How to get the Best Deal on Solar in San Diego without it Being Awkward?
Going Solar, traditionally, has been an awkward event. You start you search online or at a tradeshow, you identify a few installers you would like to interview and then invite them into your home. Here are 6 quick tips on how to negotiate the best deal for solar in San Diego.
How Solar Salespeople are trained
I was part of a major sales organization for 3 years and sat through I can’t tell you how many weekly meetings, quarterly sales conferences, and annual sales award ceremonies where executives harped on how to maximize one call closes. The reality is, if a salesman comes to you home, makes a sale, and walks away with a clean contract for the crew to install their hard costs go down. If they have to make multiple visits, show you homes they have installed on in your neighborhood or answer lengthy emails or phone calls that takes away from pursuing new opportunities. Many solar sales representatives are trained to stay in your home 1.5 hours before they “pass price” on your system. After they have talked about your dog, their dog, your kids, their kids, how great their company is, how great their panels are, how much people love them, how they are the number 1 company, then they pass price. At some point, they may even get up to call their manager where they try to work on your behalf to offer a first time visit discount, further wanting you to sign on spot.
These tactics don’t work to your advantage and the salesman knows that. They are looking for signs of impulse and how to create an edge for themselves.
Here are some tips to help you along the way if you are polite, passive person, but want to get the best deal.
6 Quick Tips
- Get a Price Range Upfront, Protect your time. If you meet someone at a tradeshow or are researching online, call the company solar company in San Diego and ask what their average price per watt is. If they say, well that depends on your home, tell them about your home, how many stories, what type of shingle, amperage on the main service panel and direction of the roof. Then ask for a their average cost per watt. If they can’t answer the question (because they can, all companies know this answer) then don’t waste your time.
- Set Time Parameters for the call. When a salesman shows up at your door, invite them in and let them know that you have an obligation 30 minutes from now, ask them if that will be enough time to get through the material. My philosophy here is that if you can’t make your pitch in 30 minutes, your pitch needs refinement, and that’s not happening on my time. If they say no, then you can bet they have a long presentation they want to unfold on you and you don’t want that. If they say no problem, I can go as fast as you like, then you can “open” your schedule as much as possible to accommodate them as it fits your needs. Solar salespeople in San Diego are taught that the longer they can spend with you, the more opportunity to build rapport and increase the probability of a one call close. Solar is a commodity, kilowatts are being sold…think transaction, not recurring revenue stream.
- Keep your cards close. Every salesman will want to know who you have received bids from. It is a tight niche industry where people know each other’s prices and contractors will often fluctuate price based on who is bidding in the room. If it is a traditionally high bidder, then you will get a bid just under the first contractors. If it is a well-known low bidder, then you will get a low bid and a flurry of well-aimed punches at why you are better than the opposition. Tell every salesman that they are the first bid, but you plan researching more. This will give you a couple advantages: 1) you let them know upfront that you will be getting other bids so that limits opportunities for them to try to 1 call close you-protecting your time. 2) If you really like the contractor and want to move forward, you can go get your other bids and see if they can tighten up their pricing.
- Ask the Hard Question. As polite and nonchalant as you can toward the end of your conversation. Lower your guard and have a very intimate moment with your representative. Acknowledge that you are very impressed with their knowledge base and their offering. Then ask the question, “is this your best and final offer?” In solar, you have to be your own agent. Asks the representative straight up, is this “your best and final offer?” At this point don’t listen, but read their body language. If they don’t hesitate or shift, then you hit their bottom. If they do, there is room to move on price. The hands will tell the story…lots of movement, lots of room to move.
- Walk them out to the car and the Final Question. Now we will test the question “Is this your best and final offer?” You final question to them as you walk them to their car. Your conversation should go something like, “you know Joe, I really appreciate your time and being such a professional. I hope all the other consultants are as knowledgeable as you. You have really been great and I hope your kid does well on his test and your dog Sparky is going well. I would really like to do business with you, but…If I come across a bid that is lower than yours, and at the end of the day it’s dollar and cents, can I feel comfortable reaching back out to you?” Again, watch the body language here and wait for the response. If the rep says, oh we will beat anybody’s bid, then they have misled you on question #4. My guess is they come back with a canned answer like; I can always talk to my manager and see what I can do. A successful solar salesperson would take a look around the neighborhood, see a bunch of empty rooftops with no solar and similar electric bills. I would point that out to the homeowner and say that we would be willing to work with the right partner. Meaning, can I put a sign in your yard, will you host a solar home party, and will you be a brand ambassador in your neighborhood? At this point I would mention my companies referral fee and how they could further sharpen their payback in a win-win-win situation.
- Save Time and Money Upfront, use an online resource. The best advice I could give in this scenario is logging onto BeatMySolarBid which specializes in introducing low cost best in class solar contractors in San Diego with homeowners. What this site will let you do is avoid all the awkwardness and get right down to the best price from the best contractors straight way. You upload your address and electric bill details and bids are sent right to your email, contact or message whom you want to speak with . If you have a couple of bids and are ready to move forward on one, simply post those bids online and the same group of contractors will work to offer a better service/value/price to you all online. No in home visits, no awkward sales calls. All bids are delivered to you via their secure server and you are prompted by an email notification that your bids are ready. Save time, save money, save hassle. The best part is, the service is free. We only work with the best of the best contractors.
If you have any questions or comments on this post or would like some free help evaluating solar bids in San Diego. Please email me, email@example.com and I will be happy to help.