Most installers will be happy to learn that selling more solar takes no extra work. With these simple tricks, you can close deals faster and easier than ever before.
1. Give Your Team the Tools They Need
Use the right technology to convert more leads into customers
To a sales-person, the saying “time is money” has a literal meaning. Selling time lost to soft costs is a common concern for sales teams, because every minute wasted is money left on the table. The ability to close customer deals is so closely attached to the ability to make every minute count that sales managers are constantly seeking ways to manage time more efficiently.
Minimizing “busy-work” and giving your sales team the tools they need will result in more sales, higher revenue, and improve customer experience. Did you know that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for 1 negative experience? (Salesforce.com). Furthermore, 78% of consumers have reconsidered an intended purchase due to a negative customer experience (Visualistan.com). Even a top-performing sales team can turn a “Yes” into a “No” if they aren’t equipped with the right tools.
In 2015, technology is the single most important tool a sales team needs to close a sale. Yet because every business has specific needs unique to their market, using the righttechnology makes all the difference. Choosing a software platform specifically designed for the solar industry will guarantee that your solar sales team has the right tools to close the deal.
Bottom Line: Not all tech solutions are created equal. Give your team the industry-specific tools they need most to make every minute count.
2. Slash Soft Costs to Scale Faster
Time is money, so choose a sales platform that is guaranteed to save both
With the SunShot initiative, the Department of Energy (DOE) has made it their mission to encourage innovative solutions that support the growth of the solar industry. Their top priority? Slashing soft costs to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for U.S. citizens.
While the hard costs of solar continue to decrease, soft costs and operational inefficiencies have remained a persistent obstacle for the solar industry. While soft costs affect solar businesses of all sizes, small businesses are hindered the most. Productivity gains associated with slashing soft costs are vital to small business growth. By getting the most out of your valuable time and money, you will be able to scale your business faster.
The areas of focus for the DOE SunShot program include: customer acquisition, financing and contracting, permitting, interconnection, and inspection, installation and performance, as well as operations and maintenance are soft costs that require solutions. When selecting a technology platform for your solar business, look for a solution that is trusted and endorsed by the DOE for reducing soft costs.
3. Automate Everything
Automate, automate, automate. Reduce friction to run your business like a well-oiled machine
Thanks to the DOE Sunshot program and a large selection of technology platforms on the market, you can finally say goodbye to wasting time on repetitive tasks and manual calculations. Nowadays, there is a variety software tools available for every step of the solar sales process, and using them will increase efficiency and revenue. With cloud technology, utility database integrations, and more, now you can sell solar anytime, anywhere. Just by implementing a CRM platform, businesses gain an average return of $5.60 for every $1 spent. (getbase.com). But why stop there? In the solar sales process, Customer Relationship Management is only one step of the sales cycle. By choosing an end-to-end platform, your solar business will be able to access every tool from one place. In addition to saving time by avoiding extra steps, you will save money and close more deals, faster.
4.Compete with the Big Guys
Level the playing field by using the same software that big companies have, at a fraction of the cost
As a small business, you are a lot more powerful than you think. There are distinct advantages that small businesses have over big corporations. Some of the top advantages include the consumer preference to receive better customer service, and dealing with local businesses they perceive to be trustworthy.
These preferences are rooted in a desire to not only feel good about what they buy but who they buy from and how they feel about their buying experience. A 2011 market survey showed that 80% of Americans agree that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than larger businesses. This suggests that small businesses can actually win over new customers by differentiating themselves from the big guys with superior customer service.
Small companies can use this to their advantage by offering customers more personable experiences, and the convenience of being a local business in their community. This benefit is made even more powerful with recent research that nearly 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. In addition to these relational opportunities, small businesses can maintain a competitive edge by incorporating technology into their business process. Due to the recent technology boom, small businesses now have access to the same tools the big guys have. Now you can impress your customers by using state-of-the-art software without breaking the bank. To get the most out of your platform, choose a software solution that offers tools such as Google Earth integration, pre-approved financing options, and clean proposal generation. Not only will they save time, but they will reduce friction and create confidence in the buying process for customers and salespeople alike.
5.Understand Your Market
Generate clean proposals that cater to every customer
The best way your business can maximize opportunity is to understand your customer. To truly understand your demographic, you need to be aware of your customer’s reasons and motivations to buy as well as their buying concerns. As in any market, potential solar consumers are motivated by varying interests and customers may not prioritize these reasons in the same ways. One customer may be motivated primarily by the financial benefits of purchasing a solar energy solution, while another may be more interested in the environmental sustainability benefits. Even recognizing the socially based motivations of solar consumers can influence your profitability and productivity.
Providing existing and current customers with materials like branded lawn signs or business cards can turn them into powerful social influencers. People are more likely to choose a business that a friend or neighbor trusts and recommends, rather than making a blind buying decision. It is important to capture an individual customer’s chief interests to successfully address these specific buying decision factors.
The best way to address decision factors in the solar sales process is by giving your customer all of the information they need in the proposal. You can use a proposal generation tool to calculate energy analytics, cash flow options, and an environmental impact report to ensure that every buying factor is addressed. Implementing an end-to-end sales platform with a built-in proposal generator will do the hard work for you, and ensure that the quoting process is seamless and accurate. Sell more solar with an end-to-end automation platform by giving your customers everything they need to say “Yes!”
Co-Written by Megan Davis and Renee Worley
 American Express Survey 2011
 Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow 2010