Saying no to bad business, and more tips from NABCEP 2024 | Power Forward! – Solar Builder Magazine

5 minutes, 15 seconds Read

The NABCEP CE conference is a great education and networking event for solar installers. On this edition of Power Forward! Solar Builder Editor Chris Crowell discusses the most important takeaways for solar installers from the 2024 edition of the NABCEP CE event with Jordyn Dollarhide, communications and media manager with BayWa r.e.

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Watch the full 15 min chat above, or read part of the transcript below.

  • 0:50 – Vibe of the industry heading into the event
  • 1:56 – This year’s theme: Scaling your solar business
  •  2:40 – Saying no to bad business, and focusing more on quality customers
  •  5:32 – Example of ‘bad’ business
  •  7:47 – Standout comments from sessions and our conversations
  •  10:21 – Products that stood out
  •  12:05 – Final thoughts from NABCEP 2024

Crowell: BayWa r.e. was once again the Platinum sponsor [of NABCEP], and you all usually have a theme going into each event. What was the focus heading into Raleigh this year?

Dollarhide: A lot of it is around creating additional revenue channels and scaling your business in a way that makes the most sense as the market fluctuates and goes through changes especially in the residential side. So, resources is a big one for us. Providing resources for solar installers to make sure that they do have what they need to succeed and also just achieving success in general through the types of products that you’re offering but also the types of strategies that you’re enacting in your business.

Crowell: One of your sessions that I sat in on, Tiernay Marsh presented on how to say no to business. I was curious why you felt that was an important topic to present given the general weirdness of the solar marketplace right now.

Dollarhide: We host a few internal councils with some of our customers throughout the year where we get a gauge on their biggest pain points and some of the obstacles that they’re facing as they’re doing their planning process. A lot of what we were hearing was that solar installers right now, because they are trying to develop more revenue for their businesses, they find themselves potentially bringing on homeowners or customers that sometimes aren’t necessarily good for their growth.

What I mean by that is difficult homeowners, or maybe a homeowner with a home that’s not qualified for solar, and it becomes a little bit of a bottleneck for their businesses because it slows the process down. That’s where this session came from — more about saying no to bad business and saying yes to customers that are good for your growth and that will bring additional value to your solar installation business.

That ties in to our other session that we hosted as well. Tiernay and I did a session around the post installation experience process and creating a stronger referral network through the use of social media and digital marketing platforms but also presenting more solutions to homeowners after the installation process is complete.

Maybe you do an install for a customer and they want to add an EV or electric vehicle in a few years, but they’re not necessarily ready to do that now. That’s an opportunity for you to come back to that homeowner at a later time and offer that product to them as preparation for when they do get that vehicle. So … building more quality relationships rather than the quantity and potentially bring on homeowners that create a little bit more of challenge for a business.

Crowell: That makes sense. Say no to those customers that are leading you down a bad path, or are going to be too difficult, even though, right now, you might want to say yes to anything if it’s coming in the door. But by saying yes to the right customers, you then have the opportunity to expand your business further with additional revenue down the road. It’s a long-term play to saying yes to more business by saying no to the wrong business.

Dollarhide: One of the examples that we gave was actually one from my experience in resi solar. More often than what I would have thought, we had customers that had a great south-facing roof but they didn’t want their panels on the south-facing roof. They wanted it on other sides of their roof. Our sales reps and our account managers would explain to them, ‘hey, if you don’t install these panels on this side of the roof, your production isn’t going to be at 100%. You’re probably going to be looking at like that 80 to 85% production range. The customers would insist that was okay.  Well, lo and behold, we get to the post-install process, and they’re upset that they’re not at the 100% production.

Crowell: That was a pretty lively session. There was a lot of engagement with the installers in the crowd. Was there anything that stood out to you either in that session or the other session, or a conversation you had that has stuck with you?

Dollarhide: After the session on the post-installation experience, we had a lot of people come up to us afterwards and expressed that they had a lot of challenges with building those positive relationships after the installation was complete. So, I built a referral process for a company a while back, and that was what I presented on. And people came up to me afterwards saying this is something that my business has been missing, or I haven’t really known that this was an opportunity for us to capitalize on.

A big part of that session was just showing the opportunities of when you can offer these products at the most opportune time, rather than just kind of offering them all right out the gate at once and having the customer be a little bit apprehensive about it.

Pick up the conversation right there:

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Our most popular series include:

Power Forward! | A collaboration with BayWa r.e. to discuss higher level industry topics.
The Buzz | Where we give our 2 cents per kWh on the residential solar market.
The Pitch | Discussions with solar manufacturers about their new technology and ideas.

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