6 Solar Referral Program Tips for Contractors

As a busy solar contractor, wouldn’t your life be easier if you had a large team of people that could do your sales and marketing for you? One that knew all about your products and services and was continually recruiting new members?

You already have this team: your existing customers.

But how do you get your customers to bring in more business? The answer is simple: offer the right incentives.

In addition to the overwhelming evidence that customer referrals are the most effective form of marketing, they’re the key to growing your business without spending big money on advertising.

To make 2020 your most successful year on record, here are six expert tips that will help you create and run a successful solar referral program.

1. Decide Which Incentives You Want to Offer

At the creation of your solar referral program, you need to identify precisely what you want to offer, whom you want to offer it to, and how the administrative side of the program will work.

A popular and effective method is to offer a financial reward to the referrer, meaning that every time an existing customer refers a friend or family member to your business, they are rewarded with a cash payment.

Other companies use a two-way system, meaning that there is a reward given to both the referrer and referee. Tesla, for example, awards a $250 bonus to both parties after each successful referral, creating an even more powerful incentive for existing customers to promote and recommend the company.

Ultimately, you can choose incentives that are the best fit for your business. Whether it’s a cash reward, a gift voucher, or a discount on other products and services that you offer, make sure it’s attractive to your customers—and sustainable for your company.

2. Make Your Referral Program as Simple as Possible

Just like your sales process, your solar referral program should be simple and straightforward. The system should be easy to understand and offer rewards that are attractive enough to prompt action.

Many companies use online referral links that existing customers can email to friends and family. These not only make sending a referral quick and easy, but they can also track all your referrals automatically.

In other cases, solar companies issue paper vouchers that customers can give out to family and friends, which are then presented by the referred customer during their quote.

Whatever format you decide to use, make sure that referring a friend is a pain-free exercise.

3. Create Resources, Promotional Material, and Examples

Once you’ve designed your referral program, you need the right materials and resources to create awareness and action.

Your referral program collateral can include:

  • Customized website and landing pages
  • Referral vouchers that customers receive upon installation
  • Signage for letterboxes or front yards
  • Promotional flyers for other homes in the neighborhood
  • Email and video content to educate customers about the program
  • Testimonials from previous customers who have referred friends

Remember, a referral program is only successful if people know about it. In the same way that your marketing encourages new customers to buy solar, your referral marketing should educate and incentivize your existing customers to refer their friends.

4. Design Special Programs for Larger Groups

In addition to your standard referral program, you can also design customized systems for larger groups, such as workplaces, sporting clubs, community groups, and nonprofits.

For example, you may have multiple people from a workplace or club interested in purchasing solar together, or perhaps an organization is looking to install solar on a communal building. Custom programs may take the form of pooling referral money into a group donation, using referrals to reduce the price of a communal system, or offering extra discounts to selected members.

The best part of working with larger groups is that it can be a win-win for everyone involved. For your business, they allow you to develop new relationships, reach more customers, and secure multiple installations. For the members of the group, they can benefit from extra rewards, work together to achieve a common goal, and coordinate all of their solar installations through a single company.

By working closely with the interested parties, you can develop a referral program that benefits all members of the organization and generates volume sales for your company.

5. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver

It may seem like a common-sense approach, but the best way to increase your referrals is to increase the number of people who actually want to recommend you.

Nothing will discourage recommendations more than customers who are unhappy with their solar investment. If the system malfunctions, the performance is less than expected, or the financial savings are underwhelming, your customers won’t just be reluctant to recommend you—they’ll tell their friends to avoid you altogether.

On the other hand, if your customers are impressed by your installation, staff, system performance, and financial savings, they will sing your praises to everyone they know.

If you want more referrals, you need to look after your existing customers. After all, they’re the people who will make your referral program succeed.

6. Track Your Results

Compared to other marketing channels, a solar referral program can deliver new customers for a fraction of the cost, but you still need to track and measure the results.

Whether you incorporate referrals into your accounting or CRM software—or create an entirely new database—ensure that you record every customer and pay all bonuses on time. Your customers will only continue to recommend new clients if they’re being rewarded for their efforts.

You should also track what every referral is costing you—inclusive of any advertising used in the program. With this data, you can compare the “cost per sale” to your other marketing channels and adjust your program accordingly.

Are You Ready to Supercharge Your Referrals?

After reading our tips about designing and running your referral program, you’re probably excited about working with your existing customers to expand your business. If you would like further reading and expert advice about succeeding in the solar world, visit the Solerus Energy information center.

Solerus Energy is more than a premium solar equipment supplier—we’re also a complete design, permitting, and installation partner. If you need professional help with any aspect of selling and installing solar energy systems, contact a member of our friendly team and we’ll be happy to help.

Solerus is a trusted solar energy equipment supplier, empowering contractors to develop agile solutions for commercial and residential clients. We provide a range of best-in-class solar products that are backed by an industry-leading 25-year warranty, designed to provide you with unparalleled peace of mind.

To learn more about reducing solar customer acquisition costs and the equipment you’ll need to have happy customers at a price you’ll love, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable specialists today!