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Compelling solar sales pitches: storytelling and social proof

Posted by Conlan O'Leary on Oct 24, 2018 11:11:51 AM
Conlan O'Leary

In part one of our series on boosting your solar sales using the science of decision-making, we looked at two key concepts: single option aversion and the decoy effect.

Together, these two principles can help you close more deals by presenting options designed to facilitate confident buying decisions.

This time around, we’re going to discuss storytelling and social proof--two more science-backed concepts that can have a meaningful impact on your close rate. We’ll dig into what makes these techniques so effective and how you can leverage storytelling and social proof as part of a repeatable sales pitch.

storytelling

The science behind storytelling

No matter how much we’d like to think that we make decisions based on rational analysis, the truth is that human brain loves a good story.

Decision science and psychology research shows that narratives are processed by the brain in fundamentally different ways than facts or numbers. They make a stronger and more memorable impression and they activate the emotional centers of our brain that inspire action and motivate buying decisions.

That’s why case studies can boost your solar sales. What’s more likely to make a customer feel like saying “yes” to going solar?

  • Fact: “If you look at this chart, you’ll see that we project net electricity bill savings of approximately 30%.”  
  • Story: “A homeowner right down the street was sick of rising utility rates, so she finally made the call to go solar and saved 30% from day one. It was enough to cover the lease payment on a car for her 17 year old son!”

That’s not to say those bar charts and detailed savings estimates aren’t important - they’re essential to a good solar pitch, and we’ve built our MyProposal solar proposal software to make it easy to convey that information.

But more often than not, it will be the good feelings and connection evoked by the story presented in your solar pitch, and not the raw math, that ultimately closes the deal.

Stories that scale: building effective case studies

Like any good story, an effective case study should have a strong narrative including a beginning, a middle, and an ending that clearly demonstrates your value proposition.

MyProposal lays out your solar proposal like a story by default: starting with total dependence on your utility, moving on to the decision to go solar, and concluding with a new, lower electricity bill (potentially including loan or lease payments).

But to really hit home, a compelling story needs a relatable character. In solar sales, that is typically another customer that your solar prospect can connect with on an emotional level.

By using your own experiences and tapping into the collective experiences of your sales team, your company can develop a set of case studies full of relatable anecdotes for a wide range of customer types.

Some common examples from residential solar sales might include:

  • A retiree on a fixed income concerned about the upfront cost of solar
  • An enthusiastic spouse trying to convince a solar-skeptical partner
  • A young family considering moving in the next 5 years
  • The neighborhood’s best gardener with a shading issue from their favorite tree

 solarcustomers_retired

The key is to organize all of those case studies into simple, compelling stories that your team can easily leverage during the solar sales process.

That’s where Sighten’s MyProposal tool comes in. By developing a variety of case studies that you can include in different proposal templates, your team will have quick and efficient access to the right stories and be able to share them where they matter most: at the point of sale.

And when your sales team can share stories that resonate with every audience, your close rate will benefit.

The story of social proof

Even if your prospect is interested in going solar after reviewing a compelling and highly-relatable case study, you usually still have work to do to close the sale.

For many people, going solar may still seem risky and unknown. It’s a big investment in a technology that may seem new to them and that changes how they access a core necessity of modern life.

One of the most effective tools for providing the necessary reassurance is a different type of narrative: social proof.

Humans are social animals, so we tend to look to the group to determine how to act, especially when deciding what seems safe and what seems risky.

You use this principle all the time. For example, if you go out for dinner, which restaurant would you choose?

Restaurant A: It’s busy even at 6 PM and has over 500 reviews and 4 stars on Yelp.
Restaurant B: One customer drinking a Coke by himself and not even listed on Yelp.

You probably already use social proof in your solar sales as well. For example, you might tell a potential solar customer that there are nearly 2 million solar installations in America - or help them decide on a specific solar panel by telling them which brand is your bestseller.

To get an edge over your the competition, however, you can and should go further with this technique. In particular, you can use social proof to establish confidence that your company is the right choice for going solar.

Here’s what you can share to help showcase why your company is a great choice:

  • Total number of solar installs completed by your company
  • Regional or national rankings
  • Local projects and references
  • Online reviews (Yelp, Google, Facebook)
  • Number of employees based in the community
yelp

Social proof points like these will create the confidence and assurance needed for a homeowner to make a significant buying decision like going solar.

MyProposal can help you here, too. You can easily create a proposal template page to cover key points about your company - a short story about the company’s history or mission combined with a list of social proof like number of installs or Yelp ranking.

You can even create templates that are tailored to the specific region, state, city, or town where your prospect lives to make it really hit home.

Telling your solar story with Sighten

You rely on stories and social proof to make decisions in your daily life, so why not be proactive and intentional about how you use these principles in your solar sales process?

With Sighten’s solar proposal software, you can make it easy for your sales team to integrate stories, case studies, and social proof examples seamlessly into every pitch.

Here at Sighten, our story has been about empowering solar pros just like you with software that helps you tell your story and grow your business. If you’d like to learn more about MyProposal or any Sighten feature, reach out to info@sighten.io!

Topics: Solar Software, Solar Financing, Solar Proposal, Tips