There is something to be said about having a team of individuals working cohesively together to effectively and efficiently reach a common goal. On my former solar sales team, our mission was to help more homeowners understand how solar could fit into their larger life goals. For some, they wanted to save money on regular expenses so they could have more disposable income for their family to do the things they love. For others, they wanted to lower their impact on the environment and solar was one way to do it. For most, they wanted to capitalize on a state tax credit that would significantly reduce their breakeven time to add solar to their homes, adding value to their property and allowing them to nearly neutralize their electric bills in a matter of a few years.
Customers had a number of reasons that brought them to their appointments with their solar energy consultant. As a skilled and ethical salesperson, it’s part of the job to understand the customer’s motivations, validate their concerns, and provide options for them to move forward that are in line with their values.
In my first solar sales role, I was lucky enough to be a part of a team with dynamic leaders who helped the group dial-in and streamline the process. The results spoke for themselves. We installed at a high volume, for informed customers, who often referred their friends and family to us. Let’s talk about a few of the areas which helped make this sales team a winning sales team.
A structured sales funnel process:
The path to solar was virtually the same for every client. Once they were a lead within our system, they were contacted by an inside sales representative over the phone. Sometimes this would take multiple attempts. This person would verify their address and their location. Then, the rep would confirm that the potential locations of the array worked for the customer and there were no obstructions or shading in those locations.
The inside sales rep would then hand off the call to a solar energy consultant who would remain with them throughout the buying process. In this initial call, the consultant would gather the customer’s prime motivations for going solar, pre-qualify them for financing, and arrange an at-home meeting.
The sales funnel process was refined constantly to become more succinct. In fact, it wasn’t always this way.
Initially, adding in the role of inside sales was seen as controversial. The owners wanted to keep costs down, but proponents on the sales team thought we’d make more sales as a result. In addition to freeing up skilled salespeople from the role of “pestering salesperson” calling several times to verify their details and set an appointment, it also solved a major psychological problem by having solar energy consultants enter the conversation as the expert from a place of authority and respect. This started the whole sales process as a partnership of equals instead of having consultants in the role of chasing people down. The new process set a new tone for the entire team and it worked for the customers.
Consistent and clear communications:
With residential solar sales visits, there are often topics and questions that come up again and again. Effective salespeople should have polished responses to many of those common questions – like how will this attach to my roof? How can you be sure that there won’t be any leaks? Will these make it through a hurricane (which was a very common question as we were in Louisiana)?
Great sales people know the ins and outs of these common questions and how to communicate those answers to clients with varying degrees of prior knowledge on the subject.
An understanding of how human psychology effects big purchase decisions:
The questions mentioned above often get to a deeper concern that needs to be addressed with a potential solar customer. Before immediately answering these questions, we learned that it was critical to ask for a bit more context. What makes you ask this question? Just by questioning the question, so much information about a client’s anxieties bubbles up to the surface. This was a prime opportunity to address the client’s concerns and hesitancies. Listening to the client and then using the opportunity to educate on the technology would open up the customer’s ability to get excited and feel confident about their big decision to go solar.
There are many ways that we learned how human psychology affected the sales process and this is just one example. At weekly sales meetings, we discussed dozens of sales best practices rooted in psychology. We experimented together and learned how to become better at connecting with and listening to our clients, as well as guiding them through their sales journey.
Many of these principles and best practices are detailed in Taylor Jackson’s new HeatSpring course, The Psychology of Solar Sales – How to Win Deals and Influence the Future.The instructor for the course, Taylor Jackson, was a top contributor of this sales team, helping to develop and implement the strategies that solidified the team’s success.
Excellent follow through:
Consistently delivering for the customer is an absolute must throughout the sales process. For example, customers don’t like to feel in the dark about where their project is within a company’s project pipeline. At the time of contract closing, consultants would leave a visual timeline outlining all the next steps within the process. It was something that customers could reference after the consultant leaves their home. It’s important to be realistic with the timeline and continue to provide updates regularly so that the customer feels informed.
Failing to meet a customer’s expectations can quickly sour a relationship or experience. Consultants address this predisposition to distrust by always communicating, setting realistic expectations, and delivering on commitments.
This kind of operational excellence, not only in the sales process, but also when complications arise, will continually put you and your company in a great position to deliver for customers and then ultimately ask for referrals. Solving issues is a great way to build enthusiastic fans.
These are just a handful of the ways in which our sales team operated to deliver great service and value to our residential solar customers. Dialing in a team of people and organizational processes is never an accident. It’s often the result of extensive research, education, and training to find exactly what works. It often means developing a community of practice amongst your team where everyone tries ideas, refines the approach, and builds best practices.
To fast track this process for your residential sales team, consider taking HeatSpring’s new course – The Psychology of Solar Sales – How to Win Deals and Influence the Future. Taylor summarizes years of tested and tried process improvements and approaches so that you can become the best solar salesperson you can be. Today, he works with companies all over the country through his consulting firm, Finial Solar. Enroll today!