There’s nothing more fundamental to landing a solar sale than your solar sales proposal. It’s paramount that your proposal is informative and accurate, while also being compelling enough to close a deal.
And while Sales Mode has everything you need to develop great proposals, it’s still up to each company to tailor your proposal to highlight your specific value propositions and speak to the needs and concerns of your specific customers.
With this in mind, what should your company feature in its proposals? To help answer this question, we spoke with Ian Lochore, the Director of Residential Sales at Baker Electric Solar, for his advice on composing solar proposals. Baker is one of the country’s most respected solar installation firms and was twice ranked the #1 Solar Electrical Subcontractor in Solar Power World’s Top 500 Solar Contractors List. Ian has over 10 years of solar industry sales experience under his belt, so he was the perfect person to provide insights on mastering the “Why Solar” pitch.
Tailor your solar sales proposals to the interests of your solar prospects
With the rapid growth of the solar industry, as a consequence, there has been an expansion of the breadth of solar buyers and an evolution of the types of common solar prospects. This is why it’s important to understand who your solar buyer is, what they value, and what interests them most when discussing the possibility of purchasing solar.
For example, if your solar customer is more interested in the savings benefits of going solar (as many are) than the environmental benefits, be sure to focus your solar sales pitch around how much the customer will save and the long-term financial benefits of going solar with your company. Download our free guide on the 5 solar buyers to learn more about pitching to your specific solar buyer personas.
Identify and define the homeowner’s pain points
As you get to know a potential customer, identifying their specific solar pain points can help you tailor your pitch as effectively as possible.
Although every sales conversation is going to be a little different, you can often define pain points by asking your prospect simple questions about their past solar experiences, current hesitations, and expectations for the future.
With a bit of empathy and a lot of listening, your solar prospects may feel more trusting in your services if they feel that you fully understand their pain points and see them as valid or if you are able to clear up any misconceptions they may hold.
Demonstrate your company’s longevity and reliability
Building customer trust is important, especially because solar is a long-term investment. So, reassure your customer that you will be there to support them.
“Who’s going to be there in seven years if there’s an issue?” is a question Ian often asks.
Guarantees, warranties, and service packages should be included in every proposal.
Ian suggests using simple analogies here, like buying a car: “What’s the service plan? Sure, I want a car that will get me to places in style. But I also want to know, is there a roadside warranty if there’s an issue with the car, is there a roadside warranty? What’s the history of issues with that make or model?”
Guarantee that if their solar system has difficulties 15 years down the line, your company will be around to answer their phone calls. “It’s not just the price, but the value of their purchase as well.”
Present solutions, not products
Presenting solutions (and not products) is one of the most important mantras to keep in mind while developing and delivering a great solar proposal.
Perhaps the most famous example of this concept is in the film The Wolf of Wall Street. In the film, the protagonist explains that the most effective way to sell a pen is not to talk about how great it is, but rather how the pen is a solution to a problem. To illustrate this, they ask another character to write their name on a piece of paper, creating the need for a pen.
Bringing this lesson into the world of renewable power, solar energy should be presented as a solution to escalating electricity costs, rolling blackouts (with a solar battery), and fossil fuel pollution, rather than focusing on the technical aspects of the panels and other system components.
Include testimonials and/or case studies
There’s a lot of solar companies out there and homeowners have a difficult time knowing who they can trust. Including testimonials and case studies from other satisfied customers assures them that you’re a reliable partner that will get the job done right
For instance, if you can tell your prospect specifically about other projects you’ve developed nearby (the closer the better), they’ll likely be more inclined to move forward knowing that they are not the first to do so. “We’ve already helped your neighbors save money with solar, and you can be next.”
Highlight instantaneous and long-term savings
“It’s more important to focus on the economics: What difference is it going to make to them and their family from a budgeting perspective?” Ian says most proposals should highlight the financials. Show your customers compelling numbers that will convince them to make the purchase.
Explain the benefits of installing solar on their homes over the entire lifetime of the system — short-term and long-term effects.
“What difference will this make to the client today and next year?”
That’s an important question to ask. “You should demonstrate the cash flows and utility bill savings over 5, 10, 15, 20 years in your proposal.”
Interested in learning more more details about Sales Mode? Schedule a personalized demo.
Provide information on all solar rebates and incentives available
Part of the more instant savings that come with going solar include local and federal rebates and incentives. Including these in your proposal could be the extra push they need to believe that your proposal makes economic sense.
Offer Multiple Design and Financing Options
“From there, it’s about making sure that the customer understands what’s right for them,” Ian says.
The customer is always right. With today’s technology, creating solar designs and generating solar proposals is faster and easier than ever before. There’s no reason a customer should not be able to see various panel configurations on their home. Salespeople should be prepared to show multiple solar design options and quickly adjust solar proposals to their needs.
Every solar proposal should also include financing options. The customer should understand what the differences are, whether it’s a lease that’s allowing them to save more money upfront or a cash purchase where the system is an investment with greater long-term savings.
Aurora’s Integrated Financing, for example, makes the solar financing process easy and efficient. With the integration, it’s possible to share side-by-side bill comparisons and apply for financing right in front of the customer. This tool helps close deals faster, reduce change orders and cancellations, and seamless workflow by curating multiple pay-off possibilities with accurate loan information.
Schedule a quick demo to learn about how this, and other Sales Mode features, can help you close more deals.
But don’t force your customer into a decision
Cash, lease, or loan? Your client has options, but the choice is not always simple. You should guide your customers through the financing comparisons and find out what the best solution is for them.
“What’s their cash flow situation? Do they want to use their money for a college fund?”
“Different strokes for different folks.”
Successful solar salespeople work with the client to find out what’s best for them. At the end of the day, the client should be able to freely choose between all the solar design and financing options that you have pitched to them. That is the secret to customer satisfaction.
Basics to include in your solar proposal
Keeping in mind everything we’ve discussed so far, let’s look at some key, specific items to include in your solar proposal template:
- Company Profile: This section helps to establish credibility and helps potential clients get to know you and your business.
- Details on the scope of the project: This can be broken out into several subsections, but in your proposal, you want to make sure you include all details around the scope of your project.
- Size and location of the solar system
- Project schedule
- Bill of materials
- Payment terms
- Financial Analysis: This will include details on your pricing for everything involved in the installation process from start to finish, including labor and materials. We know that putting a final number in front of a potential client can be nerve-wracking for fear of sticker shock. In this section, it is also a good idea to include any financial incentives and return on investment (ROI) metrics to help offset that number.
- Terms and Conditions: This section is for legal purposes to protect your business and employees. It should include details of the contract, warranty information, limitations of liability, and more.
- Contact Details: After you have wowed your potential new clients with a detailed and professional proposal, be sure to include your contact information in an easy-to-find place. This could be the first page, past page, or within the header or footer of each page of your proposal.
- Customization: Your proposal should always include the basics, such as finances. Never forget that customizing each solar proposal and making your potential clients feel like you’ve taken the time to put together something just for them can be the personal touch needed to make them feel more confident in choosing you.
To learn more details, schedule a quick demo to go over Sales Mode live.
Beyond the solar proposal
One way of building trust is to engage with the local community. For example, Baker Solar is engaged with local charities, such as the San Diego Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity in the Orange County area. Partnerships will help establish the presence of a solar installer in a neighborhood.
Word of mouth is the oldest and most powerful marketing and sales tactic. Ian can attest to that: “60-70% of our business comes from referrals.”
Maintaining your company’s integrity and branding is an underlying ingredient of any solar proposal. It could make or break the purchase decision for your customers.
What is a solar proposal?
A solar proposal describes the design of a solar project, its various elements, expected output, contract terms, and financing. Once the customer receives a proposal, the next step is signing a contract in alignment with the solar proposal.
What is solar proposal software?
Solar proposal software enables developers and installers to quickly generate full proposals (complete with system design, pricing, financing options, and even a contract) tailored to individual customers’ needs. Solar proposal software takes the guesswork out of designing a PV system with user-friendly tools that can be quickly and efficiently deployed in the field with minimal training.
What are the benefits of using solar proposal software?
The benefits of solar proposal software are too many to list in an FAQ. This blog goes through many, but some major benefits are:
- Real-time editing with automated personalization and calculations. For example, you can toggle one module off on the system design and you will automatically see all the numbers in your proposal update — pricing, financing, savings estimates, contracts, and so on. This reduces a lot of manual data entry and saves time
- Improved solar sales management combining quotes, invoicing, and customer management tools into one package
- Clear communication showing customers the benefits of going solar
- Faster turnaround time and greater customer engagement
- Streamlined workflow to draft proposals in seconds, apply for financing, and automatically generate contracts
How can I start a solar sales proposal to capture the client’s attention effectively?
Start with a compelling executive summary highlighting the solar solution’s most significant benefits. Craft it concisely and engaging to pique the client’s interest immediately.
How should I proactively handle potential objections or concerns within the proposal?
To address objections preemptively in the proposal, understand the client’s pain points, allowing you to provide clear, well-reasoned responses. Demonstrating that you’ve considered their concerns and offered solutions instills confidence.
Is it necessary to customize each proposal for different clients?
Absolutely. Tailor each proposal to align with the client’s unique needs, preferences, and challenges. Personalized proposals are more likely to resonate and build trust.
What strategies can I employ to make my solar sales proposal stand out amidst competition?
Focus on identifying and emphasizing your Unique Selling Point (USP). Whether it’s your exceptional customer service, production guarantees, top-notch products and warranties — call out what makes your company unique and why they can trust you to get the job done right
Should I include a section on potential future upgrades of the solar system?
If it’s relevant to the client, definitely consider including a section discussing the possibility of future system upgrades or expansions. This underscores the solution’s long-term scalability.
How can I create a sense of urgency in the proposal without pressuring the client?
You can establish urgency by offering limited-time promotions or incentives for early acceptance. Employ language that conveys the benefits of taking action sooner rather than later.
What is the optimal length for a solar sales proposal?
While there is no strict, “right” answer, a well-structured proposal should be concise. Focus on delivering essential information and leverage software like Sales Mode that will help you streamline and expedite the process.
Hungry for more tips for top-notch solar proposals? Schedule a customized, no-pressure demo to see how Sales Mode can help supercharge your proposals.
Looking for more information? Download our free Playbook for Solar Proposals That Close.