’s why solar companies need to focus on sales.

For residential or commercially focused solar companies, growing business is a challenge.

Increasing solar sales requires educating the potential buyer. Making sure they understand the technology, what it does, the 20 to 25-year warranties, the incentives and tax rebates available, and the long term support and maintenance services they may receive when a system is installed on their property. 

Yes, increasing sales is important. But it’s not just sales you should focus on.

Today, most property owners do their due diligence before saying “yes” to you offer. That means googling your name or company location to confirm you are who you claim to be. So a focus on the entire sales and marketing process should be on your radar.

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Many property owners do their due diligence before saying yes these days and that means googling your name or company location to confirm you are whom you claim to be.

Here are the top points to work on immediately:

1.Hire a great VP of Sales. Let’s repeat that again, only differently this time. Hire a great VP of Sales with solar energy technology knowledge. Saying this guy can sell anything is not enough. Selling

Hire a great VP of Sales with a strong solar energy technology background, or someone who is will ing to learn about this technology. Its not enough to be confident that “our guy can sell anything!”

Selling solar energy is not just selling anything.

He or She will be asking homeowners to spend over US $25,000 on a product they can’t physically enjoy or get a “buyer’s high” … the type of feeling you get when you sit in a brand new car.

Oh! That new car smell.

Even if nothing else changes within the company, a good sales person will increase the revenue per lead by 20–100%+. In one sales cycle or less.

2. Fire your worst sales rep tomorrow (if he’s much worse than the rest). This doesn’t always work, but it usually does.

Leads are precious.

Leads in the solar industry are very precious. Imagine you have 100 leads per month, and you are splitting them among 3 reps. 1 of these reps has less than half the close rate of the other two.

If you just fire the worst rep, and split the 100 leads 50/50 among the other two reps then voila … your revenue goes up 20%.

In one month. Note be careful here, only do this if you have the data over several months to support it.

It can take the time to scale. But usually, most start-ups have a rep or two that close at a far lower rate than the others.

Route those precious leads to she who can close them.

3. Align your website and product marketing on the higher end of the market. Fix your website today.

Stop acting “cheaper”, “cuter”, “hipper”. Act more enterprise.

Write the collateral. Anchor toward the high end of the market. Prospects will pay more for the more “enterprise” solution. At a minimum, they won’t beat you up for being too low-end.

4. Decrease churn. Less churn = more revenue … and many other benefits.

So invest more here, in general — and especially if you don’t have any better ideas. Reach out to your previous customers more. Constant communication is important. Have customer meet-ups. Go visit them. Whatever it takes.

Measure churn. And then drive it down. In the end, decreasing churn by $X a year is the same as selling $X a year more product. Maybe even better.

Remember that in the solar business, word of mouth is the greatest sales tool available. When a

When a homeowner installs solar, that homeowner has neighbors who will ask about the system or the company they hired for the install. That homeowner also has friends and relatives they can recommend your company to.

A recent study from Yale University demonstrated that solar energy is contagious. Once one homeowner in a specific neighborhood installs a solar energy system, systems start popping up energy here in that neighborhood.

Make sure your company takes care of all those installations.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has 8+ years of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

This week’s trending solar stories—May 5th, 2017

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