Australia's best solar sales coach now available 24-7

The complaint I most commonly hear from solar business operators is how difficult it is to make a reasonable profit on a sale. That it's a race to the bottom, and its cut-throat. I see evidence of this everywhere, and just wish I could wave my magic wand and help hard-working businesses earn what they truly deserve

At the same time, some of the companies I assist are amazingly profitable and rapidly growing. They're not competing on price whatsoever and regularly exceed 30% GP on a sale.

Looking across my client-base, I've recently analysed what makes the difference between a high-profit company and one that has to compete on price. (And I'll soon implement services in a select group of businesses that build up a perpetual growth high-profit sales pipeline - let me know if you're interested in being involved.)

But perhaps the simplest way for any solar company to improve its profitability is to master selling solar power systems. Essentially, a good solar salesperson should be able to close more deals at a higher price than a regular solar salesperson (who has to cut prices to stand a chance of winning work).

Part of mastering selling solar is the simple fundamentals of mastering sales (whether that be solar sales or selling any other product or service). And there's plenty of resources (books, courses etc) that can help in that department.

But selling solar power is a specific skill, as essentially you're simultaneously selling an improvement in the cost-of-living, financial instrument (payback), a commodity (electricity), improved lifestyle (carefree air-conditioning), and an environmental benefit (feel-good). 

For quite a few years, I've been presenting to audiences alongside one of Australia's best sales coach. In that time, I've witnessed Dean Mannix evolve from an amazing sales coach into someone who really know's how to apply sales fundamentals to the specialised skill of solar sales. I'd even go so far as to say "Dean Mannix is Australia's best solar sales coach". And while we reached hundreds of people on roadshows, we simply couldn't reach every corner of the country. Plus, this material takes a few cycles of learn-apply-review (repeat) for it to sink in, with each cycle delivering incremental improvements to sales.

That's why I'm thrilled that Dean Mannix has now made his sales package available to everyone in the country, 24-7. You can watch it in the comfort of your own office, again and again, whenever you need.

To summarise what Dean will show you, in a single line:

If you’re sick of losing quotes on price… ... I'll show you how to win on quality!"

Learn how to sell solar profitably with Dean Mannix, now

 

Changes to Vic Solar Homes rebate brings much needed relief - but (how long) will it last?

After months of uncertainty, it looks like Victoria’s solar industry can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief, with the introduction of a ‘more rebates, more often’ approach that should help return stability to the market.

For those companies that managed to pull through the months of turmoil, they can now get back to the important work of bringing the state’s electricity system into the modern era.

The government’s policy shift is undoubtedly a direct result of the increasing pressure it was under from industry, led by fierce and vocal efforts from the Clean Energy Council, Smart Energy Council, Solar Cutters and countless other organisations & individuals.

Interestingly, the government has decided to double down on its commitment, allocating a larger budget and a greater number of overall incentive slots to the program, plus greater safeguards for safety. 

But will it fix the problem for good? Let’s have a look.

What’s changed with the Solar Homes package?

Here are the key changes to the Solar Homes program that the government has brought in:

  1. An extra 23,000 rebates have been made available this financial year.

  2. Rebates will be released on the first and third Monday of each month, smoothing demand more evenly across the month

  3. The number of rebates has increased from 3,333/month to 6,500/month in October and November, and 5,000/month from then on (except for January - always a slow month anyway - which is only 4,000). September's release will be boosted to 9,750, forward loaded into the first fortnight in order to release built-up pressure.

  4. The value of each rebate (~$2,250) will remain at the current level until 1st January 2020, when it was previously set to reduce anyway. That reduction is likely to drive a surge in demand in November and December

  5. Solar retailers will be able to upload complete quotes at any time, normalising their workflow.

  6. The web portal will be streamlined, and controversial aspects of the scheme including facial recognition will be removed later in the year

  7. An increase in the number of post-installation audits to ensure quality & safety of jobs undertaken under the scheme

  8. A business mentoring program conducted by Small Business Victoria to be introduced

First reaction: Now will there be enough rebates to go around?

Read on to find out why you shouldn't break out the (expensive) champagne just yet.

Read more: Victorian Solar's Sigh of Relief - how long will it last?

August has smashed last month’s record for the amount of time it took Victoria’s Solar Rebate slots to run out. Three days? How about two hours?

Already at a crisis level, the rebate scheme has now entered nightmare territory, with solar installers across the state – already hurting – forced to sit out another month without sales.

Nigel Morris has presented some excellent analysis of the numbers put forward by Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan in this week’s Solar Insiders podcast.

 

As he pointed out, in July only about half the 660 solar companies that uploaded quotes to the Solar Victoria platform were able to get one or more rebates approved.

Even among those who did manage to get a win, the number of rebates approved just isn’t enough to keep a business afloat, particularly after 2+ months of negligible sales at the end of the last financial year.

August must feel even worse.

It’s time to right this ship before it sinks.

Let’s be very clear. The Victorian government has severely misjudged demand for the rebate. You could almost forgive the government for the mess we’re currently in, as their intentions were good and it is admittedly extraordinarily difficult to get incentives right.

But it’s not like we haven’t been here before. Time and time again – both locally and internationally – government subsidies have either been too small to make a difference, or too large and therefore blow out a budget, with their subsequent removal leaving a crater.

What’s more, with even just a cursory look at the numbers, it’s not hard to see that the parameters were out of whack from the start: Rebate undersupply occurred in the first year of the program, where 32,000 rebates were delivered in 8 months (roughly 4,000/month).

Victorian Solar Homes rebate brings back the stop-start 'solar coaster'

 
The Victorian government seems to have inadvertently resurrected Australia's solar coaster with its Solar Homes program, bringing back memories of feed-in tariff & STC multiplier application deadlines of yore.
 
Since coming into effect in July of last year, the Solar Homes rebate has helped to propel Victoria to an unprecedented position at the top of of the charts; historically, the state has had one of the slowest rates of solar uptake.
 
But as with many incentives, it's all fun and games until a deadline approaches or the funds/allotment run out. (Although we can also point out that - at least since the Abbott years - the steadily reducing but long-standing STC discount available through the national RET has been a great example of how an incentive can even-handedly support a market rather than engendering unnecessary volatility.)
 
For the Victorian Solar Homes scheme, the solar coaster reared its head for the first time in April 2019, when the rebates were exhausted for the financial year. This left a months long window with 'no oxygen' for installers in the state as many homes held out on purchasing a system until the program reopened in July - with interest-free loans and new incentives for home batteries & solar hot water systems.

How SunWiz has seen it

Charts below show just how dramatically the Solar Homes Package has impacted the Victorian solar market.
 
Chart 1 below shows the quote volume (in kilowatts) put through SunWiz's PVSell software for residential systems in select states relative to the same volume 12 months prior, making it a fairly accurate bellwether for consumer interest in solar. 
 
Editor: note we have identified a large part in the growth shown is due to rapid PVsell uptake. The chart below is smoothed and normalised, showing the average weekly residential capacity of our larger users. The growth is not quite as astronomical, but certainly shows the sales imperative created by the re-opening of the Rebate.
 
For many weeks from when the Solar Homes Package v1.0 came into effect in August, quote volumes were up by 150%. The clear exceptions are a) the Christmas holiday period and b) the weeks following the temporary closure of the scheme in April. Business started to pick back up again in late June as consumers readied themselves for its reopening - with a massive spike at the end of the month (300% over the previous year's volume for that week).
 
Chart 2 below shows the anticlimax of that moment, with the month's allotment of solar PV rebates running out in just three days. Under the new version of the Solar Homes Package (which was rejigged following April's chaos), the next round will be released at the beginning of each month. This means that customers and installers alike will once again have to hold their breath until 1 August.
 
 
 
While the Victorian energy minister has pointed out that rebates for renters, solar hot water and battery storage (in select post code areas) still remain, rebates for solar PV were by far the most popular - owing largely to the fact that PV systems are already mainstream, affordable and a good investment for most households even without the additional subsidy.
 
And Chart 3 shows the impact of the slowdown. It depicts the capacity of residential (sub-10kW) systems that registered STCs only in the first 24 days of each month (So we can show you a reliable comparison mid-way through July). You can see whereas all other states are on path to growth in July Some smoothing occurs due to a lag between installation and certificate registration, so most of the July registration will be from prior months' installations, so it will be interesting to see how the data pans out in coming weeks. 
 
 

How SunWiz can help

SunWiz has addressed Victorian solar retailers needs by developing services that will generate extra sales in this otherwise quiet time. We can help you generate business in system upgrades, battery additions, commercial sales, plus capture more of the available VSR rebates. Please contact warwick@sunwiz.com.au for more information.
Page 1 of 17
Join our newsletter!
Please wait