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Solar Sales Masters: The “We’re Retired and on a Budget” Objection

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Click the clipboard to learn all the strategies behind each objection in our webinar.

If you have ever been in solar sales, then you’ve probably met a few retired homeowners.

A common trope is that many retirees aren’t keen on the idea of solar because it’s a long-term investment. But, this isn’t necessarily the case. People of retirement age are just like anyone else — they’re interested in learning new things, helping the environment, and, yes, saving money.

So, how do you explain to a person or couple how and why solar energy can be a good option for them? 

To explore how to best sell to retirees, let’s take some lessons from the 2021 Solar Sales Objection Throwdown. Hosted by Solar Power World and Aurora Solar, the event featured five industry sales experts competing to dismantle a handful of common solar sales objections. 

Using their expert advice, this blog will outline the best things to say when working with a retired homeowner on a tight budget. 

The Objection: We’re Retired and on a Budget

“We’re on a tight budget now that we’re retired, plus I don’t think we’ll even be alive anymore by the time the solar is paid off.”

Obviously, whenever any investment is put in the context of life or death, it can quickly become a sensitive issue. Thankfully, if a homeowner has expressed interest in solar energy, they still may be able to reap its benefits, regardless of their age and income. 

Save Now With Financed Solar Systems

Calculating savings per month can be a powerful selling point.

To kick things off, James Ramos, the founder of Solar Youniversity, addressed the misconception that solar can only work as a long-term purchase. With no money down, a financed solar energy system may actually provide financial relief for homeowners because they are able to lock in low, fixed rates.    

“If you’re looking to save money now, this is actually a great way to do it.” 

Addressing the uncertainty that surrounds the utility bills, Lily Valdez, the co-founder of Women United by Solar, shared a similar sentiment. 

“Well, that’s why solar makes even more sense for you. As you said, you’re retired and you’re on a fixed budget. You want your bills to be the same every month, right?” 

A good way to overcome this objection is by showing the stability of solar against existing monthly energy costs and rising electricity rates, Lily explained. 

“All we’re doing is taking a bill that you are already paying every single month — and goes up on average 4-5% per year — and giving you a fixed price point that will never go up with zero money down out of pocket.” 

Solar Joe” Mousakheel, CRO of The Solar Academy, presented a great way to explain the short-term benefits of fixed monthly costs. 

“If the electric company were to call you right now and say, ‘You have been such amazing clients for the last 20-30 years, we decided to lock in your current rates for the rest of your life.’ What would you do? And they always say, ‘Yeah, why wouldn’t I do that?’”

Tools like Sales Mode can help you present this information to homeowners in a way that anyone can easily understand, and lets you adjust on the fly if they change their mind.

Sell Solar As an Asset

Present solar as the asset that it is.

In addition to locked-in electricity rates, looking at a solar energy system as an asset is another important financial incentive to present. If an interested homeowner is worried about the solar panels outliving themselves, then you can start a conversation about their post mortem plans for the property. 

James explained how to present solar as an asset to someone later in life: 

“Most of the time, the kids will inherit the property. So you can say, ‘Hey, well that’s great. You’re actually also increasing the value of your home.’” 

Although it’s not always a guarantee, homes with solar energy tend to sell both faster and for more money. By increasing the home’s value, property heirs can then choose to live in a home with fixed electricity bills or sell it at a higher price. 

To put it simply, Solar Joe explained that as an asset, solar savings will only continue to increase for future owners of the property. 

“Don’t think of this as a liability, think of this as an asset. Our goal is to save you money on day one and save you more and more going into the future, adding another asset to your home. And remember, electricity rates are not going down.”

No One Can Predict the Future

Remind homeowners why they wanted to go solar in the first place.

Solar Joe acknowledges that retired individuals have experienced a lot and may be quick to dismiss anyone that tries the hard sell on them. Instead, he relies on empathy (which you can read more about in part 1 of this series, “We need to get another quote”) to bring the conversation to a personal note.

“You or I may not be alive in a few years, then what’s gonna happen? Your spouse is going to be protected. You’re helping them, you’re saving them so that if something does happen now you can feel good knowing that they’re protected into the future.”

Or, Pivot to Referral Sales 

Lastly, there are plenty of retired people that can’t financially benefit from a new solar energy installation. Even if a house has perfect sun positioning and electricity rates in the area are high, retirees are less likely to qualify for income tax credits designed to lower solar adoption costs.  

When solar just won’t work, Ashleigh Tatarcyk, Owner of Urban Sol Energy, explained that anyone interested in the technology may know someone who can reap its benefits. 

“If somebody is 85 years old and they are not paying any federal taxes, when solar will add 20 or 30 dollars to their bill I will be honest. ‘I don’t think solar is a good fit for you right now, but I do think it’s really great for your friends and family.’” 

By enrolling retirees into an ambassador program, you can still help those late in life earn cash for every person they refer to your company that decides to go solar. 

In Closing…

In the end, it’s up to you to assess the situation and do what’s right for the homeowner and their property. 

Solar can present an opportunity to combat rising utility costs and replace variable bills with locked-in monthly payments. It can also increase the value of their property for the next generation — or themselves.

And if they aren’t great candidates for solar? Remember, a good experience and honest assessment can lead to referrals for years to come.  

See what the experts have to say on other common solar objections:

Want to learn more? Check out the full webinar.

 

Featured image by Photo by Ryan Quintal.