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Calling All Hiring Managers! Selling Solar – Not Your Average Sale

As I embark on my new career path I have noticed that many people do not know what it entails to be a solar consultant which is the last position I had at Sungevity Solar. If you consider what detailed skill set makes a strong B2B sales person or frankly any people facing role, I am sure your ideal candidate parallels the traits of a solar consultant.

Sungevity is known as a platform based business model partnering with manufacturers, financing companies and local installers while owning the customer experience. At Sungevity we use a remote solar design tool allowing us to provide our customers an accurate proposal with ease. It is my job to give a ~45 minute online presentation to homeowners explaining why solar, why now and why Sungevity. Clients range from C-suite level executives to engineers to contractors to homeowners that aren’t technical at all. Speaking with confidence and conviction while being able to simplify how things work for the average consumer are key to success. It is a constant dance of aligning, validating and reframing objections while reminding them of the bigger picture and their initial personal motivation and ultimately leading them to the next steps of the project to go solar!

Selling solar is selling a full on construction project and a long term utility program for a new technology. The solar consultant acts as an advocate from initial touch after the proposal is requested to close and throughout the project timeline (a 2-4 mo process). For 99% of clients, this is the first time they are looking into solar so the customer is seeking education and expertise from the consultant both on solar and how to shop for it. It is expected that the consultant is well versed on the technology, contractual warranties, financial product terms, government incentives while being able to position this strongly against the competition. The purchase process is driven by both logic AND emotion as this is really a numbers game comparing their current utility situation to their future solar situation. This is a product that is installed on one of their biggest assets, providing control and predictability around their energy rates for the next 20+ years and is one of the largest purchases someone will make. In order for the consultant to pull (not push) the customer to do the right thing, the consultant must have expertise, creativity, and patience.

Sales is a natural skill of mine and I consider myself a “challenger saleswoman”. Educating the customer on how to shop for solar and changing the way they think about their energy consumption is something that is most rewarding to me. I even went further to write a couple of blogs on how to shop for solar on my website to be able to match my customer’s preferred communication style and provide additional resources. I am a great listener and know how to align my product to my customers goals and motivations. Persistence is key through this longer decision making process as well as understanding my clients pain points and potential roadblocks. Proper expectation setting and getting ahead of potential objections is key to a trustworthy, healthy customer relationship. I am constantly aware of the bigger picture and keep my focus on the ultimate goal at all times while being attentive and empathetic to the issue/objection at hand. I frame the call by stating the purpose, agenda, logistics and outcome of the call and make it clear that I will be asking for the business at the end, which is never something I shy away from. My calm, supportive demeanor creates a welcoming environment to make a decision in. My goal for the call is to provide all the information they need to make an informed decision- either yes, no or have a hard follow up scheduled to maintain a healthy pipeline. The solution sales approach I have will be useful in any sales conversation moving forward!

I am confident that the disciplined skills I gained as a solar consultant will translate well in any people facing role! Feel free to contact me for additional information or if you think I would be a valuable addition to your team!

Shine on!

Sarah Howard

510.842.5203

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