Solar equipment and installations represent one of the most competitive and difficult industries a sales rep can work in. The high cost of solar systems along with the long break-even time frames can make closing deals with even the most green-minded leads a difficult task. A strong mastery of the sales process is an absolute must for rep and company success, and closing techniques are arguably the most important skill involved in that mastery. There are far too many closing techniques to discuss in a single article, but the following represent five of the most important and most powerful closes that all solar sales professionals should have honed and at the ready to maximize the likelihood a prospect will sign on the dotted line.
The Assumptive Close
The assumptive close is a favorite among reps because it’s both extremely effective and doesn’t feel like an “angle.” Assumptive closes try to wrap up a deal by assuming that deal is already done. Its primary strength is that it helps remove the potential for the prospect to waffle, but it can’t just be used at any time. For an assumptive close to be effective, your reps need to have painted a clear picture of the value the solar solution in question represents to the prospect. In addition, there must be a clear interest shown and there can’t be any major objections left unresolved. If all those conditions are met, an assumptive close helps get the prospect to “yes” as quickly as possible by skipping the question altogether.
The Sharp Angle Close
The sales process is a negotiation, and experienced prospects know that they need to ask for what they want (and, generally, even more!) The sharp angle close anticipates that bigger ask and meets it with an acceptance, but with a counter-ask in return. A common sharp angle close is to agree to a prospect’s ask on the condition that they close the deal right then and there. For instance, if a customer asks for a price break on installation, a rep could offer that break as long as the customer signs the contract for the panels and hardware in that meeting. Sharp angle closes won’t work well on prospects who are truly on the fence, but they’re extremely fast and effective deal-makers when the prospect is more or less sold and is just looking to extract as much extra value as they can.
The Take-Away Close
Human beings are psychologically programmed to feel losses more strongly than we feel gains. While no serious solar sales representative should ever try yanking a deal out from under a prospect altogether, the human aversion to loss can be used effectively when it relates to specific features. For instance, if a prospect is resistant on price and asks for a discount, rather than just offer one up a rep can have an alternate package ready with certain features removed to meet a lower price. For instance, the customer might get the discount they want but at the cost of a certain amount of energy capacity. Faced with no longer getting as much juice from the sun as they’d hoped, the customer may opt to move back up to the higher-priced package to avoid compromising on what they truly want.
The Opportunity Cost Close
At its core, the value proposition of solar power is free energy. Once the hardware has paid itself off every ounce of electricity pulled from the sun is free at a minimum, and may actually represent a profit if a lead lives in an area where excess capacity can be sold back to the grid. If a solar sales rep has done a good job of presenting that value and the opportunity it represents to a prospect, failure to buy represents a potentially significant opportunity cost. Saying no means staying a slave to the grid and the utility companies, and focusing on the missed opportunity to become energy independent can be a powerful way to close a deal.
The Trial Close
Very few sales in any industry close on the first try. Prospects inevitably have objections – especially with a large investment like a residential or commercial solar system. In many cases, those objections only truly come to light when the prospect is asked for the sale. This makes trial closes – attempts to seal the deal early in the process and with some uncertainty still in the air – a highly valuable technique. At best the prospect might just agree, significantly shortening the sales process. At worst, the prospect will open up about why they’re hesitant, providing the rep with an opportunity to address the objection and move the sale closer to its conclusion.
There are dozens of closing methods modern salespeople depend on, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. In all cases, the best way to close a deal is to offer a solution that truly solves a problem for the prospect, meets their needs, and creates a win-win for everyone involved. The best way reps can ensure they are creating a positive value proposition is by truly knowing their prospect and understanding their needs as deeply as possible – a task ideally suited to customer resource management software.
CRM systems are built on customer data and make capturing and utilizing the key information from each and every lead interaction as easy as possible. The result is that your solar sales reps will have complete situational awareness over the needs and status of each lead, enabling them to provide a more customized, personalized sales process. CRM systems also make selecting the right closing technique for the individual prospect much simpler.
CRMDialer is the solar sales industry’s number one customer resource management platform. It offers a wide range of lead management, sales, and productivity tools designed specifically to enable better customer interactions and a smoother, faster sales process. To see everything CRMDialer can do for your solar sales company, reach out to a member of the team or start your no-commitment free trial today.