The sales team is the backbone of a solar company. The solar sales reps directly communicate with the customers on behalf of the company. For the customers, the sales rep, they are doing business with, is the company. This means that the success or failure of a solar business hinges on the sales team.
Since the sales rep is considered the face of the company. The customer’s impression of the salesperson is directly transferred to the company. The first impression, the way the salesperson behaves, how helpful he or she is to the customer, etc. have a significant impact on the company’s image.
There is no cause for alarm. This guide will help train your solar sales team so that they are prepared for any challenge and are well equipped to convert leads into sales.
Before that, let’s discuss why it’s so important to train your solar sales team. Here we also debunk the myth that top salespeople are born and not made.
The Importance of Training Your Solar Sales Team
Some might be born with certain traits that give them an advantage over others in sales. But, those traits and/or good communication alone doesn’t make a person a top-notch sales rep. A solar salesperson needs to know the ins and outs of the company and the solar industry. This includes the technical details, the installation process, the logistics, the financial options, etc. Also, the salesperson must be able to communicate his message in a way the client understands.
A well-trained sales team is crucial for the success of solar business. It doesn’t matter how efficient the other departments of the company are, how superior the technology or solar equipment is, or how effective the technical and installation team of the company is – all these will amount to nothing if the company doesn’t have a well trained solar sales team that generates interest, creates opportunities, solves problems, and closes sales.
Bear in mind, when salespeople interact with a prospective customer, there are no wrong questions. The customer might have a personal opinion, preconceived idea, and certain presumptions about solar technology, the solar industry, and the company. Only salespeople who have undertaken sales training can relate to their customers, understand them, and guide them to make the right decision with factual answers to their questions.
Now that we have established the importance of training your solar sales team, let’s look at them:
The Dos and Don’ts that Your Solar Sales Team Must Know
Understand the Client
The default pitch of a sales rep might not work with all the clients. Each client is unique; hence, sometimes it’s quite pointless to have a standard, default pitch.
Anyway, it’s imperative for the sales reps to understand the client, know their motivation and limitations going into solar. The client might be thinking of the energy he or she would be saving, budget limitation, and the space required for setting the instrument; these constraints and more are sure to influence the client’s response to you and his or her final decision. Training your sales team to know the client by carefully extracting their motivations and limitations can help them customize their sales pitch or proposal that could benefit everyone.
Train your solar sales team to be an expert on the product
To create an elite solar sales team, sales techniques and strategies stand second to a thorough knowledge of the product.
This part of the training assumes greater significance in the case of new employees. Do not rush them; give ample time and resource to familiarize with the services and products the company is offering. When they complete the training and set foot on the field, they should be a walking, talking encyclopedia of every service and product you provide.
Get in touch with the manufacturers or distributors to ask if they provide booklet or documentation that serves as a complete guide on the subject. Even better, request expects, from the company or otherwise, to conduct knowledge sessions on the company product and service offerings.
Train your solar sales team to be an expert on policies, incentives, parameters, and more
An elite solar sales rep also doubles as a problem solver. He or she should be quick on the feet, good at innovative thinking, resourceful, and knowledgeable in the local policies, incentives, parameters, and more.
For example, the solar sales rep should be quick to assess the situation, understand the technological and logistical challenges, and also know the local policies that might impact the use of solar energy. In addition, knowledge of incentive programs could make or break a deal. So, train your sales team to be proactive in their thinking and knowledgeable in everything related to solar.
Equip the solar sales team with the right tools to further the selling process
Once the client takes the giant leap of giving the thumbs up; quick result is expected from the sales team. Train your sales team to be quick with the proposal and closing of the deal, if not at once, at least within 24 hours of the decision.
Remember, the solar sales rep is the point person representing the company. As far as the customer is concerned, the sales team is the company. All queries, clarifications, and enquires are directed at the sales rep. The job of the solar sales rep doesn’t end with the sale. So, train the team to use the right tools that’ll help them carry through the sales process until the customer is satisfied.
Train your team to be responsive and punctual
Even if other skills fail a sales rep, showing the customers that you care can greatly increase the chances of a sale. Train your solar sale team to be empathetic, responsive, and punctual. Set expectations, ask the clients when would be the right time to call again, and be punctual with the call. Never ignore the client; reply to messages, calls, and emails promptly.
Pair newbies with experienced salespeople
Sales training – theory, simulations, and exercises – are no substitute for real-world experience. As the final step of the training, pair the new solar sale rep with an experienced salesperson, so the newbie can get the knack of the sales process.
The new solar sales rep can witness firsthand how to open a conversation, understand the client, generate interest, handle queries, answer tough questions, deal with rejection, and move through the sales process.
The 5 Strategies that Can Help Your Solar Sales Team Succeed
Focus on value and not on price
The solar sector is on the rise; new players (your competition) are entering the market every month. To gain an edge over competitors, the solar company might give the sales team the freedom to offer a discount. Reducing prices to beat the competition is a double-edged sword. Before you know, you might be marching past the competition to the bottom, which can be disastrous to your business.
Offering discounts are a legitimate and smart sales strategy. But, getting into a price war will drag the company down. Instead, beat your competition on value, and not on price. Let your solar sales team convince the customer that your product or service might not be the cheapest, but it certainly offers great value for their investment.
Establish common ground
While interacting with a prospective customer try to establish common ground; you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so. What does the customer hope to gain or satisfy by availing your service or product? How is your solar company going to fulfill that expectation from the client?
For example, the customer is worried about climate change. Your company offerings help save the environment, albeit in a small way. The customer wants to save money. Yes, solar can reduce the energy bill, if not now then in the future as other means of energy production becomes expensive.
Finding common ground could act as stepping stones to move the sales process ahead and eventually making a sale.
Develop a sense of urgency
The customer might be a green crusader, eager to do his or her bit to save the mother earth from climate change. But, there is no guarantee the prospective customer would readily jump into the solar bandwagon. Sometimes, the customers might be in two minds, needing coaxing and gentle persuasion to force them into action.
The solar sales team can establish a sense of urgency by offering client discounts or incentives. Governments do it by offering tax incentives to citizens who opt for solar. You can empower your solar sales team to come up with ideas that create a sense of urgency.
Encourage customer participation
Emphasizing on customer participation could benefit the company in two ways. First, involving customers in crucial decisions can increase the chances of repeat business. Secondly, this strategy could generate positive word of mouth by customers, which means more sales for your solar sales team.
The idea of customer participation isn’t new, yet most sales team pay mere lip service and never put the strategy into good use. When solar sales team actively seek customer involvement in sales, designing, installation, etc. the chances of misunderstanding decreases and trust develops between the customer and company.
Talk less and listen more
A research-backed strategy, the Talk Less and Listen More tactic is known to increase sales conversion. Studies and surveys show that a typical talk-to-listen ratio is around 70:30. But, sales analytics and sales experts feel the ideal ratio – the sweet spot – between the sales rep and customer conversation must be at least 43:57.
Possible benefits that accrue by following the Talk Less and Listen More strategy:
- The solar sales team can gain valuable information and actionable insight by listening to the customers
- When the sales rep listens the customer feels valued; that his views and needs are heard and respected
- Sales reps who genuinely pay attention to the customer can expect the same when it’s his or her time to speak
- The risk of making mistakes (mainly because the sales rep doesn’t have adequate information on the customer’s needs) decreases by listening more
The solar industry is expanding, so is the opportunities available to well trained solar salespeople in the solar energy sector. Training is important, for the newcomers as well as experienced salespeople who are looking to improve their closing percentage. Our ultimate guide to training your solar sales team will help them understand or revisit (in case of experienced sales reps) the basics of sales and learn strategies to increase the chances of success.