When it comes to generating leads and building a client base for your solar installation company, you’ve first got to make people aware your company exists. Getting out at public events–sustainability fairs, home shows, and other environmentally-focused events–does a lot to raise your company’s profile. It’s also a chance to build out your contact list of leads.
During the “awareness” stage of the buyer’s journey, people who have considered solar panels for their home, business or part of a community clean energy project understand the basic benefits to the environment and their budget, but likely lack the details. Coming to events prepared, from the way your booth looks to your strategy for collecting leads, goes a long way to raise awareness and build trust within your community.
Here are a few tips to ensure your solar panel installation company is leaving visitors with a positive impression of the work you do.
Presentation is Key
Talking to strangers at an event can be intimidating, and it’s helpful to remember that most people are initially shy when approaching an event booth. Creating a space that is friendly and inviting helps break down that barrier.
MAYO solar company advisor Kevin Eigel said his former company, Ecohouse Solar, frequently attended events. He found investing the thought, time and budget into good signage and displays was worth it.
“Booths that drew the most people in had really clear signage,” said Eigel. “Create something where they immediately get it and they know what you’re doing and can see it from far away.”
Have Staff That Know Their Stuff
Once you draw people over to your booth, you want them to feel comfortable asking questions without the pressure of buying. If they’re early in the buying process, they’re likely curious about the way it all works, from installation to tax credits.
It may seem obvious, but having well-trained booth staff who understand the products you provide and how the installation process works is essential. Lean on your sales team for booth support. They know the details and have answered hundreds of questions.
“That’s the job of sales people, to be at these events,” said Eigel.
Another booth best practice is making a great conversation with a customer stick with them once they get home. Create a physical piece–brochure, postcard or fact sheet–they can take with them. Include key pieces of the sales pitch, some frequently asked questions, and your web address. When they’re ready to take the next step toward purchase, they’ll have your information at the ready.
Be Upfront About Collecting Leads
Search the internet, and you’ll find dozens of ideas for getting people to hand over their email address at a convention, show or event. Raffles and contests might entice more people to sign up, but those leads typically aren’t serious customers.
When it comes to capturing leads, Eigel says keep it simple, and be straightforward about why you’re asking for their contact information.
“Have a clipboard with room for the person’s name, address, email and phone number,” he said. “Tell them, ‘If you want a quote, put your name down.’”
Say thank you by offering free items like pens, magnets and water bottles.
“We didn’t get a lot of names, but we did give a lot of stuff away, just something that’s got the name, phone number and website on it. Something for when they get home and to remind them of what you offer.”
Go Beyond Clean Energy Events
Eigel, who previously had a career in organic farming before starting a solar installation company, started getting the word out about Ecohouse at farmer’s markets. As your company gets started, creating relationships with like-minded community groups and events helps build good-will and trust within the community.
It’s also a great space to reach like-minded people.
“It’s a self-selecting crowd,” said Eigel. “They are already aligned with the kind of customer you want to attract.”
Have Realistic Expectations
Because many of the people you speak to are in the early stages of the buyer’s journey, they are likely going to need time before deciding on a purchase. Remember the purpose of the booth is two-fold: increased name recognition and gathering high-quality leads.
“Occasionally we’d make a sale, but that’s not why we were there,” said Eigel. “It’s about getting your name out there in the community. These people may not call you for a year, but when they’re ready, they have your card.”