In residential solar sales, it doesn’t take long to learn that homeowners are always prepared with a few objections that can prevent a deal from closing on the spot.
Even if a potential customer is ready to go solar, they may delay signing on that dotted line in order to find a better quote from another provider.
To help individuals and companies around the globe accelerate solar sales and build more business, Aurora Solar and Solar Power World recently hosted the 2021 Solar Sales Objection Throwdown.
Throughout the webinar, Aurora Solar’s Bogdan Zlatkov presented five experienced members of the solar industry with some of the most common objections that sales reps hear every day.
After each objection, the competing panelists were each given a brief amount of time to explain how they would respond to the homeowner’s concerns in a real sales scenario.
While we encourage everyone to watch the competition, we captured some of the best advice to share in this five-part blog series. It seems appropriate to start with perhaps the most common objections sales reps hear…
The Objection: We Need Another Quote
“This all sounds great, but I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t get another quote, so I think we’ll hold off for now.”
As a very common and completely valid objection, solar sales reps can essentially choose one of two ways to respond when a customer expresses the need to gather more information elsewhere.
Here, a salesperson can either:
- Accept that the customer is not interested in signing a contract during the present meeting
- Continue the conversation to better facilitate a sale
According to our five solar sales experts, here are the most valuable things to consider when a customer would like to seek additional information before purchasing a solar energy system.
Respond with Empathy
Empathy is the most important aspect of a successful solar sale. As many sales reps can surely relate, every panelist in the Solar Objections Throwdown mentioned the value of empathy in working with a customer to find the best possible solution.
By putting yourself in the shoes of the homeowner, it’s easier to understand how they may feel when speaking with a salesperson. And with an honest amount of empathetic communication, company representatives can more easily address customer objections, build trust, and earn more sales and referrals.
To open the competition, Ashleigh Tatarcyk, Owner of Urban Sol Energy explained the role of empathy while using a question-based sales method.
“I would empathize a little bit. Most homeowners want to know that you understand why they want to get a quote. So I would start off asking questions like, ‘What’s really most important to you when looking at a quote? Is it warranties, is it types of panels, is it funding?”
While asking questions and empathizing with responses may help facilitate some sales, Ashleigh was also quick to address the fact that some customers are simply always going to need multiple quotes from different solar companies.
“If people do need another quote, I respect and understand that. But then I would say something like, ‘Hey, I’m going to offer you my consulting services free of charge. After you’ve got all three of your quotes, we’re going to set up another time where I’ll actually go over all of your proposals for you, walk you through each one and see which one might be the best. And I’ll be upfront with you and tell you if someone else’s proposal is better.’”
Next, James Ramos, Founder of Solar YOUniversity agreed with Ashleigh and introduced a sales tactic that utilizes empathy to keep conversations alive.
“How I handle all of my objections is always going to be the three F’s — Feel, Felt, and Found: empathy first.”
Knowing that many customers will request additional quotes, the three F’s can be deployed to:
- Empathize with how the customer feels
- Inform them that past customers have felt the same way
- Explain that others have found that their company was the best choice
James then moves the conversation forward by identifying the next steps in the sales process.
“What I always ask the homeowner is basically, how much time do you need? They’re going to say, ‘give me like seven days,’ and I’m like, ‘How about if I give you four weeks?’”
Lily Valdez, Co-Founder of Women United by Solar also introduced the idea of establishing a timeline.
“What we can do is get you qualified now, this isn’t going to get on your roof right away as I told you before, but it’s going to be a 6-to-8-week process. And in that time I encourage you to do all of the research and come up with all of your questions so that you’re 100% sure that solar is the best investment for you and your family.”
Consider Pivoting to a Two-Touch Close
As Ashleigh alluded to earlier, any given sales call does not necessarily have to be the final meeting between you and a potential customer. After a homeowner explains that they will need another quote, you’ll need to make a decision on how to properly move forward.
When handling this objection, Lily explained that actively encouraging homeowners to look for new quotes may actually be helpful in landing a sale at a later date.
“I’ll say, ‘You know what? I’m glad you’re taking this very seriously and you’re going to get three bids. That’s very smart of you. You know, a lot of my customers have done that and what they’ve found is that, they still come back to me, but I can definitely review all of that information with you.”
“Solar Joe” Mousakheel, CRO of The Solar Academy admitted that he used to always aim for a one-call-close, but that was no longer his main strategy. Since adjusting to a two-touch close, homeowners shopping around for other quotes is no longer a large issue.
“What I’ve noticed is that this objection has stopped almost completely for me now that I go with a two-touch close. This two-touch close will almost eliminate this objection because there is no pressure and no games. You’re just being an advisor helping the homeowner, letting them know all of the options out there, and letting them decide what’s best for them.”
Jake Hess, Founder of The Solar Academy explained that pivoting to a two-touch closing strategy can help relieve sales pressure, and that empathy is a driving factor of this methodology.
“I’m with Joe on the two-touch close, I love it, take the pressure off. I only have a certain amount of energy in a day to fight certain things with homeowners. This is not something I’d like to fight, so like James, Ashleigh, and Lilly said: Empathy is going to go forever on this objection.”
Remember that Every Company is “the Best”
Finally, James, Jake, and many other solar providers realized one key thing that can help differentiate a single quote from the rest of the pack: Almost every solar company is going to say that they are “the best” choice for the customer.
Circling back to the importance of empathy, James explained that a clear and honest conversation about the customer’s options is going to be much better than simply talking about the quality of your products and services.
“If we see this through the customer’s eyes, we have to understand that every single company that they meet with is already telling them, ‘We’re the best company. We have the best service. You’re gonna love us the most. We’ll answer your call and will still be in business, etc.’ …
“Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at everything you’re getting — your warranties, how this is going to affect you in a negative way, all of these things. But, for me to truly do that, I need to know what these other quotes are. You get those quotes, then let me show you the things to look for, let me show you the things to ask, and then I’m going to come back at a later date when you have all of the quotes and I’ll go through those with you as well.”
Here, Jake pivots to a two-touch close, addresses the customer’s best interest to seek out more information, and sets up another meeting to continue the sales process.
Although most experienced solar reps can speak confidently about the quality of their products and services ad nauseam, customer empathy is the key to success in any sales scenario.
If a homeowner says that they will need another quote, you must empathize with their urge to find more information, and also realize that every company in the area is also going to claim to be the “best” option.
By moving the sales process forward and respecting a customer’s decision to shop around, pivoting to a two-touch close may be the best solution for selling products and services with the customer’s best interest in mind.
There are four more blogs remaining in this series, so please follow along and join us as we break down these other common solar sales objections:
- We Need Another Quote
- We’re Retired and On a Budget
- We’re Concerned About Damage to the Roof
- We’re Planning to Move Soon
- We’d Rather Use the Money for Other Investments
Click below to see how Sales Mode can help you deal with the “We need another quote” objection, and more.
Featured image by Joanna Kosinska.