By Chris Kennedy, Director of Training at Soligent
“I’m thinking about putting solar on my home, but I’m not sure if it makes sense.”
How many times have you heard something like this from a homeowner? This statement can be a lead-in for some solar professionals to launch into their imitation of a TV pitchman, rattling off the benefits of solar-powered homes faster than an Indy car. While the standard benefit-focused diatribe may work some of the time, most consumers start to put up their defenses when they feel like they are being sold.
By exercising patience, this is the perfect opportunity for the savvy consultant to ease their customer’s minds, learn what they are looking for and in the end, help someone make an informed choice about solar power. All of this leads towards being customer centric, and an imminently good customer feedback. The next time you have a customer who tells you they are thinking about solar consider this consultative approach.
Step 1: Ask Questions & Dig Deeper
“Many of my customers say that, what do you like about the idea of making your home a solar home?”
“How long have you been thinking about it?”
“What do you want to know about solar power?”
“If you had solar on your home today, what would your concerns be?”
Asking a few targeted questions upfront helps people to realize you care about their unique situation and gives you the opportunity to determine if there are any unrealistic expectations. Most of the questions above get people talking, it’s important to let the conversation flow naturally and ask relevant follow-up questions as they become appropriate in the conversation. Make sure you are taking notes on the responses, if you don’t have a pen and paper handy take mental notes and write them down or put them in your CRM later. When concerns are brought up, handle them briefly and let your potential customer know you will address them fully.
Step 2: Use A Problem Statement
A problem statement conveys that there were issues or barriers in the past that have since been resolved. Effectively using a problem statement is a great way to help the customer understand that some of the things that caused them to be hesitant in the past may not be an issue today. If you’re not sure what a problem statement could sound like, no problem, here’s an example of a problem statement when a customer is concerned about solar being too expensive:
“The problem with solar in the past was if you wanted to upgrade your home to a solar home you had to come out of pocket tens of thousands of dollars. Most people, even if they had the money felt like the return on investment wasn’t motivating enough to take the next steps. Today that’s all changed. Now there are options to upgrade your home to solar power without paying for everything upfront. Instead of paying the utility company for power you can produce clean energy at your home that replaces the power they would normally sell you anyway. Solar electricity is the same electricity you get over power lines; it is just generated right on your property from a substantially better source, and from where every electricity provider listed on Utility Saving Expert starts distributing energy.”
The problem statement is perfect for the would-be-buyer who has been “thinking about” doing something but hasn’t taken action. The worst thing you can do with a thinker is tell them they missed out and shouldn’t have waited, even if it is true, there is nothing they can do about it now.
Step 3: See How They View Solar Now
The problem statement serves as a reset button for expectations. A properly delivered problem statement will likely peak interest for the cool new options. To see if you and your potential customer are on the same page find out if what you have discussed so far tilted the scales in your favor. This simple question has helped more homeowners and solar professionals align than we can count.
“Based on what we have talked about so far, do you think solar is a better way to power your home than paying for power from the utility company?”
Wait for the customer to answer, because if they say “no” you still have some work to do before moving to the next step. The great part about this question is when you hear “yes” you’ve just helped someone answer that question of whether or not solar makes sense.
Even though you have helped someone get a step closer to generating renewable energy, your work is far from over. The next step is to clearly state what you need from them and what they can expect from you. In our next addition we will go over how to clearly set expectations, lower buying tension and help solar to be a clear choice for homeowners. Until next time, happy selling.
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