2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year for residential solar sales in the U.S. With changing energy policy out of Washington, expiring tax credits, there’s uncertainty.

We hear all the good press about solar as an industry, with the BIG increases in mega watts driven mainly by utilities … but want about YOU?

The just released the ”U.S. Solar Market Insight report” and it tells a different story for residential installers.

To paraphrase – “Installers in major markets have difficulties  reaching customers outside of the early adopters that have driven the market to date”.

that’s a mouthful – it means the the low hanging fruit is gone, the market is maturing and we need to move from selling to the “Early Adopters” – people who were already fully bought in on solar – to the next stage; a group called “Early Majority”. This next wave of customers is much larger – and they need inspiration and education. They need some help making informed decisions.

This shift in the market leads to some tightening in the short term, but with the right marketing and sales strategies, will lead to a big uptick over time.

The question is; How much time?

The DOE and NREL fund a massive 3 year, 2 million dollar study (called SEEDS) that shows not only consumers still confused about solar, they are taking longer and longer to make their decision; 8-9 months from idea to install.

Local Solar Installers face new challenges moving forward. Prospects are now taking longer to make a decision and need some education to get there. The same old marketing won’t work.

The cycle of buying leads, chasing after them with three other guys and then trying to figure out how to make google ads work better is really getting old. The vast majority of solar power prospects are still figuring it out, not quite ready for a quote. The vast majority of industry marketing is targeted at the fraction of people ready today.

That disconnect presents a big opportunity to those who can shift their relationships with prospects from getting in on the quotee to getting in on the process, getting in on a relationship.

Today’s solar prospects are looking to learn. Sales people who start with an education, look to answer questions will build relationships, simply and easily that lead to an inside track on the sale and an endless supply of leads – after all, who doesn’t love to share something from “their solar guy”.

Now’s time for a quick, honest assessment of your marketing and lead generation. What’s working? What could be working better? Are you like many installers who are so focused on the small sliver of prospects who may be ready to buy today that you’re missing out on the bigger fish? Where are the opportunities in your business to improve organic lead generation? What would having sources of exclusive leads do for your business? If you’d like to know more about the changes in residential solar marketing, stay tuned over the next few weeks as we explore how to get into more neighborhoods and get more out of the neighborhoods you’re already in.

Until then, here’s a little homework; pick out three of four of your favorite success stories; happy customers, great solutions, deals gone well, awesome referrals – a couple of highlights. Think about what went well, how you can share that story and how you can replicate that experience with your next customers.

– Talk Soon!