The Top 5 Reasons You’re Not Closing More Solar Deals
When a client first joins our program, they usually have a ton of questions. “How do you keep your pipeline full of solar leads?” or “How do you keep your reps motivated?”
But the number one most common question I get from clients is, “When did your sales start to really take off?”
To be honest, there was no one single point in time when it happened.
It happened as a result of making a number of different changes to the way I ran my business.
So what I’m going to do today is list out the top five changes that made the biggest difference in our monthly sales.
If you’re struggling to close more deals or generate exclusive solar leads and can’t figure out why, there’s a good chance at least one of these is the culprit.
1.You’re Not Digging Into the Details Enough
When you’re constantly looking at your solar business from a top-down perspective, it can be easy to lose sight of the finer details.
It’s important that you look at your business like it’s a machine.
Every moving part plays its role in keeping the entire system moving smoothly.
All it takes is a single small piece to malfunction, and you’ve got yourself a problem.
Take time to pick apart your business and look at its inner workings.
Don’t just look at the macro – analyze the micro, too.
For instance, if you’re buying from solar lead providers, how much use are you getting out of those leads?
What is your average lead’s lifespan before you give up on it?
Could you be doing anything differently?
This doesn’t mean you should dehumanize your employees.
But you gotta look at the systems, the processes, the SOPs that pull everything together.
Take apart your business and look at the individual moving parts that keep things running.
Here’s a few examples of what you should be looking at:
- Sales training
- Comp plans
- Reward structure
- Pitch length
- Daily drills
- Lead quality
Also, are you tracking everything?
And I mean EVERYTHING? If not, how will you know when you’re doing something wrong? Or right?
Be sure you know exactly what’s going on with your email, SMS, sits, follow-up, and so on.
If you’re not, then it’s way too easy to keep running a failing campaign.
Or to pass up on a winning one, and thus miss out on potential sales and solar leads.
2. Your Pitch Doesn’t Properly Address the Prospect’s Questions/Concerns
If this is the case, you have a much bigger issue on your hands.
If your pitch isn’t answering your prospect’s questions, it means your customer avatar is incorrect or incomplete.
And that means your branding, your marketing, your sales process, your solar business’ social media marketing – pretty much everything your company relies on to connect with the prospect is dysfunctional.
You need to immediately get a crystal clear picture of who your prospects are and what they want.
And I mean you need to get to know them better than they know themselves.
You can do everything else right except for this one thing and you’ll still struggle to close deals and generate exclusive solar leads.
To give you an idea of how we structure our customer avatar, our reps build their pitches around my personal CRMS² formula:
We’ve found that each of these five things are what prospective solar homeowners are the most concerned about.
Bake them into your pitch and you’ll have them feeling like you’re reading their mind.
3. You’re Not Giving the Prospect Enough of a Reason to Sign
Don’t just rely on the power of your core offer.
This is what all the other solar companies are doing and I can guarantee you it’s not working as well as they’d like.
What you need to do is give your solar leads an incentive to move to the next step with you.
If they’re reluctant to move forward, wine ‘n dine them.
From the first sit all the way until the install is done.
Your bonus offer needs to be a 100% no-brainer for them to accept.
They’re likely already sold on going solar… so what else can you offer to show them you’re better than their other options?
This is great for pushing people off the fence.
Done right, it can even sway people who would otherwise have said no.
It’s also extra firepower for your sales rep. And it more than recovers the cost of the bonus offer if the client accepts it.
If it takes you $50, $100, $250, $500, even $1,000 to convert an exclusive solar lead, who cares? That’s one more deal in the bag you wouldn’t have gotten anyway.
The trick to making this work is to get CREATIVE and UNREASONABLE with your bonus offers.
If you can personalize it to their individual interests, even better. The more you stand out, the better.
\What is something your prospect hasn’t been offered by any other solar business?
I’ve had reps Venmo prospects $25 just to talk with them for an hour, bring a bottle of wine to the first sit, offer to pay their energy bill for 6 months if they sign, and send an autographed football helmet from their favorite team for attending the sit.
This is a very powerful strategy once you finetune it simply because no one else is doing it. Take the time to put some thought into this and you’ll be converting more solar leads in no time.
4. Your Reps Are Operating Under an Unhelpful Mindset
It’s your responsibility as a leader to make sure your employees have the right perspective.
Selling successfully requires a very specific type of mental framework. Your reps need to genuinely believe your offer will make the world and the prospect’s life better.
You should give your reps a reason to be excited to sell every day. Help them see sales not as a job but as an invaluable skill set and lifestyle. Get them pumped about the high earning potential you’re (presumably) offering them.
Also, make sure they’re practicing 5 days a week, 2x a day at MINIMUM. You or a team leader should be driving this. Doesn’t matter if they’re remote. 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the day is enough. Trust me, this is the single biggest thing you can do to up their close rate and make more efficient use of any leads you’re buying from solar lead providers.
Changing your reps’ mindset isn’t something you can talk them into doing. You need to show them by example. Motivate through incentive. What do their comp plans and margins look like? Are you holding multiple competitions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? If they don’t have a compelling enough reason to outperform themselves and their peers then you’re not gonna see them improving that much.
Look at how you’re communicating with them. This can be hard to analyze yourself, so try having an exec or team leader give you feedback. Are you constantly hyping competitions? Keeping energy up? Be sure to brandish the carrot. Save the stick for truly bad mistakes, like failing to follow up or wasting solar leads.
If after all this most of your reps are still unable to get into the mindset they need to be, consider looking at your recruitment. In most companies only 1 in 10 people are true A players. If you get your recruitment process down you can make it 1 in 5.
5. You’re Knocking in the Wrong Areas, or Your Canvassing Strategy is Off
I see way too many companies focusing on areas that demand lots of travel time.
You want to be focusing on areas where homes are close to each other. Don’t go looking for exclusive solar leads on the opposite sides of town.
Reason being is that you don’t want your reps to have to walk too far. Remember, sales is a numbers game. The more doors you can knock in a day, the better chance you have of closing more deals.
Also, it’s been proven that areas where homes are closer to each other have a better sense of community and trust. And that means more qualified solar leads in the form of referrals for you. This is why I constantly tell my team that the #1 asset in solar is people. The #1 obstacle is time.
Middle and upper-middle class are the best demographics to find solar leads. They respect money and savings. Households that are too poor tend to be too skeptical, which will lead to too many failures. And in my experience, 30%-40% of lower class homes fail credit checks. You want to only knock in areas with a failure rate of less than 5%. On the flip side, households that are too wealthy don’t have much reason to care about savings.
Don’t hit different territories. You’ll spend too much time driving, which is a waste both to knock and when it comes time for the install. Get out of the mindset of trying to hit 500 neighborhoods and getting 10% of each. Instead, you want to hit 5 neighborhoods over the course of 1-2 years and get 60%-80% of each.
Consolidating to a small number of neighborhoods also builds up awareness as well as your brand and social proof. If you’re converting solar leads in the same area and people see most of their neighbors are having you install solar panels for them, they’ll start to get curious. At the same time, make sure it’s a big enough area where you can knock for four weeks and still not hit every home.
The Holy Grail of doorknocking is the Halo Effect. Basically, close a number of deals in a small enough area and then people will start contacting YOU to get installs done. This can help make a big dent in how much you’re spending on solar lead providers.
A great way to kickstart the Halo Effect is to find a community leader. Someone like the leader of the Homeowners’ Association or the town mayor. Someone everyone knows. Build a strong relationship with them, get them into solar, and shoot a video testimonial. Then use that video whenever you can, like during knocking and emails. Community leader sponsorship makes sales 5x-10x more likely.
Those are the top five things I have our clients first look at when they want to increase sales. Try it out and see what you find. If you’re doing under 100 deals a month, I’d be shocked if you didn’t find a way to optimize your sales process or how you’re generating solar leads.