My first $250,000 in solar sales.

A few months ago I looked at my income from Balloon Distractions, looked at the amount of debt that I still had to tackle, and decided to (somehow) get into the solar business.

My thinking was to go on offense; the more you earn the faster you can pay off your home and achieve financial freedom. I had been playing financial defense for three years, paying off over $185,000 in debt since 2014.

Even before any of the local solar companies would talk to me I went out and knocked on doors to drum up business. Within a week of doing that I met the owner of Tampa Bay Solar, Steve Rutherford, and he reluctantly agreed to teach me the business.

Since then I’ve sold just over $250,000 in residential solar installations. My goal is to close $1 million in closed deals by the end of 2017. The first $250K in sales in a new industry is always the hardest. I made mistakes, missed deals that I could have closed, and learned a ton about how residential solar works.

During this time I also ran Balloon Distractions as usual, we sold a few new clients in the Tampa region… I filled gigs, trained new artists, etc. Of course, selling solar created more gross revenue in 3 months than Balloon Distractions generates in an entire year.

One of the key metrics in business is this: how much gross revenue can you create by going out and selling your product or service?

It’s always tough to learn a new industry. In my first few months I’ve heard all the usual questions and objections that a typical homeowner will have in regards to solar. I set up a folio with various print-outs that address specific objections; from HOA rules to how the panels are mounted on the roof.

I learned how to prepare proposals for different roof types, different inverters and different types of panels. Tampa Bay Solar also sells solar pool pumps and solar pool heaters, so I had to learn the details and pricing for those products as well.

My next step is to tackle the intricacies of commercial solar.

I’ve yet to land a commercial deal but we have several leads that I’m working. Commercial solar is a longer sales cycle, I can meet a homeowner today and the deal is closed and installed in just a few weeks. Commercial solar is slower to close and more complex.

It makes sense to stay in residential solar for weekly sales while also learning commercial solar for larger commissions, even though I might only close 1 or 2 larger commercial deals every year.

All in all I’m grateful that Steve Rutherford gave me a shot at the solar business.  He has a great team of installers and a solid reputation, I’m proud to sell for Tampa Bay Solar.

Ben Alexander

July . 2017