Sales leads range from cold to hot. A cold lead is a prospective customer with whom you have no relationship yet, a hot lead is ready to buy, and a warm lead is anyone who falls in between the two. But how do you get and keep a lead—of any type—interested?
As a solar contractor, you know that one of your biggest expenses—aside from the high cost of solar—is acquiring customers. Nurturing solar sales leads isn’t all that different from sales in other markets: it’s all about building relationships. However, there are a few ways to utilize the booming solar industry and make smart moves that can help solar contractors convert leads into customers.
1. Start with the basics
When entering the solar sales cycle, the first thing you should focus on is building rapport. Listen to your lead’s problems, and help find solutions that are specific to those pain points, like you would with a friend.
Setting the intention of building a relationship can help shape the sales process. When first meeting a lead, be sure to tell them about everything you offer that might be relevant to their situation. Where are they in the buying process? What problems are they looking to solve? You want to leave feeling as if you know each other.
Once you’ve had your initial meeting, it’s essential to strike a balance when following up.
Solar sales leads can go cold if they feel that a contractor is too distant or too persistent. You don’t want to come off as pestering, but typically, many salespeople will naturally be too distant; take it one step further than you might be inclined to and maintain contact with your prospect through emails or phone calls.
Practice integrity with the process. Stay professional, no matter how friendly the interaction may seem. Maintaining integrity could mean the difference between your current lead going cold and getting a great referral for your next lead.
2. Understand how renewable energy factors in the decision stage
One of the many benefits of selling solar energy is that 76% of all Americans support the use of solar energy, regardless of political leaning. The good news is, that support means you will probably start with a warm lead. Regardless, always be prepared with the facts about solar energy and reiterate the environmental benefits that it offers, such as zero greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution reduction, and lessening dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Solar energy also creates jobs and supports economic development in manufacturing, installation, and more. This can be an opportunity to relate to you and make your lead feel like they’re mutually helping you out.
Lastly, you can also use geography and neighborhoods to your advantage. According to the Journal of Economic Geography, the more homes with solar panels in close proximity, the more likely a customer will decide to buy. Leads might feel like switching to solar is more attainable when they see other solar owners nearby. Geography and weather can also be a pain point, as solar provides energy regardless of drought or severe weather. Renewable energy offers a unique solution, so make sure to cover every angle.
3. Educate your leads
One of the best things you can do to keep solar sales leads from going cold is to make yourself valuable and present yourself as a knowledgeable consultant whom your lead can come to for answers. You want them to feel the urge to first get in contact with you if they have any questions. Start simple; switching to solar can be overwhelming, and you can use your follow-ups to present more complex information.
Switching to solar is no small investment, and the average 8.9-month solar sales cycle reflects that. However, a universal way to keep a solar sales lead from going cold is to emphasize how solar saves money in the long run. Aside from increasing property value and decreasing energy costs, government tax incentives are a great selling point that your prospects might not know about. Installing a solar photovoltaic system in 2020 will result in a 26% federal tax credit, but each year, the credit decreases. So, be ready to educate your leads and use the decreasing incentive to put pressure on your sales cycle.
4. Use a soft offering to hook
Finally, everyone loves getting free stuff. Once you’ve formed a relationship with your solar sales leads and understand their problems, seal the deal and offer a service for free, such as a solar design or permit plan.
You can use Solerus to provide a free, full system layout, shading analysis, full solar design, permit package, or solar single line diagram. Solerus provides free permit and design services on qualifying orders of residential systems up to 25kW. We offer two solar permit services: a full solar design and permit package and solar single line diagram for any residential and commercial solar installation in the USA.
Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.
To learn more about reducing solar customer acquisition costs and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price that you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!