A successful salesperson understands that blunders in timing, judgment, or phrasing can plant seeds of doubt in a potential client’s mind and undermine a deal.
In our previous post, we focused on tips that optimize door-to-door sales. Today we will be looking at common sales mistakes that need to be avoided.
Trying to convince a homeowner to go solar can be a challenging undertaking. Factors such as expense, the amount of time the installation process requires, and bids from other solar installers can turn off a homeowner from your solar offering. An intuitive sales strategy that separates your business from the fray, and inspires your prospect’s confidence is an essential component of the solar trade. Avoid these six common sales mistakes and you will be well on your way to achieving such a strategy.
1 - Talking too much
Steve W. Martin of the Harvard Business Review notes that “Successful self-made salespeople possess domain-area expertise and speak the corresponding business operations language, or have deep knowledge of the industry’s technical language.”
When selling a technical product such as solar, one is naturally inclined to heed such advice - good advice, to which we would add a caveat. In an article written for The Balance Small Business, Kelley Robertson, author of Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers, writes, “Too many salespeople talk too much during the sales interaction. They espouse about their product, its features, their service and so on.” But in order to close a deal, he insists, demonstrating excellent listening skills is the key. Robertson believes that by asking questions a salesperson can better determine a prospect’s needs. So instead of sticking to a formulaic sales script, he advocates improvising more, noting that both the prospect and your bank account will be better served when you listen more and talk less.
2 - Ignoring a prospect's fears
From a contractor’s perspective, installing solar panels is an easy decision. But for homeowners who regard solar panels as potentially ugly additions that may devalue their property, not to mention inconvenience their lives during the installation process, the decision may not be so cut and dry. Other factors include anxieties about the expense, unanticipated problems with maintenance, and the promise of lower electricity bills not manifesting. Flippantly dismissing such concerns with pat answers can undermine your sale. Instead, acknowledging such anxieties and going the extra mile to reassure the prospect why such issues need not be a cause of trepidation will increase your potential to close sales.
3 - Not following up with leads in a timely fashion
Once you have access to potential leads, it is best to contact them promptly. When a prospect expresses an interest in residential solar, strike while the iron is hot. If you wait too long to touch base with a potential solar customer you risk losing them to the competition. So as a rule of thumb, contact your prospective lead early, before they contact someone else.
4 - Pushing the customer to make a decision before they're ready
Acting promptly on your list of prospects is indeed good practice. This said, being overly zealous at other stages of the process can have an adverse effect. As an installer, you know that going solar is a wise decision that will save customers money in the long run, and simultaneously contribute to a greener planet. But it’s important to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. A homeowner may need time to weigh the financial costs, and how the installation process may affect their home. So once you’ve provided them with a proposal, give them some space. People often need a few days to consider their options before making the decision. If you hurry them, it might scare them off the install.
5 - Ignoring the details
Ensure that you are on top of your game. Having a comprehensive and updated knowledge of solar is essential. By not demonstrating that you’re thoroughly organized throughout the entire proposal process you’ll lose the confidence of the homeowner. That’s why utilizing a tool like Solargraf is so important. The specialized software, that was designed by solar installers, integrates the highest quality HD imagery through partnerships with Nearmap and Eagleview, making it easy to measure a roof in real time, provide precise quotes on the fly, and even inform clients about how much energy they're going to save. It can even help you to close deals by getting a prospect’s e-signature, on the spot. So if you want to impress your clients and separate yourself from the competition, Solargraf will give you the edge you need.
6 - Bashing the competition (before the prospect is sold on solar)
Customers weigh their options, including whether to go with you or a competitor. As a consequence, it’s tempting to portray your rivals in a negative light. By claiming that your competitors’ workmanship is shoddy, that their financing is questionable, and their equipment is second rate you might be inadvertently scaring a homeowner from solar altogether. So before you critique the competition ensure that your prospect is already enthusiastic about the installation. Once you feel that a client is committed to install, it’s safer to question your rivals’ effectiveness.
As a solar installer, if you want to rise above the competition, it’s crucial that you don’t let these six common sales mistakes stand in the way of you closing sales. Talk less, address prospects’ doubts, follow up on leads quickly, yet don’t rush their decision-making, keep track of all details with a specialized tool like Solargraf, and resist the temptation to critique the competition prematurely. Follow these tips to stand out in a crowded market and steadily grow your installation business.
Article by: MJ Stone for Solargraf.