Technical Articles

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Solar Sales Tips: 14 Pillars to a successful solar company.

Solar Sales Tips

If you are starting in sales with a solar company, its easy to be overwhelmed. Here are 13 solar sales tips, or “pillars” that are the foundation of a quality company.

In recent years, rapid growth in the solar industry has resulted in a decrease in custom designed systems in favour of generic “one-size fits all” systems. This can save some costs however, this is ill advised. Firstly, not every house or building will have the same energy usage for a given roof space. As a result, systems can often be oversized with longer payback times than the customer wants. Secondly, and undersized system will not save as much money as the customer may hope. A technically proficient sales teams who can effectively communicate up to date information to customers, designers, and installers are essential for the modern solar business.

Solar Sales Tip: Don't cram in large solar systems where they will be shaded
Cramming in a large solar system can on a less than ideal roof without good reason should be avoided.

Solar Sales Tips: The Do’s

1) Understand the market

Navigating Australia’s PV market is a daunting prospect for the average person. Sales staff
should be there to help the client procure a safe and reliable PV system.

2) Explain the limitations of PV

One of the most common questions asked by customers is, “Why do I still experience blackouts?” It is important that the sales team identify the customer’s needs, determine whether a PV system is
appropriate and explain its limitations. An uninformed customer will be unhappy when their system does not perform
as expected and is unlikely to refer your business to others. Remember misleading claims can be reported to government
organisations for investigation.

3) Streamline the sales process

Technically proficient sales staff have a role in every step of system design and installation.
They can save the business time and money by gathering the correct information (from the client and at the site) for
installers and designers.

4) Conduct a Site Inspection

This is a crucial step that is often being avoided by many businesses. The site inspection is
the time to identify factors that will affect the design and installation and explain this to the customer. Sales staff should
help the customer understand that a site inspection is well worth the extra time and will ensure they get the best system
for their property.

Solar Shading could have been avoided with these solar sales tips
Massive shading could have been avoided in this system if the sales person had done a site inspection.

5) Follow Standards and Industry Guidelines

Australian Standards and the CEC Compliance Toolkit include many recommendations
about designing and selling solar. In Addition, the CEC Accredited Retailer scheme is a way to show your company’s commitment. Following these guidelines ensures your business provides high quality systems and service.

6 ) Understand the Laws, Regulations and Standards

Aside from Standards relating to PV, companies need to ensure that they act within federal, state and local government laws. These laws cover things like:

  • contacting potential customers,
  • quoting and
  • providing information,
  • warranties
  • customer satisfaction

7) Explain the Quote

Explain the Quote: To reassure the customer that they are getting a good deal sales staff should be able to explain the
transparent quotation. They must also be up to date with the financial incentives available and be able to explain their
effect on net system cost and payback period.

Above and Beyond: If your client struggles with English, make the effort to bring in a translator. They often won’t stop you if they don’t understand something. In a pinch, the Google Translate App for Iphone and Android can really help!

8) Build a Reputation as a Market Leader

Building a well-trained and technically proficient sales team will improve staff
retention. Sales staff will be able to form a relationship with the customer over the life of their system and offering high
quality maintenance and product replacement will improve customer satisfaction. Ensuring customer satisfaction now
and into the future will greatly increase the chance of word-of-mouth referrals.

9) Discuss Comparative Offers

Sales staff should know the product and understand your company’s place in the market. In
order to discuss comparative offers with the client they should have a thorough understanding of product quality, how
to identify that a product is compliant with Australian Standards and CEC accreditation. Sales staff should be able to
explain the consequences of using non-compliant products and electricians who are not CEC accredited.

Solar Sales Tips: Don’ts

1) Use solar & sales jargon that will confuse the customer

Use jargon that will confuse the customer: A proficient sales team should be able to explain the deal to the customer in
terms that they will understand. They should educate the customer and leave them in no doubt that they are getting a
good deal. Make sure you and the customer understand the difference in energy and power as well.

2) Quote a solar system without conducting a site assessment

Businesses advertising immediate sizing and/or quotation
are not offering their clients the best service. Sales staff should be able to explain the benefits of custom design, accurate
energy yield estimates and precise quotation to the client.

3) Make Unsupported Claims

Advertising installation specific information causes confusion and can mislead the customer.
In particular terms like “annual yield”, “annual earnings/income” and “payback period” will depend heavily on the site
and system installed so should not be used before a site inspection has been completed. This will be particularly important
as the industry moves to “Energy Guarantees” such as those used in Germany.

4) Advertise Financial Benefits without Context:

Advertising rebates, STCs and FiTs incorrectly can cause confusion, particularly when the value of these policies is changing and uncertain.

5) Relate Energy Production to Energy Use with Evidence

Claiming that a system will cover the customer’s energy use without seeing their energy bills is fraught with danger. There is no such thing as an “average house” so claiming to cover bills invariably causes confusion and disappointment when the system does not perform as expected.

More Solar Sales Tips:

GSES has developed a Solar Sales resources for organisations dedicated to demonstrating their market leadership by holding their sales staff to the highest standard. These courses and books have been designed for new sales staff, designers and installers. As a result, they will build sales skills and technical understanding necessary to deliver the best outcomes for their clients and business.

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