Solar panels have a lot to offer homeowners in addition to responsibility for the environment.
If you’re marketing a product or service that the public already has a firm opinion of, you need to get creative.
The solar panel industry is a perfect example of this. Despite the generous energy and cost savings that solar panels bring to homeowners, it is still believed that solar panels are only suitable for most environmentalists. And while it’s true that many Gung-Ho environmentalists use solar energy, it’s also true that solar panels make sense for all types of homeowners, not just those for whom preventing climate change is a primary concern. In fact, the main reason homeowners should consider them is the proactive way of relying on themselves rather than the grid. This creates opportunities to save electricity costs, avoid power outages and even charge electric cars.
One person well versed in this anti-perception marketing issue is Jayson Waller, founder and CEO of POWERHOME Solar, a provider of solar panel installation and energy efficiency services in 11 states.
Its business has seen a boom recently as the federal government last December renewed the federal solar tax credit, which grants a 26% tax credit to eligible homeowners who install solar panels.
How can a company break through very noisy existing messaging? According to Waller, it’s about identifying weak points before the product or service discussion even begins. Here are his top tips for any business facing a perceptual message that is different from their value proposition:
Don’t enter an answer with a question. When the public is inundated with news that is not relevant to the challenges your customers are currently facing, ask about their problems first instead of talking about your solution, and here is why. Nobody will hear what your product or service can offer until they realize how much they need! Ask them to guide you through their journey, paying attention to the factors of their life or business so that you can be a real solution to them along the way.
Press to hear their pain points. They may not even know what they are until you point them out. For example, we ask our customers if they are tired of power outages. While this sounds like a rhetorical question, it takes them to one of our value propositions that they may be unfamiliar with, by first identifying their pain point. Move on to questions leading to “Pain” to say how your offering will help. We’ll also ask how they can pay an even higher electricity bill if they have to switch to an electric car and then charge it in their garage. Pain points are not always in front and in the middle. Therefore, you can ask questions to bring her to the top of the conversation. This is how you can overcome the initial perception when it is different from solving your pain points.
Education and Value Creation. The reason this tip sounds familiar is because it’s basic to everyone in sales and marketing, but too often forgotten. Steamrolling who you are and what you do before you take the time to find out what the customer knows or thinks they know doesn’t lead to success. When it comes to acknowledging their false or incomplete perception, it is important to address them with respect and quickly remove them from the table. Remember, it’s in the public eye for a reason. If there is some truth in their picture of what your product does or how it can help, then you agree with them. When you do, you become a member and this paves the way for the messages you need to communicate to finally close the deal!
In today’s world, news is everywhere and it won’t always be to your benefit. The key is knowing what is out there so that you can tackle it head on and make room for the solution you are offering.