Solar Panel Beating

Building on yesterday’s observations about divulging price, by coincidence I also just heard a solar panel rep (hailing from alongside the River Nene on the Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire border apparently), when asked by talk radio host Nicky Campbell how much for a typical residential property, try and avoid saying a number for as long as possible.

Six years he’d been selling solar.

He’d started when challenged with a joke about how “well, it’s terrible at night, doesn’t work at all then”. Before carrying on the bonhomie with how he could ‘do you a deal’. Only at the third time of asking did he splutter, “somewhere between five and ten thousand”.

Whoa! How much?!

As a big fan of sustainable thinking, I felt this response let me down.

When most salespeople are asked pricing that first time, they tend to waffle. Avoid admitting the price for as long as possible seems the policy.

How to position your price when first asked for an off-the-cuff, ball-park figure is a notoriously tricky job for the solution salesperson. There are just so many variables, right?

I was taken back to my early cub rep days.

I saw a colleague slaving over a huge tender response. It had to be filled in to the precise format of the buyer. That included a box on the cover page. In it you had to insert your price. Crazy. Especially when the solution could be wildly different in scope and change through all sorts of yet-to-emerge preferences.

Now, we’re talking relatively big ticket items here, where options tend to be plentiful. So I usually answer myself with a short, sharp line that mentions this. Something like;

It depends on the size of the situation you want to improve of course, your cloth can be cut many different ways…

Then I say the price. But never one price. If there is a sliding scale, say by size or from starter pack to full monty solution, the range is a winner. So in the solar guy’s world, he’d likely think up something akin to;

You could get cracking saving today on energy bills forever with a quickstart plan for just five thousand or save even more with our best system for around ten thousand

But this can do with refining too.

He mentioned the price tag. In its full amount as written on the box. You should never do this in his game.

He should rather quote a monthly equivalent.

And that amount should compare favourably with the average household energy bill.

…you can be up and running today from anywhere in the range from fifty quid to a hundred a month

If I knew the figures he works to in terms of Returns, I’d improve this. In an ideal world – and I’m aware from a friend that’s just installed solar of the 15 year payback these things currently have which through innovation is dropping by the minute – you’d like to use the cost-neutral pitch. Meaning you simply switch the money going to energy bills to your new panels and after a while actually stop paying all together. Similar to many an RoI pitch.

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