It's a familiar experience: you're talking to a potential customer and the conversation's going well...until your customer brings up a challenge and you don't have the answer. When you're close to closing the sale but are facing resistance from your customer, it's important to have the right solutions in your back pocket to ensure that they're satisfied and that you're leaving fewer deals on the table. To get you started, here are a few easy answers to some of the most common solar customer objections.
The cost of the system seems high.
Although solar prices have been dropping over the last few years, coinciding with the residential solar boom, customers still might get some sticker shock when they receive a quote. It's essential to provide a clear, comprehensive breakdown of how costs will add up: include everything from the system itself to installation costs, making sure to address any commonly-hidden line items. Transparency will go a long way towards ensuring that your customer feels like they're paying a fair price.
It can also be helpful to frame their purchase in a long-term context. Once they've purchased the system, they will immediately begin to see the benefits of their investment in the form of lower electricity bills. The money they'll save over time is well-worth the upfront cost, especially when you factor in rising energy prices. Similarly, if they're considering a higher-production system, such as a dual-axis solar tracker (which will typically come with a higher price tag), reminding them that they are paying for more energy, which means greater savings for them in the long run. Measuring the value of their investment in terms of dollar-per-kilowatt-hour, versus the traditional dollar-per-watt, is a great way to show them the benefit of paying more for a more powerful system.
Finally, be sure to have a sense of what solar incentives are available in your state or region. Incentives such as the federal income tax credit (ITC), which is a 30% tax credit for solar installations, and local rebates can help reduce the upfront cost of the system for the customer.
And if you're finding that customers are still reluctant to make the purchase, consider finding ways to offer alternative financing options such as power-purchase agreements and system leases. While purchasing a system outright is usually the smartest decision financially, these other options allow customers to go solar without the upfront investment.
My roof isn't well-suited for solar--it's too old/has too much shading/isn't southern-facing.
You're in luck! Although the roof is what comes to mind for most people when they think of solar sites, there are plenty of options for individuals whose roofs won't work for solar. Ground-mount solar (both fixed and tracking) is a great choice not just for people who don't have the right roofs--these systems are perfect for people looking to increase their power production, or who have usable yard space. A dual-axis solar tracker, for example, can produce up to 40% more energy than a roof-mount system, so if your customer has high electric bills (or is looking to transition all their energy to electric), this would be a great option for them. Ground-mount systems have the added benefit of being easy to maintain, and are a great way for your customers to make a visible statement about their environmental values.
I'm nervous about solar technology. How do I know I can count on it to meet my energy needs?
The first step in reassuring a customer who is unfamiliar with solar, or simply don't trust the technology, is to make sure your product offerings are ones you can stand behind: you want to be able to give your customer durable, reliable, and long-lasting options. Partnering with manufacturers that design high-quality, low-maintenance systems with good warranty programs is key--if you are confident in the systems you install, it'll be easier to explain the benefits to your customer.
You can also use this as an opportunity to leverage your customer network. Having satisfied customers who can provide testimonials to your work, or who are willing to be contacted about their experiences, will be a huge asset to your business. You can also compile case studies to tell the stories of successful installations you've completed, or come up with a list of local sites that you can bring a prospective customer to so they can see a system in context.
Providing some big-picture data can also be helpful: solar is on the rise across the country, for both commercial and residential applications, and is on the verge of being considered a mainstream technology (and in some developed markets, such as California, it already is). The industry has seen an annual growth rate of nearly 60% over the last decade. Solar is no longer something reserved solely for early technology adopters, or environmentalists looking to reduce their carbon footprints--it's a useful, reliable way to lower your energy costs (with the added benefit of doing the right thing for the planet). The industry trends should speak for themselves, letting customers know that solar is growing rapidly, and is here to stay.