How to become a solar expert

Updated:
September 24, 2019
Stop being seen as a commodity and be known for being an expert. This article shows how to be known as one, and how to show it to everyone.

Table of Contents

Are you facing a lack of good quality leads? 

Have you found yourself being beaten on price by other solar installers?

You feel like you can’t decrease your prices any lower. 

But when you do increase your prices, your customers say you’re too expensive.

It’s very likely that your customers see you as a commodity.

Solar installers everywhere

The only way to charge more is to be seen as an expert.

Below is a 2 step method to becoming an expert in solar: 

  1. How to be known as an expert
  2. How to show solar expertise

How to be known as an expert.

The problem that most solar installers like yourselves are facing, especially if you are just starting out is a lack of good quality leads. 

Your competitors are beating you on price, and you don’t know where your next client is coming from.

In order to solve these problems, you need to be different. Not just slightly different, but meaningfully different in their eyes.

How?

You must specialise into a niche with a clear, laser-like focus.

It may seem counter-intuitive, and you might be thinking, “How can reducing the number of potential prospects be better for my business?”

By choosing to focus all your marketing efforts into your ideal buyer, they will:

  • Feel like you understand them far better than your competitors.
  • Respond best to the language you’re using because it is the same as theirs.
  • Feel that you are the best person to solve their problem.
  • No long see you as a commodity, but more of an expert in your field.
  • Understand that your fees will be higher than that of a cookie-cutter solar installer.


Niche conndrum

“But I won’t be able to find enough customers”

Hardly any businesses over specialise on their first try. You will find enough.

Let’s take a look at some hard data.

There are currently over 9 million homes in Australia. 6 million are being occupied by homeowners. Within the 6 million are 2 million homes that already have solar on their roofs.

This leaves a market of around 4 million.

The pie is big enough for everyone. Rather, it is too big to not specialise.

“But I’ll get bored doing the same thing”

Each project is different.

Each home, client, circumstances are different.

Solar panels are changing ever so quickly. Inverters are being updated constantly.

It is very unlikely you’ll become bored.

It is much more likely that you’ll become more proud of your achievements.

Bored of too many customers

“I might pick the wrong niche”

This is true.

But you can think and validate your niche before committing to it.

If you do end up picking the wrong niche, you can always pick another one.

Instead of thinking negatively about this, you should think that picking the wrong niche is better than not picking one at all.

Ask yourself...

If you’re still unconvinced, ask yourself this question:

If you were lying in an operating theatre, would you rather a surgeon who has dedicated their life to studying and practising their specialisation, or a GP who just happened to be available?

experienced surgeon

Do you think the surgeon has a lack of customers, gets bored, or believes that they have picked the wrong niche?

Or an example from your customer’s point of view.

Imagine a customer that recently built a  brand new double storey home and are thinking of installing solar panels. They are very concerned about whoever is going onto their roof that they won’t damage the roof tiles.

The customer will be far more likely to pick a solar installer that has specialised into delivering solar projects for 2 storey, tiled-roof houses than a generalist solar installer.

“What niches can I pick?”

Think of the types of customers that you have worked with in the past that you have either enjoyed working with or have a deep understanding.

That is probably the best place to start.

If you’re new or have no idea, then here are some examples that you can be an expert in:

  • Double storey homes
  • Single storey homes
  • 24-hour installations or less.
  • One particular suburb
  • Public schools.
  • Tiled roof specialists

How to show solar expertise 

Long gone are the days of companies trying to sell by bombarding customers with features. They’ve been burnt in the past, and consumers have become more intelligent and skeptical.

Trust

The currency of doing businesses these days is trust. 

If a customer trusts you, they will do business with you. This is why face to face meetings are still important because it establishes a high level of trust in a short amount of time.

But there are other ways to develop trust.

You can offer value to your customer. 

For free.

Lots of it.

Value can come in the form of entertainment and education. 

Whichever company offers the most value will gain the most trust.

Becoming part of your audience as a follower

What is the difference between a customer and a follower?

A customer is someone that has bought a product or service from you.

A follower, even if they can’t afford your product now, or don’t need it now, will buy your product in the future. Either when they have a need, or finally have the money to. 

Which one would you rather have?

In 2020, having an audience is more important than a customer.

Having an audience, In the meantime, they will talk about you, and sing your praises to others, spread your message, share your content.

Entertainment and Education

You can offer either entertainment or education as value.

Do you know about the “Will it blend?” Series on YouTube?

It’s a silly, 1-2 minute infomercial of a guy in a lab coat placing  electronics into the blender and asking the question, “Will it blend?” before pressing the blend button.

You then see the product being blended right in front of your eyes.

It’s made by the company Blendtec, and you guessed it, they sell blenders. 

Blenders are generally quite an uninteresting commodity. But the fact is that they’ve been able to make a video of blending an iPad that’s been watched 18 million times and shared countless times.

It was able to do this by offering education on its products and entertainment at the same time.

And what’s more, they sell blenders that cost twice the market rate.

Truth be told, are their blades actually that much more powerful than their competitors? Probably not.

Giving value

Not all content will go viral.

But that doesn’t mean you still can’t aim to give value to your customers. 

You can choose how to present that information in whatever medium suits you.

Video, Photos, Text, Audio. Pick one or two that you enjoy doing.

Start creating content for your target audience that is going to be valuable to them.

Just stick with it and stay on course.

If you’re like me, who’s not comfortable in front of a camera or microphone (or both), you can start writing.

What can you write about?

Think about your target audience and what are they currently struggling with that you understand and can provide value?

Here’s some inspiration:

  • How do solar panels work?
  • How does shading work? Will I need to chop down my trees?
  • Which way to orientate panels to get optimum sunshine?
  • What happens to energy generation during winter?
  • Which panels are the best?
  • How long does a solar installation take?
  • How do I prepare my house for installation?
  • How to clean your solar panels properly?
  • 10 ways to reduce dust on your solar panels.
  • What is a feed-in tariff?
  • Comparing energy retailers
  • How to spend electricity the best during the day to minimise feeding into the grid?

This is just a collection of a very broad list of a potential solar customer may be interested in. 

Identify your target audience and pick your topics.

Creating content for your website

Once you have decided on your topics, put it into a schedule to write and develop these pieces of content to put onto your website.

Your website will begin to feel like a hub of information for your customer.

Below is an example.

Instead of attempting to sell to your customer about the features and benefits of hiring you, you begin to educate them.

Giving value on website

This is how you gain their trust.

And this is how you become known as an expert in solar.

Lucian Wu

Lucian Wu

Lucian is passionate about fighting climate change. He is an engineer, husband, father of 2 boys, solar panel enthusiast and hopes to one day own a Tesla. Sometimes, he wakes up at 4am to watch Liverpool FC play.

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