Understanding the steps that a consumer goes through to get to the point of buying solar panels is essential for anyone selling solar. Whether you only generate solar leads, or you take the prospect from the beginning to the end of their buyer’s journey, this summary of the basic 4 steps in the process is a valuable reference.
When it comes to solar sales, you may wonder where in the buyer’s journey you should focus to get the best results. Should you concentrate on the people who are ready to buy, or is it better to connect with prospects who are just starting to learn about solar?
The short answer? Both!
Though you may see more immediate sales from solar leads who are already far along in the process, you’ll find plenty of pipeline opportunities in developing connections with potential customers who have yet to learn about the value of solar. And, that’s where you come in: building trust by helping a prospect learn what they need to make the best decision for their situation, and showing them the difference it will make in their lives.
To overcome solar sales challenges and successfully market to any lead, you first have to understand their mindset and what kind of information they are looking for. That’s what the solar buyer’s journey is all about.
Rather than narrowing your market to customers who are ready to buy, you can use the steps of this journey to give context to your marketing actions. You’ll be able to connect with leads at all stages and increase your chances of making a sale.
After a 10-year trend of expanding growth in the solar market, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a recent decline in the solar industry. In a more competitive environment, understanding the solar customer’s decision-making process will open up more opportunities.
Learn what separates the fastest growing solar companies and tips to grow your own
Why People Go Solar
For every solar customer, the journey begins with exposure. They might hear a coworker sharing about their power bill savings or see an ad online. As you can see in this chart, personal experiences are far more prevalent and memorable than most marketing efforts.
As the chart indicates, there are many touchpoints that guide prospective solar customers down the pathway of the buyer’s journey.
Though some people may dismiss solar as little more than an interesting idea, many prospects will quickly see it as a way to fill a need. The most common reasons people to choose to install solar include:
- Lowering current and potential future power costs (the primary reason for 41% of surveyed homeowners)
- Protecting the environment
- Minimizing energy dependence on utilities
- Increasing home value
At this point, this solar customer has now become a potential lead. As they start the buyer’s journey, here’s how you can make every connection count.
The Solar Buyer’s Journey in 4 Steps
Step #1: Research and awareness
Installing solar is a huge investment and no one wants surprises with a project this big. Most customers will start by looking into the average costs, potential benefits, the suitability of their home to installation, estimated sun exposure and legal requirements of solar in their area. They may talk with people they know who have installed panels themselves.
One thing is for sure: Internet research will play a part. This is your opportunity to benefit from offering educational resources.
HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE
- The commitment level is extremely low at this point in the journey. These leads are not ready to make a decision, they just want answers.
- Since leads are focused on education, you should be too. Create blogs about the benefits of solar and share them on social media. Populate the web with videos, articles, and infographics that answer the questions they may have. Offer success stories to encourage confidence and interest in your products.
- At this point, you’re creating a connection. You want people to view your company as a trusted source for their solar needs. When they’re ready to move to the next step, you’ll be their top pick.
Step #2: Consideration
Armed with knowledge, the customer is now seriously considering solar as an option for their home. Now, their research focuses on the specifics. They want to know what kind of panels are best for their needs, if they can get any rebates or incentives for going green, and what local ordinances say about installing solar.
This is when customers turn to the experts – you! You are now a potential vendor, not just a source of info. They’ll be looking through your website, reading reviews, and possibly even calling for details and quotes.
But don’t get too excited. These customers are also looking at your competitors, using what they know about general prices and their own budgets to compare multiple options. Here’s how to make sure you stand out.
HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE
- LISTEN! Active listening is your strongest tool at this stage. Ask leads about what they want, what they know, other vendors they’re considering, and, most importantly, their concerns. Stay present in the conversation and use what you hear to understand their viewpoint and build that trusted relationship.
- When appropriate, use this discussion to share more about your company, experience, prices, products, and projects. You can offer testimonials and materials that offer further education about your brand and solar in general. Just be sure to avoid pressuring the customer. This is a conversation, not a sales pitch.
- And don’t forget to follow-up! Many homeowners will make their decision within three days of their first contact, so keep in touch and respond quickly.
Step #3: Decision
Your lead is now solar-educated. They have an idea of what they may want and the benefits they want to see. Since they are ready to buy, you can now focus more on the sale.
At this stage, customers are now deciding who to hire. Generally, they will get five or more quotes. This ups the competition, but also indicates their level of commitment. The more quotes a consumer gets, the more serious they are about buying.
Offers like free assessments, quotes, and demos are a great way to tip the scales in your favor. This is the make or break moment, so give it all you’ve got.
HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE
- Use the information you gained in the Consideration stage to determine the prospect’s deciding factor. With dynamic scripting, you can automatically populated this personal info in your sales scripts during calls. Once you know what’s holding them back, you can address that specific concern. If price is the problem, for example, you can offer discounts or promos to solidify their interest.
- At this point, you’re not trying to sell the customer on solar. Instead, focus on the benefits of switching and the reasons to hire your company over others. Discuss financing, warranties, installation processes, and other points that can affect their final decision.
- If you’ve done it right, this is where the relationship you’ve built can make a difference. Making a purchase is often an emotional decision, so your personal connection is a strong selling point.
Step #4: Sale
You did it! You made the sale.
Before you move on to your next lead, however, remember that your work here isn’t done.
HOW TO MARKET TO THIS STAGE
- Every customer represents the opportunity to gain more business. Half of solar customers get recommendations about solar companies from someone they know. Continue building your personal connections and creating an excellent customer experiences to encourage positive reviews and continued referrals.
- Case studies are powerful sales tools, so stay in touch with your best customers and ask for testimonials to use in future marketing efforts.
- Two-thirds of solar customers say they would install solar panels on a new house. If your customers move to a new home in the future, make sure your customers are putting your company at the top of their list for their next solar project.
Finding Your Next Customer
Ready to start building connections with your next solar customers? Discover the power of our Solar Dialer, a cloud-based solution built just for you.