As a solar installer or an owner of a solar installation business, you know the importance of proper training to be successful in the solar industry. The Solar Training Network is a program that was established in 2016 under the funding program through the Department of Energy. The purpose of this program is to meet the market demand for solar energy by connecting solar trainees, job seekers, solar employers, training institutions and trainers.
The intent of the Network is to achieve former President Obama’s goal of having 75,000 additional solar workers trained by 2020. It is guided by the Solar Jobs Strategy Commission that is made up of representatives from the solar industry, experts in workforce development, diversity group leaders, and key stakeholders in the solar industry. The goal for promoting active connections between those sectors and build a stronger solar workforce by:
- Improving solar training programs
- Initiating more hands-on learning opportunities
- Creating a workforce that has the specialized solar training they need to have a career in the solar industry
While you or your solar installers have already completed training in solar training, this training does not entirely prepare you for running a solar business. This isn’t saying that there’s a problem with solar training programs, but their intent is meant to train installers, not run your business, develop your sales strategies or find qualified customers who are ready to have solar installed at their residences or businesses.
Consider these four things that you won’t learn in a typical solar training program:
#1 Developing Your Company’s Policies
Different states have different policies regarding solar installations, and it’s important to keep those policies in mind when developing your company’s policies. You need to keep up to date with the various tax credits, deductions, standards and regulations pertaining to solar energy in your state. Keeping these in mind could prevent any confusion you might have with negotiating sales deals with your clients and prevent making potential promises that you cannot keep or leave you open to accusations of impropriety.
You also need to set internal policies for your business. This is where Solargraf can be very helpful. For example, you might want to set up a policy regarding how much of a discount can be offered to a customer, but you may only want to make this discount available for certain criteria, like time of month/year, certain employees, or certain quote levels. With Solargraf, you can customize a quote according to the standards you define for your company. You can also set access and restrictions for your employees that are in line with your company policies.
#2 Countering Any Potential Objections Clients Might Have
There is a number of potential objections that a prospect might have, including:
- This isn’t a priority for me at the moment.
- I already have a quote from one of your competitor’s.
- I’m not interested in having a solar installation.
- It’s too expensive for me to install solar at my home/business.
- I’m busy, just email me your information and I’ll get back to you.
With the Solargraf app, your sales reps can generate immediate quotes on the fly in less than a minute. Your potential customer won’t need to wait for you to return to the office and email them a quote because you can show them the proposal right away and send them a copy immediately for their reference.
Having the ability to provide fast and updated information to even a last minute cold call helps to convert more sales by providing:
- What the cost will be to install solar panels at their home or business;
- What the amount of their potential savings may be;
- The ability to immediately adjust a quote to be more competitive.
Knowing all this information right away will be useful to convince your client why going solar should be a priority for them and why they should choose your company.
#3 What Type of Promos to Offer and When
You need to keep track of what promotions have been successful in attracting customers and in closing deals. It is not enough to just track your special offers, you also need to know which ones are more successful during different times of the year.
For example, if you’re already busy attracting customers and closing deals without having to offer a promo or incentive during certain months, it would probably be in your best interest to cut down on these deals during that time. Instead, offer more deals during the months where you’ve historically been slower.
To keep track of your stats regarding promos, you could go through the trouble of creating a spreadsheet on your own. However, this option is already built into the CRM functionality of Solargraf, which can save you time and manpower by allowing you immediate access to this information.
#4 How to Solicit Customers, Including Cold Calling Strategies
You might not be a fan of the cold calling process to bring in new business. However, when cold calling is done properly, it can be a very effective sales tactic. An important thing to remember when you first approach a cold call is that it’s not about making the sale. It’s about opening up the opportunity to make the sale.
For example, if you are considering a neighborhood to cold call, you want to make sure it is the right audience for a solar installation. You would want to research the area before contacting residence. With Solargraf, you can have a quote ready before you even approach a potential customer.
Having the best-trained installers, but not knowing how to take advantage of the potential of the many customers that want your services is a waste of resources. Solargraf can be useful to develop solar leads that will provide you with solutions for all four of the above issues and help with CRM.