This is the first article in our Commercial Solar Success series of articles focused around how you can establish a successful commercial sales process.

Businesses come to us so too often saying that they are struggling to grapple with the challenges of commercial solar customers. Many businesses just haven't been able to take off with their commercial success for a variety of reasons. You might be succeeding in residential, but with the market share swiftly shifting more and more to commercial, it's essential for all solar businesses to get a firm grasp of what's required to succeed in commercial solar. We've created this series to help address the challenges that the commercial sector brings (and help you achieve higher profits). 

Selling commercial solar is completely different to residential. The systems are larger, there are technical considerations, the decision-makers are usually tougher and the whole process can take much longer. In fact it’s not unusual for commercial solar systems (10kW+) to take more than 3 appointments, many quote variations and 6 months, a year or more of waiting for a decision! So knowing this, how does a solar company go about hitting the commercial sector in the most effective way possible? Here are some tips from SunWiz based on our extensive analysis of what successful companies are doing right, and what gaps exist:

What you need to know

Here are a few things which are absolutely crucial if you’re planning to enter (or expand) commercial solar targeting:

Targeting commercial prospects is a different game – To reach commercial customers requires some special strategies that you might not be used to. Be ready to learn some new things and use creative tactics to get the high-value commercial prospects you want.

  1. Professionalism is a must – No business owner in their right mind will hire a solar installer who doesn’t appear to understand solar on a professional level. You need to come across as an absolute industry expert with correct calculations and answers to all their questions.
  2. ROI calculations are much more complex for commercial customers – No doubt you’re aware that commercial customers are billed for power much differently than residential customers (in most cases). Commercial bills can have many different charges for all manner of things you might have never heard of. It’s important for your entire commercial sales team to at least understand which charges will be affected by a solar system and which ones are likely to remain the same.

There are of course many other things which are very important to consider when planning commercial targeting strategies with solar. The above 3 points, however, give you a strong foundation of what’s required when working in the commercial space.

Commercial Solar Targets

Things that can go wrong

In order to make sure things go right, it’s important to understand what can go wrong, so you don’t fall into the same old traps other companies before you have tried and failed. Here are some common mistakes solar companies make when targeting commercial prospects:

  1. Using a scatter-gun approach – Targeting your market with precision has never been so important. If you’re going by your guy-feeling or just targeting areas and business types randomly then you’re wasting a lot of time and energy.
  2. Underestimating results – Starting out in commercial is exciting, but it’s easy to underestimate how long it can take to see some sales. This can be a grave error and might cost your solar business dearly.
  3. Competing on price – If your sales point is to “have the best price” you’ll likely see very little profit and end up in big trouble. It’s very possible to sell at a good profit if you have a good strategy and a reason customers should choose you over the cheaper guys.

Making profit in commercial solar

So how do you make sure you make a good, healthy profit selling commercial solar systems? A lot of it comes down to having a solid strategy, using your time wisely and looking professional. Of course there is more to it than just this, but this is a very good place to start. There is good money to be made selling in the commercial sector. You just need to do things right by:

  1. Choosing where to focus your efforts
  2. Targeting high-value prospects
  3. Standing out in your prospect’s eyes
  4. Reaching the decision-makers easily
  5. Knowing the maximum profit you can make from each customer

Think outside the box

Marketing is most effective when your strategies are in line with your market’s needs. And it pays to be creative. People respond best when they are engaged by what you have to offer. Getting them to that point of deciding is most of the work and that is something our ProfitVoltaics service helps solar businesses to achieve. Discover the true power of high-profit commercial solar with SunWiz on your side, helping you do everything right in capturing commercial opportunities and growing your solar business.

This is what we cover in the rest of this series:

  1. Hitting The Commercial Solar PV Sector (this article)
  2. Targeting businesses for commercial solar
  3. Targeting the best regions for commercial solar
  4. Finding your “golden” list of prospects
  5. Reaching commercial prospects first
  6. Cutting the queue and reaching the boss
  7. Multiplying commercial customers 100 fold
  8. How optimisation improves solar business performance
  9. How much do tyre-kickers cost your business?
  10. Teaching your prospects to love your business
  11. How competing your way to the bottom ruins solar businesses
  12. Convincing commercial businesses to buy
  13. How much is $1 in profit worth?

This covers everything you need to know if you're in need of some high-profit, easy-sell customers in the commercial space.

Find out what a commercial consultation with SunWiz could do for your business

The next article in our Commercial Solar Success series is on Targeting businesses for commercial solar

Check out our report on Commercial PV Success if you're serious about the commercial sector