Solar sales is bending, not breaking – but it needs a refresh

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Last year, Aurora held its annual Empower event for solar professionals to network and hear from industry leaders. One of the sessions, the Solar Sales Objections Throwdown, looked at common roadblocks for residential solar salespeople and how to overcome them.

The Throwdown does a good job of looking at specific homeowner objections, so let’s look at a little higher level here. I’ll limit myself to three but, as any solar salesperson will tell you, in an industry as competitive as solar, there is no shortage of challenges.

First, let’s look at just how difficult it is to get in the door. Aurora Solar’s Solar Industry Snapshot found that 50% of homeowners find it challenging to determine if an installer is legitimate, which is holding them back from going solar. In fact, over one-third of respondents noted that they’d be concerned about deceptive sales tactics if they were buying a PV system.

If you’re able to convince the homeowner you’re legit, the second challenge is standing out. 80% of homeowners receive two or more quotes before making their decision to go solar, so it’s more important than ever to have materials, knowledge, and expertise that set you apart.

Finally, the industry is constantly changing: New and incoming net-metering policies, rising interest rates and changing state and federal incentives can be difficult to stay on top of, and complicate your sales pitch.

The good news is that salespeople can overcome all three of these challenges with a sales pitch and proposal that highlights your company, clearly shows the homeowner the benefits of solar and meets their home energy and financial needs. This gives credibility that not only shows you’re reputable and above board, but helps you stand out from the constantly growing crowd.

What would you identify as some of the common mistakes that salespeople make when trying to win homeowner trust?

One of the biggest mistakes we see solar salespeople making is not having the right information at hand to engage in accurate kitchen table conversations with homeowners. As we said above, solar is incredibly competitive, so it can be tempting to promise a homeowner an especially strong energy offset to close a deal. But, over-promising on your proposals just to win the deal can ultimately damage your reputation as a sales rep and as a company. You want to make sure you’re able to stand by what you’re quoting to homeowners.

Another common mistake is being too prescriptive in your proposal. It’s important to give the homeowner recommendations, but you also want to ask for their opinion and make sure you’re designing the best solution to meet their unique needs. By asking questions and tailoring a proposal to their responses, you can build more trust and get them more engaged in the proposal — and ultimately close more sales.

In today’s modern world, is door-to-door sales still an effective sales tactic for solar professionals?

The fact of the matter is that solar companies still rely heavily on door-to-door canvassing, with good reason — it’s important for lead generation and identifying new opportunities in the field. However, the data shows that door-to-door salespeople are up against significant roadblocks and have to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity.

Less than one in four consumers (24%) would genuinely listen to a door-to-door sales pitch — and what’s more, 66% either refuse to open the door or already know they’re going to decline. So, salespeople don’t have time to mess around, their pitch has to be sharp, quick and to the point, or you risk losing the homeowner’s attention right away.

To make the most of initial interactions, you have to come prepared with a game plan to overcome this weariness. Respondents noted a potential area for improvement is the ability to show exactly how much electricity use a PV system will offset, as well as the return on investment over time.

Do you see generational differences in how homeowners approach the purchasing of solar?

As a matter of fact, yes. This is an especially interesting point for installers to keep in mind, as generational differences actually impact how they should be marketing and selling to homeowners.

Our survey found that while Baby Boomers are looking for infographics clearly explaining government incentives for solar, Gen Z claimed that catchy advertisements are an especially impactful way for solar companies to stand out. Gen Z consumers are also much more likely to reach out to learn more about solar via social media platforms (82%), while nearly half of Baby Boomers would never use social media for education on solar panels.

Depending on their target demographic, solar installers need to strategically position themselves as a reliable, professional company by meeting their ideal consumer where they already are. While social media will play a key role in educating the next generation of homeowners, installers should also diversify their sales tactics to accommodate all preferred methods of communication. This brings us back to our point from previous questions: Generic proposals and pitches just don’t get the job done. You have to tailor your proposal to each homeowner based on who they are and what they care about.

What has Aurora been doing lately to make the sales process easier?

With all these challenges in mind, we continue to improve and invest in our technology, which is why we’ve redesigned Sales Mode — our solar sales solution — to make the sales process easier and improve the homeowner experience.

Sales Mode’s latest features include even faster proposals — you can now easily generate accurate proposals in minutes, right in front of the homeowner. We’ve also added advanced customizations that let salespeople personalize their proposals for the brand (including company logo, images and video) and give them greater flexibility to drive the homeowner experience. With one single proposal, you can present a model of the system to the homeowner, including AI-powered designs that model energy offset and return on investment, and share it with them as an interactive web link or PDF.

Sales Mode also now includes advanced storage modeling, right down to hour-by-hour usage. This is especially important given rule changes to net metering in some states, and integrated financing to manage the loan pre-approval process without ever leaving the proposal.

Our team is happy to share more about how Sales Mode’s updates and new features can help you close deals with confidence. Check out the Sales Mode page to schedule a demo or see the platform in action!


 



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