How to stop competing on price and charge what you’re worth in the solar industry

If you’re like most solar businesses, you feel stuck in a relentless race to the bottom, competing to see who can drop their prices (and their pants) the furthest. You feel like you’re running flat out on a hamster wheel, just to keep cash flowing. There’s over 5000 solar businesses in Australia, which is the most competitive solar industry in the world. 

You’re selling a commodity (electricity) produced by another commodity (solar panels). And, unless you do something different to add value and stand out, then you’ll find yourself competing in a commodity market: on price and price alone.

Why customers buy on price, and what to do about it

From a customer perspective, solar power is a complex technology with a lot of brands, jargon and stuff they simply don’t understand. Even experts in the solar industry have a hard time keeping up with all the latest technology developments. 

You don’t need to waste your time explaining the technology or the brands in extraordinary detail. Chances are your competitors will say something completely different, which will just leave your customer even more confused.

In the midst of all that confusion, the customer reverts to the only thing they understand: price.

Your job isn’t to sell the concept of solar power – they’re already keen on that, due to social evidence. The financials are important, but only to tick the box to confirm “yes I’m making the right decision”.

You see, for most customers, solar panels are those ugly rectangular blue things that you chuck on the roof, and an inverter is a box you hang on the wall and put pot plants / sporting equipment / garden tools on top of… (now with wifi!).

So, rather than bamboozle customers with claims about the technology…. Do the following three steps.

Step 1: Differentiate

  1. Just tell your story. 
  2. Think really hard about what makes your company stand out. 
  3. What a customer most wants to hear though is the experience you’re going to deliver, and how you’ll deliver it. 
  4. Don’t say what everyone else says! (e.g. CEC Accredited electricians)
  5. Sell the experience that your company (and your company alone) is going to deliver
  6. Write a list of commitments that you will do and commitments of things you won’t do. 
  7. Show off all your happy customers.
  8. Show your prospect your google review rating, and tell your customer about how important it is that you get a 5-star rating from them.

Step 2: Educate (automatically)

So, we’ve established that customers will revert to comparing price against price if they don’t understand the difference between company’s offers. 

So if you’re going to charge more than the competition, you’ve got to stand above the competition… without naming or slagging off your competition which is a big no-no in sales. Or without scaring the customer off. And all while building the customer’s confidence and trust. 

Tough gig, right!

We recommend that you educate the customer on what to look for in a solar company, even if they decide you’re not the right company for them. That last bit is likely to lower their defences too. 

Most customers don’t know what to look for in a solar offer. Hell, most customers don’t know what to look for in a clothes washing machine. But they should only need to buy a PV system once in their lifetime, maybe twice. So wouldn’t it be great to give them a handy “What to look for in a solar retailer” guidebook?

So create that guidebook! And as you’ll be creating the goal posts you’ll have first shot at scoring, and you’ll be more likely to win the job. 

However, thanks to the magic of email you can automatically drip-feed this education to your prospects… which is great because it often takes multiple touch points to win a client. It used to be 4 touchpoints in years gone by, but in this modern information age it can easily be 16 touchpoints to convert a customer to a sale! They’ll soon cotton on that it’s an automation, but you’ll be delivering real value to them… and it will still stand you heads and shoulders above your competitors.

And even if your prospective customer gets a second or third quote, your customer will find it challenging to find the information they need to compare the others to you, because your competition is probably pretty bad at clearly communicating their strengths. Leaving you as the gold standard, and able to justify charging more than the competition.



Somehow you have to convince the customer that they should trust what you’re saying, both in establishing the “hat to look for in a solar retailer” evaluation criteria, and in how you meet those criteria. Wouldn’t it be great for a trusted independent expert to educate the customer for you?!!!

Step 3: Get lots of referrals

Referrals boost your businesses profitability because they deliver:

  1. Customers that are low-cost-to-acquire. 
  2. Customers that are less likely to shop around. 
  3. Customers that are more likely to buy from you. 

Which means greater profit margins and greater conversion rates. 

We talk later about the “how to” with referrals.

Sunfluence’s email automation system uses a trusted independent expert to automatically educates customers what to look for in a solar company. You can offer that ‘guidebook’ on your website in exchange for your customers’ contact information, and automatically follow up. Sunfluence’s offering also builds referrals.




Our Services

Sunfluence makes your life easy whilst getting you sales and raving customers

Sunfluence improves your sales and helps you charge a higher price than your competition.

We do this by: 

  • Providing your website visitors via a compelling free eBook in exchange for their contact information. Those visitors automatically receive email follow-ups that warm them up to doing business with you.
  • Implementing an email autopilot system that:
    • Targets your long-old customers for upgrades, referrals, ratings, and reviews.
    • Targets your long-dead prospects for new sales.
    • As a trusted independent expert, automatically educates your prospects on what to look for in a solar company.
    • Keeps your customers excited between sale and installation, so they don’t back out.
    • As you complete installations, we automatically request feedback, ratings, reviews and referrals, providing valuable customer service along the way.

About Sunfluence

Sunfluence was founded by solar industry veterans Warwick Johnston, Russell French and Donovan Craig. Together we bring 38 years of combined experience in the solar market. Our primary purpose is to deliver global environmental benefit by enabling outstanding solar businesses to thrive.

We’re independent and solar industry experts.

  • Russell French is a veteran of the Australian solar industry of 17 years and an innovative business leader. He’s worked in leadership positions at Enphase, Sungrow, SunEmpire, Smart Energy Group, the City of Melbourne, and Red Energy.
  • Warwick Johnston has worked in solar since 2005, and founded SunWiz in 2009. He’s provided services to thousands of solar businesses, and held leadership positions within the CEC, Solar Victoria, SEIA, and a former incarnation of the SEC.
  • Donovan Craig is the managing director of Snapfrozen, a web software and systems and infrastructure company, specialising in online systems for the solar industry. As well as building software for Azure Wireless, Australian Associated Press, he’s developed PVsell and SolarPlus software, plus has built software solutions for dozens of solar businesses. 

Together we formed Sunfluence to help small to medium solar companies compete with businesses 10 times their size by nurturing, winning and retaining more customers.