While the rest of the world braces for a potential recession, the solar industry continues to push forward at a blistering pace. Studies show that the American people installed enough solar panels in 2022 to power 22 million homes. And more significant growth is on the horizon.
Thanks to the rising cost of energy, manufacturing cost reductions, and solar-friendly legislation in many countries worldwide, experts expect a 40% jump in solar installations over the next few years.
If you’re selling solar panels, this is all excellent news. But there are a few challenges you need to be aware of. Namely: the incredible influx of competitors and long sales cycles.
This article will show you how to overcome these challenges and sell solar panels faster. Doing so will give you the edge to take full advantage of the current industry growth.
What’s driving solar panel sales?
If you want to learn how to sell solar panels fast, you must understand what’s driving the incredible demand the industry is experiencing. These are the four main factors:
Rising energy costs
Have you looked at your energy bill lately? Unfortunately, you’re likely paying significantly more than you were a couple of years ago. But, unfortunately, so are the people you sell solar to daily.
One of the best things about solar panels is that they allow homeowners to lower their energy expenses because they no longer rely on utility companies to provide them with power. As a result, most homeowners save $1,500 a year after investing in solar panels.
Falling solar panel prices
Everybody wants to save money on their electricity bill—but not if the cost of doing so is prohibitive. Years ago, this might have been the case. However, these days, the price of installing solar panels has plummeted by more than 75%, making it much more affordable.
As a bonus, solar has been proven to increase home values. For example, one study found that homes with solar sell for 4.1% more, resulting in a $9,274 average bump in sale price.
Legislation and incentives
Put simply, the American government is all in on the solar industry.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a boon to everyone selling solar. It allows homeowners to deduct 30% of their newly-installed solar systems from their federal taxes. This could result in huge savings.
Nation-wide solar adoption
Last but certainly not least, solar has gone mainstream.
Solar is no longer a niche energy source for the elite few. Instead, it’s now accessible to most homeowners and growing quickly because of the cost-saving potential.
Pair this with the fact that solar is a green energy source and generally considered better for the planet, and you have an in-demand product that most people are excited to own.
How to sell more solar panels
Anyone can learn how to sell solar panels—just follow the tips below. Once your team implements these best practices, they’ll start selling solar much quicker than before.
Understand solar tax credits and incentives
Solar panels are cheaper than they used to be. But they still aren’t cheap.
Fortunately, tax credits and incentives can offset the costs of installing solar panels, while still allowing homeowners to access all of the benefits that said solar panels provide.
But here’s the thing: credits and incentives change regularly. Your reps need to keep their thumbs on the pulse of the industry to maintain their knowledge regarding current offers.
Define your target customer
Who does your team sell solar panels to? There are two different answers to this question: residential homeowners and commercial businesses. Here are a couple of considerations:
- Project Time: Commercial buildings generally have flat roofs, simplifying solar installation. But, commercial buildings are often bigger than personal residences, so installs tend to take much longer.
- Property Ownership: Commercial buildings are rarely owned by the businesses that occupy them, which can complicate the sales process. Owner-occupied buildings are the easiest to sell to, followed by single-tenant buildings, then multi-tenant buildings.
Of course, you may already know if your team sells to residential homeowners, commercial businesses, or both. If that’s the case, move on to specific customer attributes.
You need to pinpoint your target market. “Residential homeowners” or “commercial businesses” isn’t nearly specific enough—not by a long shot. It’s time to dive deeper:
- Location: You should only sell solar to prospects who can actually benefit from it. Don’t waste time talking to folks whose homes don’t receive sunlight, for example.
- Ownership: As alluded to above, it’s much easier to sell solar panels to people who own the property said panels will be installed. Avoid selling to renters.
- Financial Standing: Lastly, focus your sales efforts on people who can afford the solar panels you sell because they have the cash or can get financing.
You’re probably wondering how to find out this information.
It’s simple: use SPOTIO’s Sales Intelligence tech, which will enable you to easily find prospects using 200+ filters. Tell Spotio who you want to sell to, and we’ll do the rest.
Craft a value-based sales pitch
At this point, you know exactly who your target audience is. Now, you can help your sales reps craft top-level sales pitches that your ideal customers won’t be able to ignore.
Every great sales pitch answers three questions…
1. Why should I buy this product/service?
There are a bunch of legitimate reasons to invest in solar panels: it will help prospects save money, improve the environment, increase the value of prospects’ homes, etc. Your reps need to communicate these benefits in a way that prospects can easily understand.
2. Why should I buy now instead of later?
The best sales pitches convince prospects to make purchases right now. One of the easiest ways to do this in the solar industry is to mention the economic benefits of solar, and the fact that governmental incentives won’t last forever. Limited-time discounts can work, too.
3. Why should I buy from your company?
Your prospects may want to buy solar today. But do they want to buy from your company? They will if you offer lower prices, better products, amazing customer service, etc. Make sure your reps’ sales pitches highlight the unique value your business brings to the table.
Establish minimum daily sales activities
Your sales reps can’t force prospects to buy from them. That part of the sales process is outside of their control. But they can commit to a certain number of specific daily actions.
Ask your reps to make X amount of visits and X amount of calls per day. Then ask them to send X number of emails and X number of text messages, too. If they’re religious about connecting with prospects on a daily basis, they’ll close more deals. It’s almost inevitable.
Your top-performing reps will do this on their own. Others will need to be held accountable. By establishing minimum daily sales activities, you’ll make sure effort is never an issue.
Canvass (and re-canvass) neighborhoods with solar
How often do your reps canvass neighborhoods? (Hint: once is the wrong answer.)
Our research shows that canvassing neighborhoods until a 60% saturation level is reached can boost booked appointments by 25%. In other words, don’t let your reps give up too soon.
Recanvassing allows reps to connect with potential customers they missed the first time around. It also gives reps a chance to promote the sales they’ve already made in the area. Bob might not want to buy solar panels from you—until he learns that Jerry, his neighbor across the street, just purchased a system. Suddenly he’s curious about your offer.
Use a multi-channel sales process
Different people prefer to communicate in different ways. That’s why your sales reps should adopt a multi-channel sales process. This will help you sell solar panels at a faster rate.
Prospect A might feel more comfortable talking to sales reps in person. He’ll want to look your rep in the eye and ask questions before he trusts them enough to sign on the dotted line. Prospect B is too busy for multiple in-person meetings. She’ll want to receive information via email, which she can view in her own time. Every prospect has a preferred channel.
You’ll close more deals if you invest in a software tool that makes multi-channel communication easier. Especially if said tool includes automation.
Automate your sales process
It’s a well-known stat at this point: sales reps spend just 36% of their time selling. To learn how to sell solar panels more effectively, take a good, long look at rep productivity.
What if your reps spent 50% of the time selling instead of 36%? What if you could bump that number up to 60% or more? Selling solar panels and meeting the quota would be easier, right? Of course, it would. Your reps would have the time they need to actually close deals consistently.
Greater rep productivity isn’t a mystery. You simply have to find ways to limit and/or eliminate administrative tasks. That’s where automation comes in.
Tools like SPOTIO are designed to automatically log prospect interactions and send follow-up messages at predetermined intervals. You can even design and automate entire sales workflows. Doing so has been proven to boost rep productivity by an incredible 46%!
Map existing customers
Next, map your existing customers.
We know what you’re thinking, “I don’t care where my current customers are. I want to know where my current prospects are, so I can devise strategies to meet with and sell to them.”
The logic behind that argument is sound. But think about this: mapping current customers will make it easier to reach out to these people and request referrals. You like referrals, don’t you?
Moreover, mapping current customers will help you visualize your top sales areas. Maybe your reps in territory A are crushing it. Why is that? You can investigate. Then you can allocate additional resources to that area to help capitalize on extra sales opportunities.
Streamline the lead handoff
A bunch of solar sales teams use a two-pronged approach. First, canvassers trek through neighborhoods, meeting potential customers and booking sales appointments. Then closers attend those appointments, explain the benefits of solar panels, and attempt to close deals.
It’s a great strategy—as long as your canvassers and closers don’t mishandle the lead handoff.
With SPOTIO, canvassers can easily meet with prospects, record the details they learn about them and book future appointments from the convenience of a mobile app. This information will then be passed to the closer assigned to handle the lead. The result: a streamlined handoff process that keeps prospects engaged and interested in buying.
Always be following up
Solar systems are expensive.
Do the economic benefits of this purchase outweigh the financial drawbacks? Almost always. But that doesn’t change the fact that your prospects will probably have to think long and hard before they actually agree to buy solar panels from you.
Because of this, you must make sure that your reps follow up with their prospects regularly. If they don’t, they’ll never make sales. It’s that simple.
One of the keys to effective follow-up is to use numerous communication channels. Mix up your reps’ use of in-person visits, phone calls, emails, and text messages. Then make sure they send these communications until they make a sale, or the prospect tells them to stop.
Plan for objections
You may think solar panels are the greatest thing in the history of mankind. Your prospects may think differently. Almost all of them will pepper your reps with objections. It’s normal.
Your reps need to be prepared to respond to these objections. Here’s what we recommend: poll your sales team and ask them about the most common objections they receive. Then devise strategies to overcome these objections. Finally, teach the strategies to your reps.
This will help them respond to prospect concerns in a positive way that advances the sale.
Track rep activity and performance
Are your reps underperforming? You need to know why. The only way to learn this information is to track their individual activities and performance, which you can do with SPOTIO.
Maybe your reps aren’t getting as much done as you’d like them to. Check each rep’s travel path to determine if they’re wasting time on the road.
Maybe one of your rep’s close rates is way below average. Check their email communications to see if they send enough follow-up messages. Then read through their actual emails to see if you can tweak the language used and help generate more sales.
The rep tracking features inside SPOTIO will keep your reps accountable. They’ll also give you the information you need to create better sales strategies and effectively coach your reps.
Keep your CRM updated
Finally, make sure your CRM software of choice is always updated.
Your CRM is the backbone of your entire sales operation. If the data it contains is outdated, your reps will retain potential sales. Obviously, this isn’t what you want to happen.
Solar CRMs like SPOTIO make it easy to find your ideal customers, see who your team’s top prospects are, update prospect records, set sales appointments, communicate with prospects in a variety of ways, analyze important sales metrics, and a whole lot more.
Case study: ES Solar increased solar sales by 65% with SPOTIO
We’ve mentioned SPOTIO a few different times in this article. Is it the right sales enablement tool for your team? We can’t answer that question for you. But we can tell you about the amazing success that other solar sales companies have achieved with our platform.
Take ES Solar, for example. The brand employs 100+ canvassers and sales associates, who all work the same few territories at the same times. This full-court-press sales approach can be wildly effective—but only if each remember has complete visibility into the sales process.
With SPOTIO, canvassers and reps are able to easily see which prospects have been contacted and when. This prevents them from over-contacting potential customers. SPOTIO also gives ES Solar an easy way to store and distribute sales collateral, which boosts sales.
Since working with SPOTIO, ES Solar has been able to boost sales by a whopping 65%!
Sell More Solar Panels with SPOTIO
There is a huge (and growing) demand for alternative energy options in the US. Still, selling solar panels isn’t exactly easy. That’s why you need to implement the tips in this article. Once you do, your reps will hit quota consistently and your revenue will go through the roof.
You know what else you should do? Invest in a quality piece of software to streamline your sales processes. SPOTIO is an ideal solution because it was specifically built for field sales.
Sign up for a free demo of SPOTIO to see if it’s the tool you need to crush your goals in 2023!