Getting jobs is the hardest part of the renewable energy industry. My goal is to provide you with the appropriate resources and advice needed to sell jobs and grow your business.
These objections will come up equally when selling geothermal, solar thermal, or solar photovoltaic systems. Here are the top five objections when selling renewables and a couple tips on how to overcome them.
- Is the technology proven?
- How does the technology compare to other alternatives?
- Dealer support and service
To combat the argument that the price is too high, remember to use added costs, not whole cost. What does this mean? When speaking about geothermal, if the customer already needs to replace a boiler, don’t just mention the cost of the complete geothermal installation. Rather, compare the added cost of geothermal. For example, if they need a new boiler that costs them $15k and the geothermal system costs $25k, use the added cost $10k and show how that added investment will save them money in terms of operations versus the traditional system For example, for an added $10k investment, they might save more then a $1k dollars per year. Most people can see this makes sense. In general, using small numbers will make the customer less likely to object about the price.
Also try to frame the discussion as an investment rather than an expense. Remind your customers that using electricity from the grid or burning oil is simply an expense, and an increasing one at that. Investing in renewables not only provides them cash in the short term, but making a house more efficient increases the value and makes it sell faster. This is a critical issue to highlight if they plan on moving out of the house in less then 10 years and are worried about getting their investment back.
The first rule of thumb is….do not use the term “payback”, ever. In calculating the benefit of renewables, use return on investment (ROI) or internal rate of return (IRR) instead of payback. This will come in a percentage rather than the number of years it will take to collect the payback, and it better communicates the value of the investment so they can compare it with other investments where they may be looking to put their money. Most geothermal and solar systems sited at appropriate sites have an internal rate of return of at least 10%, this means that for every dollar that is invested they will save 10% every year that they own a system. Again, for most people its pretty easy to see that this makes sense.
If the project is being financed with either new construction or a retrofit mortgage, the return on investment will easily communicate if the project makes sense. This is because they will compare the ROI to the interest rate on the loan. If they are borrowing $50k at 6% interest, and the ROI on the system is 11%, they are going to be saving money from day one.
Is the technology proven?
The easiest objection to overcome is something you’ll want to get out of the way on the site visit. You can either show them projects you’ve done in the past or create a booklet of other projects that have been completed nearby.
Also provide information about how fast the industry is growing in the US. This can be done with some simple research on google. Would the industry be growing so fast if the technology didn’t work? I think not. With the decreasing reliability of other energy sources, renewables have a clear advantage.
How does the technology compare with others?
This objection is closely tied to the financial questions. You’ll either have to compare the technologies to each other–should they go with solar hot water, solar pv, or geothermal–or you’ll need to compare the renewable technology with traditional fuel sources.
Overcoming this obstacle will all come down to site-specific conditions and behavior. If their house is a good candidate for all technologies, which ones to use will be based on the returns of each technology and their budget.
In comparing renewables with each other, the conditions are also the key. Does their house have a good site for solar? If not, geothermal will be the way to go, but only if they have enough room for the loop field.
Dealer Support and Service
A renewable energy business needs to be able to convince clients that they’re going to be around for the life of the system.
If you’re an existing company, for example an electrician, entering renewable energy, just remind the customer that regardless of how the solar market goes, electricians will always be needed. In that case, you’re always going to be around.
If you’re starting up as a new renewable energy company, it gets a little more tricky. Remind them that you’re in it for the long haul and that your family is depending on you being successful. With rising fuel costs and the fact that the industry has seen rapid growth and public support for these technologies, it is only going to increase in size in the future.
I hope that this will help you to close more sales and grow your business. Are there any major objections you have noticed that I did not cover? Please let me know so I can figure out how to help.