What Makes Delaware Valley Home Eco Tech (DHVET) Different Than Other Solar Companies in New Jersey?
By Stefan Schulz, COO
With more than 547 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New Jersey, it is sometimes difficult for consumers to figure out who’s who—or more importantly—figure out who they should work with.
Of course financial programs and technology used for solar power will vary from company to company. There are solar companies in New Jersey that swear by the lease. There are others that will advocate against financing and only work with homeowners that are willing to purchase. Some companies use monocrystalline panels, others use polycrystalline, and so on, and so on.
So what exactly inspired me to write this article? A better question would be who inspired me. Recently out networking, I was approached by a complete stranger who flat out asked me: “What do you do better than anyone else?” At first, I felt my throat tighten up as I worried that I might not have a great answer for him, ultimately embarrassing myself and blowing an opportunity to make a good impression.
I couldn’t just say “We sell solar.” For one, that would be a lie, as hopefully you’ll soon realize. Not to mention it would be a pretty pathetic sales pitch. That would be like a chef of a restaurant saying, “I cook.” It leaves a lot on the table. Thinking on my feet, I was able to come up with three key points that differentiate Delaware Valley Home Eco Tech (DVHET) from other New Jersey solar companies. Below is a summary of those points.
When it comes to any technology there are always a lot of questions. Solar power is no different. In fact, solar often necessitates more questions than other home improvement projects and technology because of its many considerations. Unlike for instance a smart thermostat, which can be installed in virtually any home with air conditioning, a solar system might not make sense for a home based on certain factors. Perhaps the position of the property isn’t right. Maybe the energy spend is too low. What if there isn’t enough roof space? What happens when there are too many trees?
As opposed to other solar companies that start conversations with “See what you can save with solar”, we simply ask homeowners: “Do you know if your home qualifies for solar?” This opens a discussion, instead of asserting a statement that may not even be viable. In many cases where solar may not make economical sense, we have the ability to recommend our other energy saving products, such as multi-layer insulation and solar powered attic ventilation systems. These products provide homeowners who cannot install solar an opportunity to achieve comparable benefits including increased energy efficiency, home appreciation, and reduced carbon footprint.
It is also important to note that our multi-layer insulation and solar attic fans work great in tandem with an installed solar system. By adding insulation, you help reduce heat transfer, among other things, to lower energy usage. In essence, your solar panels will still collect the same amount of energy, but your home will require less of that energy. This is great in New Jersey because of current net metering laws. For all of the energy generated and not used, the power company will provide you a credit for supplying that unused energy back to the grid. Lastly, proper attic ventilation has shown the ability to protect your roof, a must-have for roof mount residential solar panels.
Competition is often a big, scary word in the business world. Many companies think of competition negatively. They associate it with the outside world closing in, trying to steal a piece of their pie. At DVHET, we encourage competition because—from a customer’s viewpoint—it promotes better overall service and better value.
To better serve our customers, we have created independent brands, or sales teams, to compete against each other. An example of one of our brands is The Solar Ladies of New Jersey, which was launched as an opportunity to better communicate the advantages of switching to solar power in New Jersey. Additional brands include “Solar Veterans” and “The Men of Solar.” Each brand works independently to promote renewable energy through community events, organized presentations, and in-home solar savings consultations.
By creating a healthy balance of internal competition and cross-company collaboration we make obtaining solar panels for your home more relatable and easier to understand. Solar energy is like any home buying decision—you need to work with someone you can trust. The customer’s perspective is our reality. Consistently diversifying our field helps us realize the varying perspectives of homeowners in New Jersey, creating widespread trust in our company.
To further build on trust, we look at how trust is built: with consistency. Most homeowners that are looking at installing a solar power system have a Rolodex, or filing cabinet, full of businesses and professionals that they’ve worked with in the past. As my Dad always said whenever a situation at home came up: “Don’t worry, I got a guy for that.”
Referrals and word-of-mouth remain strong buying influencers even in the Age of Google. In fact, a study by Business 2 Community found that over 80% of Americans seek recommendations when making a purchase of any kind. In addition, incentive structure plays a big role in increasing referral activity.
Supporting a network of power partners is huge for us. We rely on real estate agents, general contractors, roofers, power washing companies, electricians, painters, and many other in-home professionals for introductions. The quality service and consistent approach provided by these companies is invaluable.
We provide complete support to make earning referral rewards for partners easy. DVHET Power Partners receive customized marketing materials, access to our online referral software, detailed sales pipeline reports, social collaboration, and ongoing training and promotions to earn more rewards for their referrals.
Maintaining these relationships not only benefits our businesses, it also positively impacts our customers and their homes. Priorities always change from one home to the next. Maybe a homeowner really, really wants to remodel their bathroom. We have the ability to make that project financially justifiable. Using the projected energy savings from our products, and channeling the expertise from our home remodeling power partner, we can demonstrate an innovative way for that homeowner to fund their dream bathroom.
Don’t get us wrong. We are not home remodelers, or painters, or anything of that sort. We are solar and green technology experts who have a focus on putting your energy savings to work for you and your home.
I once overheard a prospective customer say, “You’re all selling the same thing.” At the time, I took that personally, but realized that we as a company didn’t do a good job of explaining what makes us different from other solar companies. Sure—we sell solar, but we also have other products for when solar doesn’t make sense.
As history has shown, technology will come and go in waves. Good solar companies have good technology. Great solar companies have great people. At any given moment, the solar bubble in New Jersey may burst. All it takes is one swift act in legislature, as we have seen in other states like Hawaii and Maine. Our mission at DVHET is to be an energy savings company that endures to build more efficient homes for our customers and planet.