We love to give solar thermal marketing advice at Free Hot Water. We’re a manufacturer and a distributor of solar hot water equipment, so our job isn’t to sell solar thermal jobs, but to support our installers with engineering, equipment, and marketing.
So, your success is our success, and right now, we’re anxious to see solar thermal grow as fast as solar PV has grown. So here are 3 tips that you can use to sell some solar thermal commercial jobs.
1) Go to events where your customers are. And by customers, I mean your apartment building owners, hospital administrators, Laundromat owners, hotel owners, nursing home owners, and all of the other businesses that use a lot of hot water. And where are they?
They’re at their own trade shows, talking about their challenges. Solar thermal is a solution for all of the above businesses. Invest in a booth at their respective trade shows and perhaps even participate in a panel discussion about plumbing, energy efficiency, etc. You’ll be seen as an authority and owners will want more information from you.
2) Do a case study for each of the above market segments. Yes, every solar thermal job is different. (That being said, there are some that are right for pre-engineered commercial systems too.) So, you’ll have to mention in your case study how usage, utility prices, state rebates, existing pipes, different solar collectors and tanks can all make prices go up or down. Nevertheless, show the incentives applied, and perhaps give a range of prices. Do this for a hotel with so many rooms, for example, and an apartment with so many units, etc. A case study for each segment. If you have some type of financing to go along with it, mention that too.
Once put together in a PDF, offer these case studies to prospects by making them available on your web page or as a free download. Don’t hide them! Have a “case study” link to them on your website’s home page.
3) Offer prospects a tour of a similar business that you’ve done. By now, you have happy commercial solar water heating customers, right? You’re a Free Hot Water installer, so of course you do. See if you can’t strike up some kind of co-marketing arrangement to have a tour of the finished installation with new prospects.
People respond to examples. This is an excellent touch-feel moment, where you can not only explain how solar thermal works, but also show it working, while answering real time-live questions.
Bonus, you could even have someone videotape the tour and then post this very visual, educational (edited) video on your website and on YouTube.
What’s in it for the existing customer? Marketing and branding, for one. Second, you can offer some kind of referral fee on any closed sale. Up to you how much you want to give, but that fee should be worked into your margins.
Solar thermal works. If you’re a Certified Free Hot Water solar pro, you know that. But we have to continue to get the word out to everyone else. Here are three tips to help do that, and we sincerely hope you’ll use them.
In other words, do your research. Too many people just go blundering in without thinking when it needs to be horses for courses.