How to Find Solar CustomersKimroy Bailey
It sometimes feel like a mystery to to find solar customers. Many of our marketing strategies failed but two has skyrocketed our revenue. In this article I will share the two strategies that has been working like a charm for the past 4 years. It helped to get our first customer & still works today!
So you have a grand idea of making some serious money from the multi-billion dollar solar industry but you do not have your first customer. Where do you start? What do you say? How do you convince a homeowner to trust you to add solar power to their home and more importantly with their money? If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions then this solar installer marketing guide is for you and so is the Step by Step Solar Installation Training Course!
I have done my fair share of solar installer marketing when I was growing my solar installation business at Kimroy Bailey Renewables and I am happy to share my tips and tricks. I must say many of my marketing strategies were an epic fail but two particular strategies got some great results. In this article, I will share those two solar installer marketing tips that worked and I will mention one that didn’t :).
First, before you go any further let me say, this article will not tell you to advertise on Facebook, YouTube, Newspaper, TV or Radio. This is a bootstrapping solar installer marketing guide to take you from zero to hero in your neighborhood. Second, this is not a quick fix, get rich quick in a day article either. These two simple but profound tips will take you some time to convert your customer but when you do it will allow you to quickly scale and keep making constant revenue from your growing solar installation business.
How to Find Solar Customers #1: Be your first customer & Host a Solar Barbecue!
Install a small solar system at your home as a model system for your future customers. You don’t need to break the bank to make this happen, with U$2,000 you can create a basic reliable solar setup to power your refrigerator, LED lights, Laptop, TV and a few other small electronics in your home. This article gives you 5 simple tips to install a solar system for under $3,000. The goal of this system is not to take your home off the grid but to demonstrate that solar energy works. It also has the added benefit of saving some money on your monthly energy bill. The best part though is the twofold benefit of a sales pitch that will make you some serious money, and your guinea pig which will help you understand some of the nuances of solar energy in order to better serve your customers.
After installing your solar energy system with the help of the Step by Step Solar Training Course then comes the fun part, telling others about your solar system and getting your first customers. After I installed my guinea pig system at my parents home (where I was living then) I found innovative ways of telling others about my solar installation. You can host a barbecue on a Game Day, a Holiday, a weekend, or whatever reason you can find to invite your friends, neighbors and persons you think may be interested in understanding how solar energy works. People love free fun and free food.
An easy trick to get your system noticed without being pushy is to power the Entertainment TV and Music System at the cookout using the solar system. It lends itself to an easy conversation starter. Your goal is not to sell but to state the facts of how effective and efficient this small solar system is. Talk about the savings to your energy bill and your new found certification from Step by Step Solar to handle the ‘headache’ of solar installation for your friends.
Hand them your business card and offer to do a free solar energy assessment. A solar assessment is a process by which you analyze a person’s home to see the profitability of solar energy, how much they will save, how much it will cost, payment options etc. This will guide them as to the potential of going fully solar or getting a starter solar system like yours and becoming a sales convert. Converting a customer is when you do a solar assessment and provide the customer with a quotation and the customer decides to use your service.
How to Find Solar Customers #2: Give FREE Energy Assessment
So your barbeque was a success, your wife baked some nice cookies, your favourite team won the game and your guests were impressed with your solar setup and your solar installer marketing strategy is taking shape. Now it is time to follow up with the 5-10 interested persons that said they would like you to take a look at their home and give them a cost to install solar on their property. These persons are called sales lead, a sales lead is a potential sales contact, a person that express an interest in your solar installation service.
To ensure that the sales process is as frictionless as possible please ensure that you offer the energy assessment absolutely free. Yes, I know you will have to stop what you have to do, drive to their home, offer your time and knowledge all of which comes at a cost and this person may or may not use your service in order for you to recoup these expenses when they pay you for the solar job. But trust me, it is hard enough to get your first sales lead. I have personally turned off enough leads when I was growing Kimroy Bailey Renewables. I was busy trying to recoup $100 via our Solar Energy Assessment charge and in turn, lost the potential to make $10,000.
It is best to have a foot inside the door (literally), than to stand outside because you wanted $100 to go inside the door. This $100 solar assessment charge is called a sales friction. A sales friction can be defined as psychological resistance to a given element of your solar sales process. While you may justify this charge as a means of covering your expenses to do the solar assessment, the customer is wondering “why am I paying you in order to pay you.” Consider going to buy an ice cream and the owner stands at the door and charges you because he has to keep the ice cream cold and according to him refrigeration is expensive. You pay him at the door to keep the ice cream cold and then you walk in and pay the cashier for the ice cream. You basically paid him in order to pay him. Anyway, before I confuse myself with this psychological stuff my rule of thumb is this; Do not charge for solar assessments until you have installed at least 20 solar panel systems.
Why wait until you install 20 solar systems?
By this time two things should happen, you will be popular enough for persons to call you and ask you to do solar assessments. To assess how serious those customer calls are you can apply a small charge for the solar assessment service. Secondly, you may be receiving so much calls for solar assessments that it will start to add up and impact your bottom line unless you are converting 30% of those assessments or finding other means to cover the cost related to getting a team member to do the solar assessment and prepare those quotations.
How to Find Solar Customer BONUS: Encourage Word-of-Mouth referral Programs.
This is pretty straight forward and the Step by Step Solar online course looks at this in great detail so I won’t let the crab out of the barrel here :). What I will say though is that customers are pretty proud of going solar. Some persons go solar to save the environment but frankly most of our customers go solar so that can show-off. YES! To showoff to be the hot house in the neighborhood. Anyway, since customers are willing to talk about their system help them along the way with a nice financial incentive. For some projects we payout as much as 5% of the installation cost to the customer who recommends us. That way they not only recommend but they keep talking to their friend until they convert because when the new customer makes the payment for their system our old customer who recommends us gets paid too. It is as simple as that. If you don’t want to do percentages a nice US$500 payout for a word of mouth referral is a good reward for a US$10,000 system installation. You get the picture, find out what number works for you, but it should be nice enough to keep your customers talking and it is a WIN WIN for all onboard.
Solar Installer Marketing Conclusion
A quick trick to remember is that there is no sales friction in offering a free solar assessment to a homeowner, they would quickly accept such a generous offer. After you complete the solar assessment you can provide a quotation and prayerfully wait for them to give you a call and you get the job. But if you offer to charge someone for a solar assessment, it is no longer an offer but now becomes a sale. Remember your profit is not in solar assessments, it is in solar installations and you need assessments in order to get installations.
If you have covered the basics and you already have a few solar customers under your belt and would like to increase your number of customers you may read our next article on growing your solar empire. This article will provide additional solar installer marketing techniques.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to read this article. I hope you found it educational. If you would like us to go deeper in any area of solar installations you can register for the Free Trial of the Step by Step Solar Installation Training Course. Please feel free to add your comments or questions below this article. This is #TeamKB Let us #KeepBelieving