Its Russell French from Energetic Consulting. Today, I want to…
Hi, it’s Russell French from Energetic Consulting. Today’s topic that I’m going to present to you is – How do you carve out your niche in the solar industry?
Let’s face it, it’s a really busy industry. It’s very noisy, it’s very competitive. And it’s actually can be really hard to look different. So let us help you.
Recently, in our Art of Differentiation article and video, I discussed a little bit about how to look different via your customer value proposition and your unique selling proposition. But today, we’re going to go a little bit deeper into what niche you sit in. And hopefully own!
Let’s face it, we all feel overwhelmed at times. I feel overwhelmed at times trying to provide relevant content to our customers and clients, and to the solar industry. But there are some key things that we can do to hone in on what our niche is. To really target that, so we actually get the conversions that we’re looking for with our sales and actually make a difference in our industry.
Here are three big ideas to hone in on what your niche is.
1. Research your competitors.
There are many businesses that I coach and speak to that actually haven’t done any market research. And all they’re doing is running on the spot in their own business, just trying to provide a great service without actually having researched the industry.
So step number one, instead of blindly going forward and doing what you think is right, why don’t you have a look at what other businesses are doing and see where is there a gap. What are their services, and can you improve upon that 10x?
That’s kind of like the golden rule, right. Either 10x improve what a company is currently doing, or find a gap. And then you’ve got a business!
Have a look at what that business is doing. Are they doing data monitoring? Could do it better with a better system and a better approach?
How about fleet management for every customer? Are they providing race to the bottom products? Or are they providing some real value?
You could be an educator to customers. Educating them with relevant information, and providing them video information, or PDF ebooks.
Work on your sales and marketing funnels. Giving free stuff to get business in return.
How could you do it differently instead of just selling a system putting blue rectangles on roofs and smart electronic boxes to control it?
You’ve got to start to think about what extra value that can you provide to the customers.
2. Put the customer first and survey them.
Often in business we think we’re going to just push our great ideas onto our potential customers. And let’s face it, they might be great ideas, but the customer might not be interested in what that is. They’ve got their own needs and wants and desires.
So survey your customers. If you even only have 10 customers, still survey them. People that you’ve already installed solar systems for. If you have dozens, hundreds or even 1000’s, even better. Survey them so you can actually find out what it is that they want.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve already sold a system system to them. Just find out what they want, and what they would have wanted going through the process again. What worked well, and what didn’t work well for them in going solar.
I’ll let you on a little secret here that I use for all my clients. I use the Navy SEAL approach that they use at the end of every training exercise or real world skirmish.
What worked well, what didn’t work well, and how can we improve?
So what you’re wanting to find out is, how could you improve based on what your customers really want? That’s point number two to help you find a niche and be really directed towards that.
3. Who do you want to be in the industry?
I want you to take out a piece of paper and actually do this – write it down.
- What are your values?
- How do you want to be more transparent with customers about the process of going solar?
- How do you want to be more timely and prompt with your customers?
- Who do you want to be?
- How do you want to have more fun with your customers?
Let’s face it, very few businesses actually have fun with their customers. And yet, some of the most inspiring businesses in the world like Virgin are amazing at this! Richard Branson just went into space in 2021 right? What fun and great marketing!
We can’t all be Richard Branson’s, though we can aspire to be. But he always has fun in how he presents his business to the world.
He has interactive prize draws for his customers. He even has a prize draw for two people to go into space with Virgin. Isn’t that amazing!
That’s having fun with your customers.
How do you want to be of integrity and of service?
Write that down. And when you hone in on that, some gold nuggets might start to percolate up to the surface. For instance, if you’re a values led person and a values led business, you could lead with how you’re being of value to the community through charity. Donate a certain amount of each system to goes towards a charity.
And again, maybe you could just provide more information to your customers than anyone else.
- Who do you want to be?
- And how do you want to step forward to carve out your niche in the solar power industry?
At Energetic Consulting, we have created in partnership an automated email content delivery platform called Sunfluence, to step customers through every part of the journey. It’s perfect for small, medium or even large solar retailers who are under resourced for time, money, skills or know how.
It helps you follow up your customers, support them and be more transparent with things like, what the next steps in the process of going solar are.
1. Research who inspires you in industry. What companies inspire you? And can you 10x improve what they’re currently doing? Or can you find a gap in what they’re doing and hone in on that?
2. Put your customers first. Survey them and find out what they want. And then see if you can find some golden nuggets that way to carve out your niche.
3. Actually just write down who you want to be. And then see if you can find a pathway for who you want to be with your integrity, values, etc. And create your niche based on that.
Hopefully that has been of service to you today. If you need support for your solar business, get in touch with us at Energetic Consulting. We would love to help you grow and scale your business.
That’s why we’re here as Australia’s leading support services business for the solar power industry. I personally have been in the industry for almost 20 years working for some of the largest solar manufacturers and various organisations. I also had my own multi-million dollar solar retail, design and installation business for many years. I’ve spoken with thousands of solar customers.
We would love to support your solar business.
You can listen to the Soundcloud recording below:
If you need help with your business or marketing needs, contact Energetic Consulting today and start creating raving fan customers!
Article by Russell French – Founder of Energetic Consulting Australia
Russell is a veteran of the Australian renewable energy industry of 17 years and an innovative business leader with a proven track record spanning over 20 years. Alongside Warwick Johnston of Sunwiz, and Donovan Craig, he is the co-founder of Sunfluence and Solar Guide, which are solar business automated marketing platforms and services to help solar retailers win more business.
He is also the Founder of Solar Social, a new and innovative meet-up bringing together like minded businesses and professionals to discuss innovation and the latest technology developments.
He has served as a Director for several well known renewable energy companies like:
- Enphase Energy as their APAC Director and Australian Country Manager and brought the business to Australia and setup their operations in the region
- Sungrow ($2.2B, world largest solar inverter manufacturer in partnership with Samsung SDI) as their Marketing & Strategy Director
- Sun Empire as Founder and Managing Director. Sun Empire was a founding company member of the Clean Energy Council of Australia.
Russell has also worked in the award winning Sustainability Strategy team for the City of Melbourne developing the city’s renewable energy and solar program, and helped develop the new Solar & Storage division for one of Australia’s largest energy retailers, Red Energy which is owned by the iconic Snowy Hydro.
He served as the Secretary & Convenor for the Melbourne Chapter of the Smart Energy Council of Australia (formerly Australian Solar Council) for 5 years.