Crafting Solar Cold Calling Scripts that Convert
by Heather Griffin, solar lead generation and call center expert
From a fiercely competitive customer base to fast-changing regulations, the solar market presents a series of particular obstacles to outbound call center teams.
As I explained in my previous post about confronting solar sales challenges, your dialing strategies and solar dialer need to incorporate an omnichannel approach that’s supported by the right contact center technology.
What I didn’t describe in depth, however, was just how essential the right cold calling script is for pitching solar panels or qualifying prospective solar buyers. To truly deliver on your lead generation strategy, from the moment your potential leads pick up the phone—and even before then—your agents need to be equipped with a script that makes it easier for them to do what they do best.
To help you build those ideal scripts, refer to this guide. We’ll cover:
How to deal with scarce solar data
Helping your agents handle different rules and regulations
Adjusting your scripts based on customer intent
Why you should seal an appointment before you filter or qualify
How dynamic scripting can help
Guest author Heather Griffin has extensive experience managing medium and large-sized solar call center operations, including multi-state call centers, virtual call centers, and offshore call centers. She has helped many transition to remote operations and works as a consultant to numerous call centers. She is an expert in optimizing the efficiency and productivity of leads, managers, and solar sales and lead generation agents.
Before You Call a Solar Lead, Know Who You’re Calling
To be competitive in the solar sales, you need to contact more leads and convert them quickly. However, in the solar industry, data is scarce. There’s simply more demand for leads than there is supply.
In a market with a limited availability of data, you need to build a solar dialing strategy capable of making the most of each and every call. This means your scripts are an indispensable part of that strategy.
The very best solar cold calling scripts don’t just guide efficient conversations for your agents. They first take into account the available and actionable information that you have on the people you’re dialing.
Adjust Your Scripts to the Local Market
Anyone who has worked in solar lead generation knows just how many regulatory hurdles there are to account for while dialing. To make things more complicated, these different rules change regularly and vary from state to state. From “no-rebuttal” states to so-called “purchase-only” states, there’s simply more information out there than you can expect any agent to remember in order to remain compliant. That’s why these compliance differences need to be built into your cold calling scripts from the get-go.
So, consider the states that you’ll be dialing as you’re crafting individually tailored cold calling scripts. If, for example, a state requires–as many do–that your agent gives their name, your company’s name, and their employee number, make sure that your script reflects that. Or, if a state mandates two-party consent for recordings, make sure your scripts include a notice within the first ten seconds that the call is being recorded.
It used to be that I was always trying desperately to get my reps to realize that there were these different scripts for different states. Now, though, things have evolved: You can use dynamic scripting to make sure that your agents automatically get the right script in front of them.
Say one of your agents has been making calls to New Jersey, and suddenly they get one that’s in Texas. With dynamic scripting, we can have a script that, first and foremost, pops up in a bright, flashy red that grabs your rep’s attention. Plus, it will tell them right away, up top, that Texas is a purchase-only state.
And from there, the whole script is different: the hook, the pitch, the questions.
The rest of the script has to be different because compliance regulations aren’t the only things that separate states from each other. You’ve got to adjust your scripts for not just the states but the people in them, too.
From new STIR/SHAKEN protocols to TCPA Compliance, check out these compliance resources.
Greet Your Customers Accordingly
Every cold caller knows the importance of an opening hook. However, your chance to positively influence your customer—or lose them—actually begins sooner, from the moment the call starts, with the way that you greet your customer. When building effective scripts, you should use historical knowledge about a location’s customers to influence how your scripts begin. For example, you might not greet somebody from New Jersey in the same way you would someone from Texas.
More generally, if you lead your conversation with an impersonal, open-ended question like “Hi, can I speak with Mr. or Mrs. Smith?” you will likely instantly set off alarm bells and kill the lead. They might immediately think “Telemarketer!” and quickly disconnect.
Instead, if you connect with them using their name—recognizing them by saying, for example, “Jonathan?” when they answer—you’ll increase your chances of getting their attention, establishing a personal connection, and continuing the call successfully.
Understand the Intent of Your Leads
From this point on, your cold call script should be tailored to the intent of your data source. Understanding where your potential lead was sourced is key to creating a successful script.
Calling High-Intent Data
When dialing high-intent data, you will want to remind them of their interest. For instance, if they signed up for more information online, tell them that you are following up with more information. Confirm that you have them on the line at a time that’s good for them, then head into your time-tested pitch, informing them of all of the benefits you’re offering.
With high-intent data, your call script should reflect what your call is really about: It’s an opportunity for brand-building. The person you have on the line has already said, in effect, “Yes, I want solar,” and opted-in to your funnel. The call, then, is your opportunity to tell them why, out of any company, they should choose your brand.
Calling Low-Intent Data
If you have a low-intent lead on the call, you will need to take a different approach. Instead of reminding them of their interest, you need to efficiently gauge their understanding of solar as well as their interest in proceeding. Ask them if they have seen the solar panels going up in their neighborhood. Better yet, ask them what they have heard or know about solar.
Though these types of questions are open-ended and might require some flexibility on the part of your agent and your script, there are so many answers that can lead to an opening. By getting someone to volunteer their own knowledge about solar, you open the door to a positive follow-up: Your agent having the opportunity to say, “So, it sounds like you’re interested.”
How to Convert a Solar Lead Once You Get Them on the Phone
1. Seal the Appointment First, Ask Questions Later
Whether you’re qualifying high-intent or low-intent leads, this sort of positive development in a call leads you closer to the primary conversion goal in solar: scheduling an in-person evaluation. Because of this evaluation’s importance, structure your script around getting them to say yes to an appointment before you ask filtering questions about their eligibility. To do so, follow these tips:
- Move quickly: Time is of the essence. Don’t dwell on unnecessary details and get to the point. Once you’ve gauged a low-intent user’s interest or presented your pitch to a high-intent lead, quickly move to schedule an appointment.
- Make it easy: Your audience needs to know how simple it is to see if their home is right for solar. Tell them that you have a solar specialist in their area—whether it’s on their street, in their neighborhood, or in their city—and ask if they would like to schedule an appointment imminently that can save them money.
- Give them options: As in all sales, it’s important to give your customers options. Although, you can inject some urgency by offering options in time slots that are very near. When you tell them that you can have a specialist drop by, say, tomorrow, give them a few times to choose from. Try: “I can have my specialist drop by tomorrow at 3:00 or 6:00. Which of these is best for you?”
- Be prepared to explain: Many callers will want to know exactly how much they can save with solar. Of course, your agent won’t be able to give them much more than general information on this front. To account for potential pushback against an appointment, incorporate a polite rebuttal into your script that enables your agent to explain how an in-person appointment is necessary because every home and solar installation is unique.
2. After a “Yes” to a Solar Appointment, Qualify Them
Once you’ve sealed that coveted appointment, then it’s time to confirm their eligibility. Tell your customer that, in order to avoid wasting any of their time, you just have a few final questions for them. Incorporate a set series of important screening questions like these into your solar cold calling scripts:
- Is your credit score still over ___?
- Is your utility provider still ___?
- Will your spouse be home, or are you the only person on the title?
- Looking at your roof, would you say that it has a lot of shade, a little shade, or no shade?
Do It All with Dynamic Scripting for Solar Cold Calls
Trying to account for all that the solar market has to throw at you, my solar sales and lead generation teams found that dynamic scripting truly changed our world.
From following rules in different states to adapting to customers of varying intent, introducing dynamic scripting into our solar call centers helped maintain compliance and maximize our sales. It’s simple: the system knows where the call is going and to whom, and then tells the rep what to say.
It’s been tremendous in helping us sell the right product in the right way. And in solar, sometimes you need all the help you can get.