Rounding off September’s focus on rural electrification, our CEO Scott Roy and consulting partner Nick Kingesley-Johnson presented the webinar “How to sell minigrids to rural populations” to members of the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE).
Educating a large group of international participants on Monday, Scott and Nick addressed many customer acquisition and retention problems when selling mini-grids in an ever more competitive market that has now gone mainstream.
Introduced by ARE’s executive director Marcus Wiemann, Scott explained how little expertise is still being dedicated to sales and distribution in comparison to initial technical developments amongst mini-grid providers. Highlighting the importance of the actual quality of customer engagements, they both made a case for, what Scott called, “the principles of salesmanship.”
Their advice was to the point: instead of diving into ‘pitching’ the features and benefits of mini-grids, local salespeople should deeply engage with potential clients, helping them to understand their own problems, the costs of leaving these unsolved and ultimately finding solutions. At Whitten & Roy Partnership this approach of helping the customer to make the best possible buying decision is called DQ Sales®.
To engage with customers at this deeper level, it requires well-trained salespeople. Elaborating on this point, in the webinar’s Q&A part, Scott and Nick provided further advice on the recruitment of mini-grid sales agents. For them four qualities make the ideal candidates:
- The ability to have a good conversation
- Self-discipline and persistence
- Coach-ability (being open to change and learning)
Scott concluded the webinar with some clear advice: “It’s the quality of the customer engagements that makes the difference. That’s why people are buying from one mini-grids provider and not another.”
Further useful information can be found in the abstract of Nick’s recent workshop session “Selling Minigrids: How to Attract Customers and Retain Them” at the Microgrid Global Innovation Forum and Scott’s insightful article for the ARE September newsletter.