Steven Weaver, the founder of Solar Wave, recently made a guest appearance on the Best Company Podcast to talk about his solar journey and how/why his company has implemented a unique, zero-pressure sales strategy.
Steven started his solar journey in 2018 when he founded a marketing agency that ended up adopting a strong solar clientele.
Through that clientele, he learned a significant amount about the solar industry and how companies operate. After he left the marketing agency, he spent two years building up a new company in Kansas City. Once those two years passed, Steven returned to his home state of Colorado to start his own solar company, which ended up becoming Solar Wave.
“I think a big part of it is just seeing an opportunity and seeing a way that it could be done differently than what everybody else is doing.
I never planned to start a solar company when I got into the marketing side of things, but as I learned more and more, I just kind of realized that there’s a big disconnect between how people are marketing, how people are selling solar, and then how people are installing it.
And I think, you know, that’s kind of what led me into it once I got that full understanding of like ‘Hey, I could do this.’”
Over the years of working closely with solar companies, Steven noticed a common theme of high-pressure sales approaches within the industry.
“From my time in the industry, I realized that most solar companies are putting a large emphasis on the sales side of the business.
So, they have these 100 percent paid commissions sales reps out there generating new business, and not only does that have an unnecessary expense to the business and drive the cost of the solar panel system up for the homeowner, but a lot of times it leads to high pressure and sometimes unethical sales strategies.”
Steven explained that, when he established Solar Wave, he wanted to make sure it was different than other solar companies, especially when it comes to the sales process.
“I decided that there’s got to be a different way to do it. I’m not saying this is the only way to do it, and I’m not saying it’s wrong to have commissioned solar reps. There are a lot of people out there that are doing it the right way.
I think that if you take a look at the solar industry as a whole and you say ‘Hey, solar is going to continue to grow and if this is going to become the norm eventually for homes and businesses that have the available space to have solar, then consumers are going to educate themselves, and when they’re looking for a company, they don’t need somebody to come to their door and try and pressure them into a sale.’
If they could save money by finding a company that doesn't have that, then I think that’s generally where the industry should go, and I think a lot of companies will need to adapt to stay competitive.”
Steven said that most of the people his company speaks with have already taken the step to educate themselves about solar.
“I think the homeowners that we end up talking with are the ones that do their research because we’re not out there door-to-door and because we’re not really pushing those ads that are like ‘Hey, stop what you’re doing. You could go solar for $0 down’ or ‘The government’s got a new program and they’ll pay you to go solar.’”
In addition to Solar Wave’s zero-pressure sales strategy, Steven explained that his company also puts a major focus on being transparent, which helps his business stand out amongst competitors.
“I think the biggest thing right out of the gate is that we don’t hold our cards back. A homeowner can reach out to us, they could submit their utility usage, and we will send over our quote. We even list all of our pricing on our website. Completely transparent, flat-rate pricing.”
Another aspect of his business that Steven believes in is building personal connections with all of his customers.
“I think beyond the transparency, it’s really just about having a personal connection with everybody we do business with. We’re a local company. I’m from here.
So, if you connect with people and you kind of figure out what their actual needs are, and then you consult them and try to solve those needs or provide them with a product that they actually do need, and then even advise them against it if they don’t need it, you really set yourself apart and you gain that trust.”
He explained that focusing on the customer experience is something he and his team are working hard to do as Solar Wave grows.
“If we continue to focus on our customers’ experiences and the projects versus like just ‘Hey, here’s all of the benefits of working with us or like the sales benefits of working with us, then we’ll come ahead by building that trust online.'
We’re (Steven’s team) kind of nerds when it comes to solar. So, if you want to hear every single detail about how we’re going to install the system, the amounts we’re using, where everything fits on the side of your hour, how it gets connected, I mean we’ll go into detail. I think people really like that.”
Steven mentioned that he enjoys being part of the solar industry and is proud of the way his company has been operating.
“I think delivering a great service and product to a customer makes me really proud. It’s a great product. It’s a great industry to be in. I love it.
And I think the way that we approach things in an ethical and transparent way when we’re talking about the investment and financing…having a homeowner that’s just generally very, very excited to now be producing their own power on top of their roof at the end of everything and the whole process, that makes me really proud.”
Steven Weaver is an experienced business professional with a passion for renewable energy. His career in renewable energy started back in 2018 when he founded a digital agency with the mission to help green energy companies with their marketing and sales strategies. Steven quickly scaled his agency to serve over 40 clients throughout the U.S.
At the start of 2020, he received an offer to join the executive team of one of his top clients — Barrett Solar. Even amidst the global pandemic over the next two years, Steven helped grow Barrett Solar to become one of the largest residential solar companies in Kansas City. Although business was going great, he yearned to be independent once again and believed he could create a better solar business model than what was widely accepted in the solar industry as the standard.
This yearning led Steven to found Solar Wave in his home area of Denver, Colorado. He started Solar Wave with the goal of making solar energy more accessible and affordable for every homeowner. From his time in the industry, Steven realized that most solar companies place a large emphasis on their sales teams, and they pay large commissions to individuals to bring in new business. Steven believes this is not only an unnecessary expense but also leads to pushy and often unethical sales strategies.
By eliminating sales commissions and the overhead that goes along with sales teams, Solar Wave can provide the same solar equipment and service at a much lower price. Solar Wave’s promise is to continue providing renewable energy products and services that save people money, add value to their homes, and protect the environment — all done the right way, without greedy sales tactics.
About Solar Wave
Solar Wave provides residential solar installation services in the Colorado area. Instead of utilizing traditional aggressive sales tactics, Solar Wave has opted for a more transparent process that includes upfront, flat-rate pricing models and a clear breakdown of how costs are allocated throughout the duration of the solar project. The company is also an authorized dealer of several tier-1 solar manufacturers.