All solar buyers are not the same. Even when it comes to homeowners, solar appeals to a different audience depending on where you’re doing business. Messages that might work effectively with suburbanites on Long Island could totally flop with rural homesteaders in western Pennsylvania.
To reach your best prospects effectively in your area, you need to use vocabulary that resonates with them.
Vocabulary for a Solar Mass Market
In states with high market penetration, like California or New York, you can sell solar to a mass market.
In that case, you want to emphasize how solar is a safe investment and how everybody is doing it. Then, put out a challenge to homeowners who haven’t gotten solar yet themselves: Why don’t you jump on the solar bandwagon before you get left behind by your neighbors?
Mass market buyers don’t want new technology — they want something tried and true. Just check out the list of words that marketing guru Seth Godin says you should use in your sales and marketing outreach to mass market buyers:
If you’re in a crowded market like Los Angeles or Phoenix, the good news is that people already know a lot about solar. Ordinary homeowners in these markets are no longer afraid to get solar because it might not work.
For example, everybody in Orange County, California already knows that solar works just fine because they can see panels on their neighbors’ roofs. You probably don’t need to convince them that the technology is reliable.
The bad news is that mass market buyers are more price sensitive. They’ll probably want the lowest bid — or a PPA or lease — they’ll seek out every discount and they will be less willing to pay extra for higher quality equipment.
But if you’re doing business in quantity, you can make money selling to the masses. But keep in mind that you’ll be competing against SolarCity and Vivint, who’ve already perfected an assembly-line approach to cranking out solar installs quickly and cheaply.
Or, if you want to specialize in higher-end buyers, even if you’re in a mass market area, you might want to consider leaving the masses to the national installers, and choosing instead to specialize in niche buyers with special needs for higher quality or more features like backup.
Vocabulary for Solar Early Adopters
It’s different if you’re in a state with low penetration, perhaps in the Midwest or Southeast. In that case, solar installers may do better to appeal to early adopters.
To reach this audience, you should talk about how solar is new, innovative, exciting and perfect for forward-thinking people. Early adopters love new technology. Once something has been accepted by the masses, they get bored with it and want to move onto the next new thing.
Use words in your sales and marketing outreach from Seth Godin’s list for early adopters:
In states where few homes have solar, you’re unlikely to make a sale to a mass buyer who likes things to be cheap and risk free. Instead, your buyer in Wisconsin or Georgia will probably be an independent thinker willing to do something differently than his or her neighbors.
And as long as your price is in their ballpark, early adopters are less likely to look for discounts or insist on the lowest bid. Instead, they’ll care more about quality and customer experience. Early adopters also want to do business with companies that are on the cutting edge, and keep up with trends and new developments in solar.
Early adopters are good candidates for high efficiency modules or even backup and storage. And they’re more likely to tell their friends about their experience getting solar, whether good or bad.
If you have the tech smarts and quality service to satisfy these demanding buyers, then early adopters are not just great customers but also great ambassadors for your company.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group