The residential solar market is going through a great transformation right now; in the US, we are moving from
the “Early Adopters” to the “Early Majority”. That’s a double edged sword, some bad news and a lot of good news. The easy money is pretty much gone, the folks who wanted solar because they wanted it (those coveted early adopters), have bought it. The good news; we are moving into the “Early Majority” a market that is many times bigger. These are people who are likely candidates for solar, but just aren’t motivated or ready just yet.
This group of people will drive the home solar market to new heights, and it takes new ways to reach them. The demise of old school door knocking is a relief to homeowners and to good sales people everywhere. Also sounding a welcome death rattle is the “Want a QUOTE???” headlines on every ad and every website banner, an attitude that is akin to wandering out to the local happy hour to meet people and asking “Want to get MARRIED???” – it may work once in a while, but it’s not the best way to approach most people.
The age of bad marketing has ended; it won’t work anymore. The age of Education Marketing has arrived and the Local Solar companies who embrace it fastest will win the most.
Strategy #1 – Make everything educational. Avoid sales statements and ask sales questions; “Did You Know…?” allows you to introduce topic after topic as you uncover what it is that makes the prospect light up. This will also help you grow your spare of influence; people don’t really pass along ads, but they are much more likely to pass along educational and informational information about a subject they are passionate about.
Strategy #2 – Be the local expert. Residential solar is sold homeowner to homeowner. Everybody likes to ‘have a guy’, everybody likes to recommend someone who has done a good job and has the right experience. Everybody likes to do business with an expert. Your educational materials (Articles, Blog posts, Social postings, videos) will make the point that you know this business cold. People like to do business with people that they trust and a solid display of knowledge makes you trustworthy.
Strategy #3 – Grow your community, in your community. Research shows that your next most likely customer lives within a few miles of your most recent customer. This just makes sense; people in similar neighborhoods tend to be a bit similar. Incomes, home size, power usage, lifestyle, values – these are shared among friends and neighbors. When I got solar on my house four of my friends on the block came right over to check it out. My enthusiasm was great and it pushed them over the decision edge; within two months they had all bought solar. It was more than my enthusiasm; I’m like them, if it’s good enough for me, probably it’s good for them. This is just human nature, but it works every time. It’s more than jealousy or keeping up with the ‘Jonses’, this is about the safety of a big decision, I helped them make it, you can do the same.
Strategy # 4 – Keep Feeding your Sales Funnel – build relationships. Since we are moving past the dead end of “WANNA QUOTE?” and into educational marketing, make sure you have a solid sales funnel that feeds your suspects enough information over time to become prospects and then feeds your prospects enough inspiration to become customers. You’ve got to have landing pages that address specific needs, wants and desires and then you’ve got to have automated email sequences that deliver that education and build relationships. You can make yourself crazy doing this by hand or you can invest the time and a few bucks to automate the entire process.
Strategy #5 – Love Your Customers, Love Their Leads. You do great work, right? You give great customer service, right? Now all you have to do is have a system and a plan to feed your happy customers enough valuable solar information to share, and enough reasons to share it, that they shout their love of their new solar and sing your praises from the roof. People are excited as they make these decisions and you’ll find that you can uncover leads and referrals from folks even before you do the install – solar is contagious. When you ask for referrals on the right way, you’ll get them. When you take care of customers during and after the sale, you’ll have referrals for years.
There is a lot of online advertising that is expensive and worthless. There a lot of bought leads that are expensive and worthless. The sooner you invest some time and energy into your ‘customer getting marketing machine’ the sooner you’ll discover that you can create your own leads, develop your own referrals and control your own destiny.
We are here to help, nothing makes me happier than seeing small business owners, local solar installers in particular, succeed – let’s make you one of them! If you haven’t grabbed the latest copy of our “Neighborhood Domination Report” go to the link on our home page and download it now.
Thanks for reading – go have an awesome sales day and let’s stay in touch.