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Solar makes a big mistake marketing to just men

solar marketing to men only a mistakeYou’ve heard this before:  A woman goes to buy a new car with her husband, and the sales guy spends the entire time speaking to the guy instead of the girl. Maybe the only question asked of her is what color she likes.

Same with solar.  Almost universally discussed in living rooms instead of showrooms, solar salespeople provide most criteria to cater to the values of men: watts, manufacturing processes, innovations. This is a mistake, and represents a huge missed opportunity for many large solar companies.

The reason is simple: Solar isn’t a big expensive purchase anymore.  It’s not a fancy, high-priced gadget like a plasma TV or a new Ducati. While these are the types of purchases that are assumed to fall into the man’s wheelhouse, statistics show that women still have the final say.

Solar isn’t an expensive purchase anymore because more customers lease their solar systems, or purchase electricity through a power purchase agreement. At One Block Off the Grid, 90% of customers fall into this category. See an excellent piece, including a webinar, that their VP of Marketing did on women and solar.

Since these leases and PPAs are usually a “zero-down,” sort of deal, it’s more about monthly savings than it is about a big pricey gadget.  Statistics have shown that when you’re talking monthly utility savings, now your in the woman’s wheelhouse, not the man’s.  A study at prudential shows that 95% of women are the financial decision-makers in their households. Many of these decisions concern monthly expenditures.

Of all the solar companies that I have met (and I have met many), the most successful selling organizations are the ones that require their salespeople to make sure both decision makers in the home are present during the presentation.  This way, you get to show both parties that this is about immediate monthly savings that you get for purchasing cleaner electricity, and not a high price tech toy that doesn’t get “approved.”

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We need better solar champions

Dave pleas for a new national solar dialogue in a well written jaunt this morning. We need Oprah, Sarah Palin, or Jim Cramer to spread the word. Click here to see why.

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