There are three areas that the most profitable and well run residential solar and geothermal companies do really well.

  1. Turn visitors into leads and know how qualified those leads are. The most profitable companies have an extremely clear process for turning phone calls and website visits into site visits and understanding the differences between an extremely hot lead, and a cooler lead. Their website is optimized to turn visitors into a site visit OR into a subscriber for their newsletter. Newsletter subscribers can likely become a site visit sometime in the future.
  2. 1 Site Visit for the Most Qualified Leads. Site visits are expensive and should be used sparingly. The most profitable companies only go to site visits for very hot and pre-qualified leads. On the site visit, the sales person makes sure to gather enough technical information for the engineer to create a proper design and also gathers customer information to tailor the sales proposal to their specific needs. Doing more then 1 site visit decreases margins and not tailoring the proposal to each customer will reduce conversions.
  3. Referral strategy creates the majority of leads. The most profitable companies generate the vast majority of their leads from word of mouth and referral. The referrals tend to come from past clients who speak with their neighbors and their installation partners.

We’re going to go in depth into each of these, starting with the site visit.

A site visit will be a small companies greatest asset or greatest liability. It will be a companies greatest asset if they are collecting the proper information needed to address the specific clients needs and gathering the needed information to create a proper design the first time.

The site visit will be a great liability if enough, or the proper, information is NOT collected, meaning that multiple visits must be made – reducing profits – or if the sales proposal is generic and does not address the clients specific needs, leading to low conversion rates.

I’ve created version 1 site visit checkilts for solar hot water and geothermal, you can download them here:

Download the solar hot water site visit checklist here

Download the goethermal site visit checklist here

A few pieces of information about the solar PV checklist

  • This is the first version and it is too long, in the next version I will condense the information to a maximum of 2 pages so it can more easily be used by sales people in the field.
  • Feel free to use it, change it and take the questions to use for your own company’s operations
  • The goal is for it to be simple and low tech
  • For the solar PV industry, the financial incentives vary so widely between state, utility and municipalities that I cannot map out each but simply provide a framework for you to put in your own local incentives.