Ever felt simultaneously proud and humble? That’s what I’m feeling today. This week, PVsell clients entered the 100,000th project into our software, and I’m proud of the impact we’ve had in the solar industry, and at the same time I’m humbled by all of the endorsement we’ve received from leading solar businesses.
Back in 2015, I was wondering whether I should take PVsell to the next level. I was hesitant to invest so much money (and if I’d have been even more hesitant if I’d known how much money it would ultimately take), but I felt somewhat reassured by the uptake PVsell had already had in its earlier form. Back then I was stoked that we’d served 7000 projects over the space of three years…. and now our usage has gone up 15-fold.
Now we’ve reached 100,000 projects. 4.7GW of projects have been put through our software. And that’s largely been commercial solar, a sector where we reached a massive market share. We’re now making massive gains in residential solar, with an unbeatable value proposition – to the point where some leading solar businesses use PVsell for each and every of their 250+ customers per month.
So I’m taking a moment to reflect upon some lessons learned. (These apply to software but they also apply to business more broadly)
Positively impacting your customer’s life/business is paramount
Ultimately, if you can deliver customers them more of what they want (sales), free up their most valuable commodity (time), and make their lives easier, then you’ll have customers that refer you to everyone they meet. If you’re selling a solar power system, focus upon the improvement to customers lives, and what they could do with the money they’ve saved.
Deliver a multiple of a customers investment
People will only pay for something if the benefit delivered is a multiple of their investment. We’ve always said “PVsell pays for itself in a single sale, and over and over again”. What stands PVsell apart is that it actually wins work, by standing its users apart from the competition. Why would customers spend money on something cheaper if it doesn’t work nearly as well in delivering them what they ultimately want (sales & profit)? If you’re selling a solar power system, selling a higher-priced system is easy if you can show all the ways you can save the customer more money.
Don’t be the cheapest, be the best value
We firmly believe that being the best value option is better than being the cheapest. Cheap is nasty. Cheap cuts corners. Cheap doesn’t get you any support when things go wrong. Competing on value is much better for business, and funds the ability to do a great job. It also opens the door to premium services for discerning customers.
Service the successful companies, and help new customers become successful
PVsell can multiply the conversion rate of a decent salesperson, and unleash the potential of sales gurus. But not everyone sees the value in PVsell – companies that lie to their customers don’t like PVsell’s truth, but those companies don’t last anyway. Our software educates and arms salespeople who value long-term success, and so helps solar companies to successfully grow.
Customer support delivers customer loyalty and referrals
Ever been frustrated by a call centre? Are you more likely to do business with that company, or the company that helps you in your time of need? We’ve helped our customers with their proposals when they’ve only got an hour before deadline. We’ve helped our customers sell – we’ve even jumped on the phone to our customer’s prospective customer. It’s little wonder PVsell customers rave about our customer support – and that makes the next sale that much easier. Investing in customer support has a far better ROI than investing in marketing.
I’m not alone in having more than 10 years experience in running a solar business. Cheers to all the pioneers and veterans out there! I’m keen to hear the wisdom you’ve gained over the years – please send me your story.
Before I go, let me take a moment to thank all of my customers, colleagues, and especially my team. To all of you, I feel deeply grateful! Thank you for your part in our success.