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Case study: EnergySage solar installers share what they’ve learned during the coronavirus pandemic

The new reality of ‘remote selling’ is driving solar companies across the country to reevaluate their sales efforts and how they engage with potential customers. Consumer shopping behavior is changing quickly and is shifting to online platforms faster than ever as COVID-19 challenges traditional sales channels.

Recently, we spoke with three installation companies in our network to learn more about how installers are responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Our case study, “Advice from the field,” shares takeaways from their experiences thus far. Whether you’re an installer in search of advice or a homeowner curious to understand what installation companies are doing differently, this case study reveals what some installers have done to adapt, and why they’re positively approaching the situation as an opportunity to grow.

Below are a few highlights from our conversations with:

What are you doing to help customers feel comfortable shopping for solar and moving forward with installations?

Omar, Treepublic: Of course we’re informing homeowners that we’ll be wearing masks and gloves, as well as maintaining a clear access point to their front door to ensure they have the access they need and no interaction with us. Financing is another major theme we’re tackling right now.

Mark, Lumina Solar: We’re meeting virtually with customers and continuing to emphasize that it’s still a great time to go solar. With so many companies and industries completely pausing, I guess it can be people’s default reaction that everything is pausing. That’s another hurdle to jump – telling people we’re fully operational and that now is a great time to go solar.

Charlie, Altair Solar: Financing is the big thing. We tell customers, “Hey, you’re going to pay your utility bill regardless, whether you have solar or not and regardless of the COVID-19 situation.” Even if you don’t have cash to do it, there are great loan options. We try to help them understand that they have options when it comes to financing.

How has your company been leveraging technology differently?

Omar, Treepublic: We’re using tech to speed up proposals and digitize as much of the admin work as possible.

Mark, Lumina Solar: One thing we were worried about regarding meeting remotely – it kind of takes away the opportunity for personal connection like you’d have when actually face-to-face, but we’ve noticed more of a connection with the customer… So there’s still an opportunity for that personal connection, which we weren’t expecting and have been really pleased with.

Charlie, Altair Solar: A lot of the deals I’ve sold lately, I have not even met the person face-to-face, everything was done over the phone, over email, or via video chat.

What, if any, positives do you see coming out of this pandemic for your company and the industry?

Omar, Treepublic: I think there’s going to be a boom for the industry. People will realize we can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing and that we must go towards cleantech.

Mark, Lumina Solar: We’re super proud of the whole team. Our reps really adapted quickly with selling virtually. Our installers continue to remain positive. I think coming out of this we’ll be a tighter team, and I think you can say the same for the industry.

Charlie, Altair Solar: I think the increase in digital sales is great, and I’m completely on board, though I think there’s a mix of opinions about it. A couple of our sales guys still like to go out there and meet the homeowner face-to-face. I guess it really depends on the sales person’s style. But overall, I think I think it’s a good idea. If we can spend less time in the car and more time engaging the customer, that’s definitely a plus.

Learn more in our COVID case study

For the complete conversation with Omar, Mark, and Charlie, download the case study below. If you’re a homeowner interested in installing solar panels, now is an ideal time to start shopping. See how much solar can save you by using our online Solar Calculator, and register to receive custom quotes from local installers (for free!) on EnergySage.


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