Updated: Nov 2, 2021
There isn’t a company out there that isn’t interested in turning more leads into successful sales. In the C&I solar market we’ve found a great way to do this is to focus on the consumer presentation and pitch. Try following these four best practices we found to help move your sales team from a potential project to successfully getting under contract.
1. Lead with Financing
A business may want to go solar for a variety of reasons. The two most common we see are economic and environmental. They may have heard it is a way to potentially reduce their operating expenses through lower electricity costs. They may also know the greenhouse gas emission and air quality benefits and would like to act because their personal values align or for the PR opportunity it presents. On the other hand, one of the least common reasons we find is that they have a large lump sum of cash and tax equity that they weren’t sure what else to do with. Considering that, it’s very uncommon to see all but the smallest C&I customers interested in buying the solar system upfront. More often they’re looking to finance it. Financing is generally the lightest lift on the consumer, who in the PPA/SSA structure, is not responsible for upfront capital nor must bear any risk of performance or for maintenance. They also do not have to purchase the system, but often have the option after 6 years at a substantially reduced cost, giving them flexibility in the future. When presenting a project to a consumer we found that providing one or more financing options followed by a cash purchase reduces the likelihood of sticker shock. It also can open up the conversation with an appetizing option that the associated business contact can use to leverage the decision internally.
2. Accuracy is Critical
When creating a presentation and pitch for a consumer it can also be important that the information they’ve been provided has the correct numbers, so they don’t lose trust and the deal doesn’t die down the road as that information changes. To ensure we get you accurate information regarding the consumer’s PPA/SSA rate there are four major pieces of information a developer loves to have from our EPC partners: the utility electricity only rate (the target we all need to be beat), the system size, annual production, and the turn-key EPC price. These are essential for a developer like Solaris Energy, but the more information and data, the more accurate we can help make the presentation for the consumer. We’ve found the best way to ensure a quick turnaround time for the consumer is to get all that information collected in one spot using our intake form or something similar.
3. Describe the Easy Process
A lot of companies are focused on running their own business, not on getting solar for it. Even if already sold on the idea and price, consumers may feel overwhelmed by the year or more timeline that can include financials, contracts, and other requests from them. When speaking with them, consider giving a step-by-step explanation of the process and what is expected of them, emphasizing how easy it is and the experts they have access to throughout the project to help along the way. To start you can use Solaris Energy’s step-by-step guide that helps them through the process in a simple and straightforward manner.
4. Make the Right Connections
When entering into conversations and presenting to the consumer we find it helpful to make sure you have the right person. More likely than not, they’re already an internal champion for the project! That is something that will be key in making sure it crosses the contract finish line. We find it just as essential that this person also be a decision maker or have the ear of one in the company. If not, the deal may not get very far. Consider inquiring with your contact about what authority they have to make the call on the project and, if needed, encourage them to invite those who make the final decision to any presentation or pitch you give.
An EPC or partner can significantly reduce sticker shock, gain trust, calm concerns, and get a project in the right hands by implementing these key tips. Closing the deal is as simple as successfully accomplishing that!
ABOUT SOLARIS ENERGY
Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, and grown from non-profit roots, Solaris Energy is an experienced, value-driven solar development, finance, and asset management firm, public benefit corporation and 1% for the planet member. The company accelerates the widespread deployment of distributed solar energy systems by offering non-residential customers low-cost financing to reduce their environmental impact, increase their bottom line, and participate in the worldwide shift to renewable energy. Solaris Energy’s dedicated team of passionate individuals has been providing these services since 2008, building a strong track record of proven and cost-effective renewable energy solutions across all sectors of energy consumers.