COVID-19 public health precautions have limited the door knocking and home sales presentations that many solar companies relied on until 2020. The good news is that, although many customers’ doors have (literally) closed to in-person visits, remote solar sales technology has opened a lucrative window for installers.
Remote sales is a relatively new area for many installers, so we decided to bring in J.P. Gerken, founder of the remote sales giant Zenernet Solar, to answer some of your most common questions.
Here are the biggest takeaways that he’s learned from the past 20+ years doing remote solar sales. You can also watch his full session, “Unlocking the Remote Sales Opportunity,” from Aurora’s Empower2020 Virtual Summit:
How And Why Have Remote Solar Sales Grown?
There are three major reasons that remote solar sales have exploded in the last year. Firstly, many customers now prefer remote meetings to in-person presentations simply for the safety aspect of remote meetings during the pandemic.
The pandemic has also made the general public more comfortable with video conferencing than before. For example, Zoom now has nearly 175 million monthly users (up from only 14 million in April 2020).
Lastly, installers who are trying remote sales for the first time are finding that remote customers may actually be more dependable than in-person customers. J.P. said that he’s seen remote sales processes result in significantly lower cancellation rates than in-person solar sales.
How is the remote solar sales process different from in-person sales?
J.P. said that installers should expect a longer sales cycle for remote sales. Unlike an in-person presentation, energy consultants usually won’t close the sale on the first Zoom call with a customer.
This is partly because most remote customers have already done solar research and want detailed answers to their questions – more than can take place in a single online meeting. This desire to explore their options also means that, unlike most in-person buyers, remote customers comparison-shop by seeking multiple solar quotes.
Since these customers are more informed than in-person customers, they benefit from a slightly different approach. To learn more on how to reach and nurture these digitally informed customers, you can watch Hayley Sonntag’s advice from the Empower2020 session “Lead Generation: From Door Knocking to Digital”.
How can I build an effective remote solar sales process?
Since remote sales is new to many solar installers, J.P. gave four main tips on how to create and refine a successful sales process:
1. “Speed to Lead” Matters
J.P. noted that Zenernet Solar has closed with many remote customers simply because it’s been the first company to get in contact and provide them with a detailed proposal and quote.
He attributes this to Zenernet’s investments in technology, such as Aurora Solar’s solar design and financial software, that allows energy consultants to contact, quote, and educate customers before their competitors do.
2. Focus on High-Intent Customers
For more value per lead, reach out to prospects who have already expressed interest in solar. A strong inbound marketing strategy will go far in attracting the right remote customers.
3. Educate Them
These customers are eager to learn about their options. Encourage your team to give them the detailed information they seek, both about going solar in general and about the reasons behind your proposal for their specific home.
4. Get the Right People on Your Team.
Remote sales requires people that can quickly build meaningful, authentic connections with strangers over the internet. J.P highly recommends investing the time to not only find and hire sales people, but also training these people for remote sales. These investments will help ensure that all your remote customers enjoy a consistent, high-quality customer experience and provide you with future referrals.
Done right, remote sales can boost a solar installation company’s growth tremendously. To learn more from J.P.’s 20+ years of high-performing remote sales, listen to his full Empower2020 session here: Unlocking the Remote Sales Opportunity.