how to sell solar panels from home
Photo by Julia M Cameron

How to Sell Solar Panels from Home

In July of 2022, I got a call from a friend and colleague that led to meeting someone that wanted to talk about a new way to sell residential solar. The fact that sales would be done via teleconferencing with homeowners wasn’t the most unique part of the plan. Teleconferencing has become a popular way to sell solar panels since the start of the pandemic. However, there are 4 other challenges to be overcome if someone wants to sell solar whether they use Zoom or not. And this new way of selling solar overcame every one of them.

Finding the Right Solar Company

The first challenge is finding the best solar installation company to partner with. This is a big one. There are thousands of small, local solar installers out there. And a few large ones too. If you’re going to sell solar panels from home, you most likely want to be able to do it nationally. Or, at least in more than just your city. So, how do you choose the right solar company to work with?

Most local companies don’t cover a big enough area to accommodate those of us who want to sell via teleconferencing and therefore will have customers in multiple states. The companies that do cover multiple states typically use subcontractors in different areas to do the installations. This can be a problem. It can lead to inconsistency with installation time frames, equipment availability, workmanship, and customer experience.

Challenges Procuring Solar Equipment

Another issue regarding finding a solar company to work with and sell solar panels is equipment availability. Supply chain problems and increased costs have become major problems for many solar companies. Companies must be large enough to purchase solar panels and equipment in bulk for a better price and warehouse that equipment around the country. Only those companies will have the best chance to compete and stay in business. In fact, many small companies have gone out of business in just the last few years.

Make Sure You Are Paid Fairly

Compensation is also a huge factor in choosing the right company. Typically, solar installers give the salesperson that they just look at to get more deals, a redline. What is a redline? I covered that in detail in Solar Sales Commission – Redline Versus Revenue Share. Basically, the salesperson is given a price point that they must sell above. That makes sense. But if the salesperson is competing against another company for the deal, and therefore has to lower the price, it all comes out of the commission. The installer and management always get their piece. There is a far more equitable way to compensate solar salespeople, especially if the company cares about keeping that person around long-term.

Where are You Going to Get Leads?

Traditionally in the solar industry leads are produced in 2 ways. Door-knocking and advertising. Let’s assume that you want to work from home and therefore door-knocking is out. So, you will either need to do your own marketing and advertising or hope that the solar company will, and give you leads. On top of the fact that leads are typically only given to top producers, cold leads from advertising are not the best. You’ll need to figure this one out. But we have a way that provides our salespeople with a constant supply of warm leads. I’ll explain more below.

Management Opportunities

You might think that considering management opportunities is a bit premature. It’s not. When going into solar sales you want to have a way to use the expertise you have or will have and be compensated for it beyond just doing your own sales. Why? Because with just selling solar panels on your own, even if you have a good month or a good year, you’ll have to do it all over again with no end in sight. And solar sales can be a burnout after a while. The problem is that management positions in the solar business are few and far between. So, you want to explore management possibilities with any company that you talk to.

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An Opportunity to Sell Solar Panels That Overcomes These Challenges

I told you above about the call I got in 2022. The challenges that I’ve written about here were already overcome. I think in large part I lucked out because I didn’t know enough then to realize that these were big issues.

Nationwide, Supply Chain, and Sales Opportunities

We work with the #3 solar company in the U.S. They produced $2 billion in revenue in 2022. They install residential solar systems in 29 states and have over 40 locations to service customers in those states. This company also recognized supply chain issues and the political views that sometimes create them. So, they design and manufacture their own Tier-1 solar panels which are not made in China. They have partnerships with the biggest names in solar such as Tesla, SolarEdge, Enphase, Mosaic, and Sunrun. These partnerships allow us in the field the opportunity to offer the best equipment available, multiple financing products, and options other than a purchase if needed.

A Fair Compensation That Allows You to Compete for Business

As I mentioned above, there is a much better way for companies to pay solar salespeople. You can read more details and watch a video about our compensation plan. In a nutshell, if a salesperson needs to lower the price of a solar system to win business or for whatever reason, everyone in the commission stack takes a lower amount. In this way, the salesperson isn’t giving up most or all of their commission to make a sale.

Leads, Leads, and More Leads

We have come up with a warm market referral system that accomplishes two things simultaneously. First, it provides warm leads. Homeowners that have seen some information on our company provided by someone they know and trust and have expressed an interest in solar. This is far better than working cold leads where you have to try and develop trust on your own.

Override a Team Right Away

This system also puts you in a management position right away. The person that is providing you with the lead is someone that is new on your team. They must bring one sale to you for them to be able to sell on their own. After they do, you can potentially be paid 10% of the commission on every sale they make on their own. And you can be promoted so that you get a healthy override on every sale on your entire team. This promotion is merit-based. When your team produces a certain number of installations, you get the promotion. And, you can start building your team the day you start.

This warm market lead system can provide you with more leads than you can handle. Which is exactly what happened to me. Fortunately, I now have many people on my team that can design solar systems, make presentations, and sell.

Learn More About Selling Solar from Home

If what I’ve presented to you makes sense and perhaps has piqued your interest, visit Solar Sales From Home. There you can read more and watch a business overview video. If you like what you see you can schedule a Zoom meeting with me to get to know us better and get your questions answered.