With new solar mandates like the CALGreen green building standards code coming into effect and more and more people seeing the effects of climate change linked to carbon-emission producing energy sources, the adoption rate of solar energy is increasing faster than we’ve ever seen before.
While this seems like it could be an overall positive for the industry, it also means that more potential installers want a piece of the pie. New solar companies are popping up left and right, increasing the competition level of other, more established installation companies everywhere.
To combat this, solar installers need to refine their sales strategies to stay ahead of the curve and make sure they continue to nail as many new sales as possible. One of the ways to do this is by putting together an online solar sales system that will not only save time but make the sales process as quick and easy as possible.
Why remote sales are the way of the future
While sending sales representatives out door-knocking is still a good way to fill in any gaps in your lead flow, it’s a very slow process that often ends in rejection. Adding a remote solar sales process to your business adds another level to your workflow with minimal effort.
Staying in the office or at home for everything besides a site visit and an install not only saves you time by not having to travel and meet anyone in person but also saves gas money. In the fast-paced world of sales, every minute counts when it comes to beating the competition to the sale. This is why one of the first things you should remove from your day-to-day is any unnecessary travel.
With the rise of technology created to help people stay connected no matter where they are, remote work and work-from-home jobs have been on the rise. Many companies now have policies allowing employees the time and flexibility to work from home or even hire people from out of state or country to work out of the office on a full-time basis. This means that you can expand your hiring pool to anyone, anywhere, hiring employees with the best sales experience and skills rather than being limited to where your office may be located.
Looking to expand your business to a new township or state? Hire remote workers who can fill positions in those areas. Why limit your hiring to say, competition-heavy California when you can hire installers to service somewhere else in the United States like Arkansas? Prospective employees are also free to expand their job search to any company hiring off-site employees to ensure they find the company that is right for them.
How to build your remote sales strategy
If you’re looking to win by selling more solar systems from your desk, you’ll need a strong foundation. Always being available means that you can follow up with new leads as soon as they come through your system so you should work on having a framework to quickly and efficiently sort, qualify and schedule calls and meetings with them.
1) Make the leads come to you.
The first thing you’ll need to get started in remote sales is, you guessed it, some people to sell to. While there are hundreds of lead generation companies available to sell you leads at any price, you can actually do pretty well generating some on your own with minimal setup time. Firstly, make sure you have a contact form on your website for anyone interested in your company to easily get in touch and request more info. If you already have a contact form, double-check that it’s working as it should and that you’re being properly notified of all new submissions.
You can also set up a few ad campaigns through social media sites or popular search engines like Google or Microsoft (Bing) for people searching for relevant keywords in your area as well as join some local groups online and make a few posts linking to your company website.
Looking for more details about generating your own leads? We've got you covered in this blog post.
2) Schedule a virtual meeting and prep.
Once you have your leads sorted, it’s time to “meet” them. Schedule virtual meetings where you can show off your business, discuss your product offerings and go over the proposal you put together and emailed them in advance. Email homeowners a link to your calendar where they can book an available slot in your schedule. This helps to make sure that they are free and attentive at the time of the meeting by allowing them to pick the time that works best for them rather than being suggested some times that work best for you.
3) Share your knowledge and build trust.
Share your screen with the client while on the phone with them and get to work. Have a slide presentation ready that can introduce them to your business and the kind of energy systems/solutions you offer. Use this part of the meeting to explain the ins and outs of solar power and renewable energy. Chat and build a rapport with the homeowner, turn on the charm and get them ready for the sale. Since you’re not directly in front of them, you’ll have to rely on your voice rather than your body language to build trust. Make sure to sound sincere and knowledgable while on the call.
4) Make the sale.
Finally, you want to get specific and discuss their own solar project. Pull up the proposal you generated before the call and go over it together. Show them which solar panels you have decided to use and explain why.
Discuss all the pricing, materials, extra costs and any other options you may offer. Give the homeowner as much time as they need to ask any questions they may have or offer up any changes they’d like you to make to their solar design.
Once the proposal has been customized to your client’s liking, it’s time to show them where to e-sign and close the deal. While this is the ideal last step before starting to prep for the install, we all know that potential customers could require more time and work than just a screen share demo and a few calls and emails. That shouldn’t be a problem for you, since you’ve been saving so much time working remotely instead of being on the road and in meetings. You’re more available than ever to nurture those harder to close deals.
Software solutions for remote sales.
You can’t sell remotely without a proper design software or proposal generator. That’s where Solargraf comes in. Once you have your materials, pricing and presets added to your account settings, you can generate full proposals in minutes. Solargraf is a complete solar quote software equipped to help you send and keep track of all your proposals, quote for both commercial and residential solar projects, offer financing options and apply for permits.
Don’t wait to meet a prospect in person, send them an email proposal as soon as they request more information about your pricing to get your foot in the digital “door”. While everyone else is scrambling to book meetings with their incoming leads, you’ll have the advantage of already getting them the information they are ultimately looking for.
Bonus: our remote sales recommendations.
Here at Sofdesk, Solargraf’s parent company, we deal mostly in sales over phone and email. As a company, we’ve experimented with all kinds of software tools to help us connect with others to sell our products. Here is what we currently have in our arsenal:
Ringcentral: This lightweight VOIP phone app is available through the web and has both a desktop and phone app. It can also send text messages and faxes as well as record your calls for quality control.
CrankWheel: This software allows our agents to share their screens when giving demos of Solargraf. Viewers can watch the screen share by clicking a link from a computer, tablet or even phone.
Slack: Slack is a workplace chat app that helps everyone stay on the same page whether we’re working at home or in the office. It’s also our favorite communication tool to use to quickly get help from the team while on the phone with prospects or clients.
While meeting people in person will never completely disappear from the sales process, it’s important to have a solid remote sales strategy in place and a good solar panel software to help you stay on top and beat out the competition.
This article appears in our Remote Sales Toolkit, access more articles here.
Article by: Christine Hannivan for Solargraf.