The solar industry is forward-thinking in its design and technology innovation, but the solar sales process isn’t stacking up. While salespeople are doing the best they can, unfortunately, gaps still exist that are having a negative impact on the reputation of residential solar.
Aurora Solar’s Solar Industry Snapshot found that 50 percent of homeowners find it challenging to determine if an installer is legitimate, which is holding them back from going solar. This is something we discussed on The Buzz with Sarah Kim, VP of marketing at Aurora Solar:
In recent months, there has been a ton of bad press about deceptive sales tactics that have left homeowners upset due to overpromised, unachievable results or a slew of issues when it comes time for a project to be completed. This makes it even more critical that solar installers make a strong first impression on homeowners and have a sales process that leads to accurate designs and recommendations.
To further explore consumer views around the solar sales process, Aurora Solar surveyed 1,000 U.S. adult consumers (18+) via Dynata in August 2023, on a range of topics that impact the reputation of installers. Key takeaways?
Reputation matters | Unsurprisingly, reputation is important when it comes to considering or purchasing solar, however, consumers have difficulty telling which ones they can trust. Negative headlines around scams also do not go unnoticed, creating skepticism within the general public. However, there are ways to differentiate from competitors.
- Eighty-seven percent (87%) of consumers believe a solar company’s reputation is important when deciding whether or not to work with them.
- Deceptive sales tactics within the solar industry are a concern among consumers; thirty-seven percent (37%) noted it would be something they would worry about if they were buying solar.
- Forty-three percent (43%) find it difficult to differentiate between solar companies; while price was noted as the most important factor influencing a purchasing decision (69%), product quality (59%), online reviews (47%), and financing options (36%) were the next most highly rated factors.
Door-to-door sales don’ts | Overall consumers showed hesitancy in embracing door-to-door sales tactics. Solar professionals going from home to home need to be prepared to overcome an existing weariness and make the most out of initial interactions.
- Less than one in four (24%) of consumers would genuinely listen to a door-to-door pitch; 40% would avoid opening the door and 26% would open the door having decided they are already going to decline the offer.
- The majority of respondents (65%) believe it is unprofessional for the solar industry to use door-to-door salespeople because it is impersonal, lacks trust, or feels they are being hunted for business.
- Half (50%) of consumers have never bought any goods or services from someone going door-to-door.
Generational divide | Each generation has a different mentality when it comes to purchasing solar. Based on Aurora’s findings, solar installers should diversify sales tactics to meet consumers where they are and better spread knowledge about the benefits of solar. We also discusses this on The Buzz:
Social media will play an important role in reaching the next generation of homeowners:
- When respondents were asked what a solar company can do to catch their attention, Gen Z is all about catchy advertisements (34%), while Baby Boomers are less enthusiastic about viral ad campaigns (7%).
- Nearly half of Baby Boomers (49%) said that they would never reach out for more information about solar panels via social media; Gen Z was more open to leveraging social media as an educational tool, with 82% noting they might be open to reaching out to learn more via social media.
— Solar Builder magazine