Out of all the new industries in technology, solar is taking the lead. Where technology is constantly changing and evolving, solar industries have approached consumers with both great and potentially damaging tactics. While trying to provide an environmental and cost-effective energy alternative to the modern day consumer, solar companies have missed out on business simply by omitting practices like text communication.
Solar has made some changes to their sales approach by adapting to consumer’s needs – but there’s still a gap in their sales funnel. It’s important to note what changes are working for sales and where solar companies can still adjust and improve.
Solar Misses the Consumer
Solar sales teams are doing both inside and outside sales, calling warm leads and going door-to-door as an effort to influence financial breaks and savings for residential and commercial buildings. However, this is where solar companies are missing the mark with consumers. In fact, it’s a huge problem for the solar industry, in general.
Solar consumers are much more unique in that they are extremely involved in the buying process. Consumers want to do the research themselves. They don’t want a pitch or a salesperson at their door. They are wanting to truly understand the value and investment before booking an on-site appointment. It’s important to note as it is more unique than most consumers in other industries.
Additionally, Vikram Aggarwal of Energy Sage pointed out how cold-calling and purveying is making more solar skeptics than believers. Consumers are annoyed with this kind of sales approach and may never buy because of it. That’s a huge problem for all solar companies.
“Consumers are very interested in choice. They want to do their homework and consider all of their options. Just like when you buy a Honda and I buy an Infiniti, neither of us made a wrong choice, it’s just a choice made simply based on our values and that is exactly what we’re starting to see in the solar industry.”
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Solar Adapts to the Consumer
Solar companies have done a fairly good job in certain areas – particularly in adjusting to the consumer’s needs in today’s circumstances. In light of COVID-19, solar companies have taken a whole new approach to their sales funnel as an opportunity to promote refinancing through cheaper electricity bills. It was important to make adjustments as lots of consumers are receiving their first electricity bills from quarantining and are ready to invest in cheaper alternatives.
Instead of on-site appointments, solar companies are using Google Maps and satellites to give virtual quotes to the consumer. This kind of virtual adjustment to the consumer was necessary as some solar companies have seen a 400 percent increase in solar inquiries in just the first two weeks of the lockdown. It ended up being a great strategy for keeping their business going during the pandemic. Not only that, but the willingness to adapt to the consumer is a pivotal quality in successful industries and businesses. COVID-19 knocked the wind out of plenty of businesses and yet, solar has remained standing because of this adaptation and flexibility.
But what if solar companies could be adapting more and, in return, grow their sales?
Solar Connects with the Consumer
While solar is quickly moving into the mainstream, their sales teams are still using most of the same outdated approaches when it comes to contacting their leads. As technology has rapidly grown in the 21st century, more and more people are refusing to pick up calls from numbers they don’t recognize. A consumer may even feel motivated to block the number out of frustration and discomfort.
What some solar companies are missing is an omnichannel approach, giving the consumer a choice in whether they communicate via phone, email or text. Unbeknownst to many, 89% of consumers would rather text than talk on the phone. Yet, several companies are still leaving voicemails and flooding inboxes.
Texting a lead can immediately make an impact on the buyer-seller relationship. As a lead fills out an inquiry on your website, you can immediately follow up with a text mentioning their inquiry before offering them their preferred method of communication (“Would you like to text or should I give you a call?”)
Legitimacy and comfort are then immediately established with the lead and they are more likely to listen and trust the salesman. This is vital. Remember the solar skeptics? Sales teams need to keep in mind: It’s not about selling to the consumer– they prefer doing the research themselves. It’s noticing their needs, answering informative and educating questions and providing quotes all tied up with the neat bow of meeting consumers on their terms and their time through texting.
And what’s more is texting can be a more effective way to at least qualify the lead. A salesperson may text a lead who turns out to be a renter instead of a homeowner. Instead of having wasted his or her time by showing up at their house, a salesperson can quickly disqualify a lead via text if they’re not the right fit.
The solar industry is competitive, so not only will it benefit your company to adjust its communication approach, but it will also put the company ahead of the competition by providing legitimacy and comfort for the consumer and establishing trust in the sales relationship.
Solar companies have got to start meeting the consumers from all areas, not just in times of desperation. Not catering to the consumer actually ends up leaving a massive chasm in the sales funnel called The Lead Conversion Gap. It’s into this gap that many leads fall through along with the money to generate them.
Sales teams can find much more success and less “lead fatigue” by catering to the consumer from the get-go. The consumer isn’t going to meet you on your terms and the instant gratification of text is sure to move the consumer towards the bottom of the funnel. This will inherently lead to a happier consumer, more sales and the dissolution of the Lead Conversion Gap.