selling solar
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Selling Solar in 2023 – How Has It Changed?

In the 1980s residential solar panels started producing enough energy to become a practical replacement for electricity from the grid. Since then, selling solar has gone through many transitions. In the last 2 decades, however, we have seen solar companies adopt two predominant ways of producing leads for residential solar sales.

One popular method has been to hire appointment setters who walk neighborhoods and knock on doors. Although most people wouldn’t do this, young people who want to gain experience and have tons of energy to walk and knock all day, take these positions. They typically set appointments for more experienced salespeople to come in and talk to the homeowners. In some cases, solar salespeople do both the appointment setting and the sales presentations.

Another way solar companies generate leads for selling solar is by advertising. In most cases, its digital advertising that is targeted to a demographic that most likely owns a home in an area in which the company installs solar systems. These leads are given out to salespeople, or the company sets an appointment for the salesperson.

Drawbacks to the Traditional Solar Sales Model

These or other methods work to generate residential solar system sales. But there are drawbacks. For the company, there is a cost associated with generating these leads. That cost is taken out of the commission paid to the salesperson.

However, the other cost to the solar company is employee turnover.  As you might imagine, down-knockers don’t stay around very long. But neither do salespeople even if they don’t walk neighborhoods. The reason that solar salespeople are notorious for jumping from one company to another, or leaving the industry, is because of the way they are treated by solar companies.

The Redline Commission Model Causes Turnover

This mainly, but not completely, has to do with the traditional commission structure in the solar industry. It is called within the industry, a redline. A redline is a number or a price that the salespeople must exceed in order to start making any commission on the sale. If the salesperson must reduce the price for any reason, the only person that loses money is the salesperson. Everyone else in the process, management, installation crew, and the company, remain whole. Therefore solar salespeople are always looking for a better or lower redline and jump to companies that will provide it.

A New Way of Producing Higher Quality Sales Leads

However, the solar industry is starting to change and the sales model is one of the areas where we will see the most change. And I’m happy and proud to say that our company is leading the movement. We are changing the way leads are produced to reduce cost, increase productivity, and increase the closing ratio. The increased close ratio is due to the fact that our salespeople will be talking to homeowners that are sincerely interested in going solar.

A New and Better Commission Model

We also use a different commission model. Instead of the redline model, which treats the salesperson as the low person on the totem pole and encourages gouging the customer, we use a revenue share model. If the salesperson needs to reduce the price to win the sale or for any other reason, management and the company all take a lower amount. This ensures that the salesperson, the person who created the opportunity for everyone, is getting a fair commission without gouging the homeowner.

A More Productive and Less Costly Sales Presentation Method

Another area in which we have implemented a new strategy to help our salespeople is in how the sales presentation is made. Typically, if an appointment is set by the company, the salesperson may have to drive 20 to 30 miles or more just to get to the homeowner. Consider having to do this multiple times a day over the course of a year. It’s a grind and a huge expense to the salesperson. Instead, we do sales presentations via Zoom. Our salespeople don’t need to leave their home office and can do presentations to homeowners across the country in the 29 states where we install residential solar. This not only cuts costs for the salesperson but also dramatically increases productivity.

Build a Career Not Just a Sales Job

We also allow our salespeople to build a sales team and move into management right away. There is no waiting until you are promoted by upper management. They promote themselves based on the work that they do. Therefore, they are becoming vested in their own solar business which helps them develop a long-term solar career.

Hard Sales Tactics are Prohibited

Another big change is in the approach we teach and require our salespeople to take with the homeowner. Selling solar has typically been linked with high-pressure sales tactics, and one-call closes. It makes sense because the salesperson doesn’t want to have to drive 20 to 30 miles or more to go back and see the homeowner. But we don’t allow it. Our approach is an educational, consultative, soft-sell approach. We feel that the value proposition for a homeowner to go solar is good enough to help them decide to install a solar system on their home if we have done a good job of informing them.

Selling solar with our company is very different than the rest of the industry. Most companies will find a better way and may copy what we are doing because what we are doing is working. We have become the #1 selling team in a company that has been selling solar for more than a decade. And we did that in our first 6 months!

We are attracting some very experienced and previously successful solar professionals. However, our sales model is also attracting professionals to the solar industry that would otherwise not be interested in door-to-door or high-pressure sales tactics. People see our sales model as a way to enter the industry and advance their careers in solar. And it’s a career they can be proud of.

Learn More and Perhaps Join Us in Our Quest

To learn more visit Solar Sales From Home and watch a detailed overview video. You can then schedule a phone appointment to get your questions answered and get started on a new solar career today!