Going solar isn’t just a transaction between a homeowner and a contractor, it’s a journey.
From the first point of contact to system decommissioning, solar companies and their clients can expect to work together for 25 years or more, with many opportunities along the way to generate additional revenue.
In our Money on the Table webinar, our expert panelists demonstrated how solar companies can expand their business with new products and services like battery storage, EV charging, and more.
In this blog, Bodhi CEO Scott Nguyen helps us explore a typical solar customer’s journey to illustrate the best ways you can earn referrals, introduce new products, and offer additional services after a solar sale is complete.
Start on the right foot
First, if you want to generate revenue after a solar sale, you have to provide the best possible installation experience. While sales representatives will do everything they can to close a new deal, the same personal attention to a customer’s needs should continue at every step of the solar installation process.
According to Scott, as many as 4 out of 5 homeowners going solar report a negative installation experience due to extended timelines, poor communication, or unmet expectations.
To set customers’ expectations and address uncertainties, solar companies should always aim to establish realistic time frames for permitting, installation, and interconnection, while laying out the entire construction process in an easy-to-understand format.
Although plenty of installations are performed without any unexpected hurdles, delays in solar development are fairly common due to the individual nature of each project. Whenever things go wrong, even if only mildly, solar companies should strive to get ahead of potential issues and inform customers of the steps they are taking to get things back on track.
By guiding homeowners through the ups and downs of an installation, solar providers can remain trusted partners in the eyes of the customer, building credibility by doing whatever it takes to help their clients. Establishing trust and providing a great initial experience will give solar providers a leg-up above their competition.
Stay in contact with your customers
Even after the long and occasionally grueling installation process is complete, solar companies should stay in contact with their customers to continue to build a relationship. Here are some effective ways to keep that customer connection strong:
Monthly performance reports: Although most companies give buyers the power to monitor their own solar panels, sending a monthly performance report is a great way to stay in contact after a sale. By automating these reports, companies can add dozens of contact points with their clients every year, without an excessive amount of time spent to set it up.
Customer referral programs: If you give your customers a great experience, they will be more likely to recommend your services to others going solar. With an incentivized referral program, you can reward happy customers directly when they advocate for your brand and deliver leads to your inbox. Referrals are critical to generating new business and have been shown to account for as much as 50% of residential solar sales.
Tips, tricks, and advice: If you’ve already established yourself as a trusted solar expert, you can keep customers engaged with your company through ongoing tips, tricks, and advice for solar ownership. Whether through social media platforms or a blog and email list, you can encourage customers to follow your business online or sign up for a newsletter to stay posted on important system information, company giveaways, and more.
By staying in contact with your customers, either directly or indirectly, your business can remain at the forefront of your clients’ home electricity decision making. Rather than simply appearing every so often to try and sell new services, customers that can see the ongoing value of your business may be more receptive to the idea of after-sale products alongside monthly reports, ownership advice, and incentivized programs.
Customize after-sale products and services
Finally, to make sure your customers receive an honest and personalized experience throughout their system’s lifetime, custom tailoring the products, services, and programs you offer them after a sale is a must. With a personalized approach to after-sale products and services, solar companies can showcase precisely how their offerings will add value to their customers’ unique installations.
For example, let’s say that your business has decided to offer battery backup storage for solar installations. While it would only take a small amount of time to draft a form email to all of your existing customers with the subject line “We Now Sell Batteries,” you’ll likely find more success in after-market sales with a personal touch.
By calling or emailing customers individually, your after-sale conversation to introduce solar storage (or another product) can be put in the context of your customer’s unique system. Specifically, some solar installations will need a system upgrade to accommodate a new battery, while other “storage-ready” grid-tied inverters can seamlessly incorporate backup power.
Likewise, since solar panels last for over 25 years and people continue to use electricity every day, it’s never too late to increase a home’s energy efficiency to maximize energy savings. By talking directly with your customers to understand their electricity use, you can tailor your energy-efficiency product and service offerings based on exactly what may be relevant or valuable to their property. This can include new appliances, ceiling fans, window replacements, and more.
At the end of the day, when someone purchases a solar energy system, they are investing in an incredibly valuable asset for their property’s long-term electricity expenses. As a solar company, your role is to help home and business owners achieve their renewable energy goals by introducing the products and services that can deliver the most value, both before and after an initial sale.
To generate revenue after a contract is signed:
- Always aim to create a high-quality post-sale customer experience
- Stay in contact with your customers to keep them thinking about their energy and your business
- Tailor future product and service offerings to fit your customers’ unique systems
To learn more tips and tricks for keeping those revenue streams going after the initial sale, be sure to watch the entire webinar on-demand. If you have more questions after that, reach out for a personalized demo to discuss the unique challenges your business faces.