Interview: Joseph Kenney – America’s Top Solar Lead Generation Specialist

Joe is one of the top solar lead generation specialists in the nation. During his career, he has brought in thousands of leads that have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in solar sales and today we are going to talk with him to discuss different ways that you can be successful in the Solar industry. If you need solar leads there is a contact form on the bottom of the page where you can contact Joe directly. If you are looking to get more information about Joe’s course you can contact him for that as well.

CONTACT JOE & GET MORE SOLAR LEADS NOW

(Or, sign up for his course and learn how to make money generating leads!)

Video Transcription:

Jake : Alright, so today we got a very special guest on the podcast. We have one of the number one solar lead generation specialists in the entire country. We happen to have apartments right across the hall when he ramped up a campaign from 0 dollars to a 100 000 dollars in just a month. Made an incredible amount of money. It really… definitely caught my attention into what was going on in the solar industry. If you don’t know anything about solar, this podcast is gonna have an incredible amount of value. It’s one of the few kind of easier ways to make money that’s out there and it’s something that’s not nearly as crowded as some of the other kind of more popular things that don’t require a ton of money to to get started. There definitely is some investment in the beginning but if you follow what Joe does, you can really make a lot of money extremely quickly so let’s check him out. Here’s Joe Kinney. Alright, so Joe you’re known as one of the number one solar lead generation guys that’s out there. I saw you just destroy a competition of lead generation for solar companies that was put on by Tyler. There was everyone else and then you were way up here. So it seems like you really know what’s going on in the solar lead industry and I’m really happy to have you on the podcast today. Basically, we want to help people enhance their productivity and have more happiness in their life and using specialists like you instead of having to reinvent the wheel. I think is a great option for people to have. Let’s start with a bit of background. Before you did the competition with Tyler and destroyed everyone on that, what led up to that? How long have you been in the solar industry for?

Joe : Well, I’ve been generating solar leads probably for two or three years now. It’ll be actually three years coming up here in July and that’s online. We used to …. I did solar probably back in 2014 for a bit. You know, we had different ways of generating leads and now that Facebook’s out there, it’s just a hundred times easier than knocking doors or making phone calls.

Jake : Okay, so in the beginning you were starting out with you doing the grunt labor. You were out there knocking on doors. Doing phone calls, doing things the hard way and then now pretty much facebook has been the majority of what’s going on, in terms of the solar lead gen?

Joe : Yeah. I mean Facebook’s pretty much taken over the market when come to, you know. Not only solar lead gen pretty much any lead gen. Based on the targeting and the audience that you can choose from, the areas, that just makes it so much easier. Now, you know, the cost has gone up drastically. You know, we’re not getting the $4 leads, $2 dollar leads and so we used to get like two years ago but it still definitely makes sense. Lead to appointment, it’s super easy as long as you have that process in place.

Jake : Ok, so if there’s a solar company that’s having problems getting business for you, you can pretty much help them out in most areas? Or are there specific areas that you work with over others? Who can you help?

Joe : Well, I mean. See, we actually have a solar company. We do installs. We do everything from start to finish and then the other side is the power cell marketing. Which we do marketing, appointment setting for solar companies throughout the united states. We’re also coming out with a course on how to generate solar leads. So pretty much in the solar niche, we can help people out from start to finish.

Jake : So it can turn on pretty fast. I remember when I first really met you, it was kind of right in the beginning of the month where you went from basically zero up to a hundred K in one month and I saw first hand how fast it can go. You wanna walk us through that process a little bit because it’s something that I think there’s lots of people out there that are either basically at zero or completely at zero and just getting into the game and there’s a kind of preconceived notion I think that you know, it can really take a while to be able to ramp things up but I think you’ve proven that you have the magic formula to be able to flip the switch and really get a lot of business coming in quickly.

Joe : Yeah, I mean I’d say the biggest mistake that people in lead gen is the way the Facebook algorithm .. Actually nobody knows the way that Facebook but you know based on my experience and what’s happened to me is in the beginning if you have, you know the most important thing is to have an offer right. Once you get the offer right where people are actually opting in, you know you’ve got half the battle won right there. Knowing what angles, what emotions that people buy from and how you know, each person opts in differently so you run different ads. Different areas, you gotta test a bunch of things but one of the things that really helped us is that most people that run leads they’ll either get a bunch of leads for cheap and then they ramp it up and then it’s not cost effective because they didn’t do it right and the beginning the way facebook you know again my experience is that you get a bunch of cheap leads but they’re a bunch of people that are just … they opt in to everything. So Facebook initially shows it to people that very frequently opt into things. So, you know, usually you get a bunch of cheap leads in the beginning and then you’re gonna ramp it up super high and then it’s gonna go from 6 dollars to 120 dollars and you’re trying to figure out what happened, you know, what’s going on.It’s getting over that step is what helped us so we started out, I think we were spending, you know we started out usually four or five hundred dollars a day. Two to five hundred a day per ad set and then you know, find the winners and start ramping it up from there.I think in that month we started it out around five hundred to a couple of thousand a week and ramped it up to thirty five thousand per week in less than 30 days

Jake : So, in order to do that, did you see things kind of go up and down and then back up again, in terms of the amount of leads and the cost of leads and the effectiveness of the campaigns or what when you say push it over the hill what are you talking about?

Joe : Well cause Facebook has what’s called the initial learning phase. Once you get that 50 to 100 leads, it starts to optimize, it starts to know what you’re looking for and what’s working for you. So once you start to get over that you know, four or five thousand that you spent, now the lead price starts to come down. So it goes up and it comes back down. Most people quit when it starts going up. We threw more money at it. We did kind of the shotgun approach. Just throw a ton of money at it and we know we’re gonna lose on some, we know we’re gonna win on some. The ones we are winning on, we do more of them. You gotta pay to play.

Jake : Okay, so the leads that you generate, I mean it’s obviously taken lots and lots of money for you to be able to hone things in to the point that you have versus trying to do stuff and kind of a do-it-yourself sort of thing. There’s definitely some pretty big advantages to working with somebody like you that already has things figured out. Since you are kind of in a unique position where you have a solar company that’s in Florida right? That’s the only area that you’re serving for that?

Joe : Well, that’s the only place I have sales guys. We do have contracts throughout the US but our main focus is lead generation. Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado but most of the West. We’ve done a lot of leads on the East Coast. That’s kind of like what we’re looking for. It’s to kind of move into that area.

Jake : Okay, so because you kind of have had the unique thing of having a regional company and then also doing the leads. You have a good perspective of what the numbers are like being on the install side which is where a lot of the people that’s where everyone that’s purchasing the leads are. They all have an install company right? Or they’re middle manning it. What kind of opportunities are there to make money and how much money can you make by generating solar leads and by actually following through on them. How much is there typically on the back end. Like, what are some of the companies able to pull in to warrant you know, spending $35 000 a week on leads?

Joe : Yeah, I mean the installs, there’s huge profit margins on them. Especially if you get them right. We kind of reverse engineered the whole solar process where we were a marketing company first and then we started getting into the sales side, the install side, the finance engineering and you know, so we kind of went backwards but it really helped us out because you know, in the beginning we had too many appointments and our closers kind of sucked at the time. So our biggest challenge in the beginning for us was closing deals. Where most companies, their biggest challenge is finding the people willing to listen. We took it a bit further than just the lead process. You can generate the leads but more importantly it’s you know, lead to appointment. How many of these leads are qualified. How many of these leads are setting appointments? How many are closing? So there’s a lot more to it than just generating the lead. Obviously, you want to find companies that are able to just take the leads as many as you can, send them. They got their own call center, they set them and you’re just sending them a top of volume that converts. We’ve got a couple of different models that we use. We can generate the lead and set the appointment for you or we can just send you the lead. There’s a lot more to curating the lead

Jake : Okay, so the leads that you generate, I mean it’s obviously taken lots and lots of money for you to be able to hone things in to the point that you have versus trying to do stuff and kind of a do-it-yourself sort of thing. There’s definitely some pretty big advantages to working with somebody like you that already has things figured out. Since you are kind of in a unique position where you have a solar company that’s in Florida right? That’s the only area that you’re serving for that?

Jake : Okay, so the leads that you generate, I mean it’s obviously taken lots and lots of money for you to be able to hone things in to the point that you have versus trying to do stuff and kind of a do-it-yourself sort of thing. There’s definitely some pretty big advantages to working with somebody like you that already has things figured out. Since you are kind of in a unique position where you have a solar company that’s in Florida right? That’s the only area that you’re serving for that?

Joe : Well, that’s the only place I have sales guys. We do have contracts throughout the US but our main focus is lead generation. Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado but most of the West. We’ve done a lot of leads on the East Coast. That’s kind of like what we’re looking for. It’s to kind of move into that area.

Jake : Okay, so because you kind of have had the unique thing of having a regional company and then also doing the leads. You have a good perspective of what the numbers are like being on the install side which is where a lot of the people that’s where everyone that’s purchasing the leads are. They all have an install company right? Or they’re middle manning it. What kind of opportunities are there to make money and how much money can you make by generating solar leads and by actually following through on them. How much is there typically on the back end. Like, what are some of the companies able to pull in to warrant you know, spending $35 000 a week on leads?

Joe : Yeah, I mean the installs, there’s huge profit margins on them. Especially if you get them right. We kind of reverse engineered the whole solar process where we were a marketing company first and then we started getting into the sales side, the install side, the finance engineering and you know, so we kind of went backwards but it really helped us out because you know, in the beginning we had too many appointments and our closers kind of sucked at the time. So our biggest challenge in the beginning for us was closing deals. Where most companies, their biggest challenge is finding the people willing to listen. We took it a bit further than just the lead process. You can generate the leads but more importantly it’s you know, lead to appointment. How many of these leads are qualified. How many of these leads are setting appointments? How many are closing? So there’s a lot more to it than just generating the lead. Obviously, you want to find companies that are able to just take the leads as many as you can, send them. They got their own call center, they set them and you’re just sending them a top of volume that converts. We’ve got a couple of different models that we use. We can generate the lead and set the appointment for you or we can just send you the lead. There’s a lot more to curating the lead and setting the appointment than just calling leads. Leads dry up super super fast and that’s what people don’t understand is that you got to hit people while they’re excited about the offer. So I mean you got to hit them within five minutes. So as soon as that lead comes in they need to be contacted, as soon as possible. We like to put a webhook in into the lead and send it directly to a dialer, where somebody’s sitting there ready to set that appointment.

Jake : Ok so in terms of just the potential profits that people can have, how much is typically made and for other people that are listening that aren’t in the solar industry yet. I’m sure a lot of the installers that would be purchasing leads have a pretty good idea of where they’re at but what kind of profits happen here? You have a lead coming in that you said earlier between three and a hundred dollars and then some of those are going to fall of and you’re not going to be able to set an appointment with it. When you set an appointment and you’re able to close a sale, what kind of numbers does that generate on the back end for the installers? What kind of profit margins are we looking at here?

Joe : It depends on what kind of red line that solar company is working with but I would say the typical solar install is gonna have about 8 thousand dollars worth of profit in it., probably more but there’s usually a bunch of different hands in the pot. One of them is obviously the financing. They take a huge out of that but typically after your cost per install which would be the cost per acquisition, paying the sales guy to go out there to close the deal. Usually there’s four to five thousand left over in the deal. So these companies that are doing 300 installs a month are definitely making some cheddar.

Jake : Yeah, sounds like it. So there’s the initial money on the install and then is there any residuals that come through as a result of the power that’s generated on these things? Is there anything that happens on that end too? Or is it all mostly upfront?

Joe : As far as for the customer or for the marketing side and on the sales side, as far as residuals?

Jake :Yeah, is there anything that comes through with that or does most of that go to the customer and forms a saving on their power bill or how does all that work?

Joe : Okay, so there’s so many incentives out there for customers right now and that’s why it’s super easy to you know. I wouldn’t say it’s easy to generate leads but if you get the right ad out there, you can get people to opt in. Having somebody good on the phone, convincing them to set an appointment. Someone going out there to close it. Depending on the state, there’s different tax incentives. Across the board there’s a 30 percent dollar for dollar tax incentive for people to purchase solar. It’s supposedly going away at the end of the year so it’s one of those urgency things you can create. However, there’s other states that have net metering where it’s dollar for dollar or you get paid per hour, per kilowatt hour. There’s just so many rebates out there depending on the state. You know, like VRBO and AirBnB rentals actually can get the macro as soon as their eligible for up fifty five percent tax credit. So, once the systems all zero down for the most part. It doesn’t cost the customer anything. They’re basically swapping apples for apples. A clean energy further traditional power bill so they’re going to have a solar payment, it’s usually lower than what their typical utility bill is. The huge savings on solar comes not on the first year. The first year they might save $20 or $30 a month but utility companies have what’s called an escalator so your utility bill goes up here in Florida about 4.2 percent per year and it continues to rise with inflation fees. That’s just things they add in there. So, kind of the way we like to explain it is if I were to tell you that you could lock in the price of gas at 99 cents in 1990, you’d say that’s a good deal right?

Jake : Definitely.

Joe : You know, it’s kind of the same thing here where you, you’re locking in the price of energy at a lower rate than what you’re currently paying and that price is gonna stay the same. Once the system’s paid off then you’re not gonna have any type of utility bill. You might have connection fee. Usually, we try to put the offset above whatever their $5 connection fee is so they’re overproducing to pay for that. There’s just so many benefits to going solar. In the next five years, it’s just going to get hotter and hotter. I mean, obviously there’s more competition out there but competition drives awareness, makes the industry healthier. There’s just so much money. If anybody’s thinking about getting into marketing or they’re already into marketing. I’m not into the big niche hopping thing because the grass is never greener on the other side. However, if you’re thinking about getting into solar and it’s something that you want to stick with, you can make tons and tons of money and there’s lots of solar companies willing to throw tons of money at you to generate them leads.

Jake : What’s kind of the standards that people are willing to pay for leads and for appointments? Is it something that’s common to sell the appointments by themselves or sell the leads by themselves and then some of those are gonna transfer to appointments, some are not. What kind of costs are people looking at in order to be able to get going?

Joe : As far as for a marketing standpoint, our first solar company looking to buy leads.

Jake : For a solar company looking to buy leads, if there’s an installer out there that you know, has a small company, they’re looking to ramp up. They don’t really know how to do the marketing side of it, they want to get some more business. How much money are they gonna need to be able to get into the game?

Joe : Usually, if they’re trying to buy leads, there are companies out there that are selling them for $50 and those leads have been sold to 25 different companies and they they just typically, you’re in a bidding war and they don’t work. There are companies out there that are selling them for appointments for $150, $200. You know, probably not the best closing ratios. What I like to do and one of the offers we’re working on, we’ve already beta tested as a front end back end payment. So we would charge per set depending on the state and then we’d get money on the back end that you can just build into a system. So it’d be depending on the state, 75 to 100-150 per set, qualified set and then 10-15 cents on the back end and again that depends on what state you’re in. Obviously in California, lead cost and appointment cost is going to be a lot higher than if you’re in say Nevada or Arizona or Illinois. So there’s a bunch of different models that companies go after or look into. I will say, there’s no one really doing how we’re doing it. The appointment to close ratios, you want to keep that cost per install under $800 – $1000, that’s where you’re really maximizing your cost.

Jake : Ok, so you’re able to get a sale for 800 to a thousand dollars and you’re making up to eight thousand dollars on it. Five thousand on the low end. That’s a pretty big markup. I can definitely see where things can ramp up pretty quickly with that kind of returns. You can start people pretty small and they can quickly work their way up the ladder to where they’re really raking in some cash.

Joe : And the front end back end payment makes you buy in cheaper and then it also you can build that cost into the back end of the system. It doesn’t change the customer’s price. If you’ve got to raise it ten cents or fifteen cents, it doesn’t change the customer’s monthly bill enough that it’s really gonna affect the sale and most of the companies that we work with, the smart ones already have some kind of marketing already built into or allocated to their cost per watt.

Jake : It seems like a really really good opportunity. If you’re able to get the leads at that price and you’re able to get the margins how they are and the sale is basically a no brainer because what you’re saying is basically people have their conventional utility that their saying for out of pocket currently which may be upwards of two hundred dollars a month. Instead of having to pay that, they’re gonna make a payment on the hardware that they’re putting on their roof that’s gonna be able to produce the same amount of power for them and they’re not gonna have to put any money down so they’re basically given the option to be able to have clean energy and be able to be running under their own power versus having to pay for it so it’s basically like having your own power plant instead of having to rent it, right? So, the sale makes a lot of sense. Seems like it really is a no brainer for people to be able to say yes to that. So the closing rates are pretty high.

Joe : Oh yeah. The closing rates are very high. Right now, it’s pretty much a no brainer if they qualify, that they have taxable income, they have a good roof that we can put solar on. It’s the long term savings that really sells them. I would say the biggest objection that people run into is the preconceived notions that people have about solar and you have all these political campaigns that run anti-solar campaigns but it’s confirming what they really heard and then overcoming those objections. Part of that is done in the marketing side, where people can actually do their research and see that what solar is all about. You can actually look up your bill and see four years ago you were probably paying 20% less than what you’re paying today. One of the things is people say finance companies we use charge 3.99%. However, you’re paying a hundred percent interest to the utility company right now. It’s just one of those sales and there’s not too many things you’re gonna sell where you can’t get the “I can’t afford it”. They may not qualify as far as sometimes. It doesn’t pencil out if they have a low electric bill and no taxable income but if they can afford it. Actually, if they qualify, they can afford it. because you know, you have two options. You can either use electricity or you could use a candle to light your home. I guess, I know they have batteries and generators but the technology is just not there yet. Solar is the future. That’s why the big companies like Apple, Amazon, Tesla, all these companies are getting into the solar industry. Facebook, they all went completely solar even for their own buildings. There’s a reason why that smart money went there

Jake : Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. Obviously, it sounds like a very very lucrative industry. You’re able to make things very very easy for people. Where, basically they can have essentially a done-for-you marketing solution where all they really have to do is close and install, right?

Joe : Well, solar is a major project but your install team should be aware that you should have a process in place to be able to pull permits, get the NOC. They’d do the engineering but most solar companies already have that. What they’re missing is the marketing side. A lot of them try to do the in house marketing and then it costs them too much money, they hire their own person. You know, I’ve heard this story two, three dozen times and then they start doing it themselves. I’m not saying you can’t still make money knocking doors, you can. It sucks. There’s just too many things working against you now, knocking doors. I know with my house, just in the neighborhood the first time someone knocks on a door. Now their posting it all over social media “Who’s this guy, what’s he selling, call the cops”. With lead gen going to an appointment is so much easier. To have sales guys just go straight to an appointment. It’s easier to keep people long term. It’s easier to get better sales guys. That’s why you see the big companies like freedom forever or powerhome, they’re taking over the solar industry based on just appointments.

Jake : Being that you work with so many different companies that are out there, you have a pretty unique insight in terms of what works and what doesn’t. Aside from trying to do the in house marketing where obviously there’s a lot of money that can be lost by doing that incorrectly. What are some of the common pitfalls that you see with different companies that make it so that they can screw this opportunity up? What are some of the things that are roadblocks that people hit that either keep them from being able to stay in business or keep them from really being able to take their revenues to the next level?

Joe : A lot of them is with a solar company, it’s the smaller solar companies that don’t have the finance companies that the bigger ones have so sometimes their offers are not as good. People genuinely think they can throw $200 a week at ads. It doesn’t make sense but people actually do that so it’s you know. Again you gotta pay to play so they gotta be willing to spend four or five thousand. At a minimum I would say six thousand a minimum monthly. If you really wanna start generating appointments cause it’s that volume that .. you know Facebook is correcting itself with cost however, that volume catches up. So you want that lead to appointment ratio to be 20%, 25%. So you’re spending say ten thousand . You should be generating , I’m not a real good math guy but you should get a hundred appointments out of that or whatever it is but it should be enough appointments where you’re closing deals, cover the costs and make a ton of money.

Jake : What kind of closing ratio would you say is common? Obviously, it’s different all across the board but if you were to make a generalization. Do you think it’s like one out of four appointments? One of ten appointments? How many people, it seems like a fairly easy sale so it seems like that ratio is probably pretty high compared to other industries.

Joe : Yeah, the closing ratio is high depending on the area. Again, it depends on the electric company but I would say it’s hard to generalize. If you look at Illinois, if you’re not closing over fifty percent, there’s a problem. Florida is a little bit higher or a little bit lower as far as closing. You’re probably going to be in the, depending on how vetted the lead is. You should probably be 1 to 4, 1 to 5. Some companies go out there to get the electric bill and then they don’t set an appointment to get the proposal out to the people. So it comes down to process but I would say, lead to sale, lead appointment to sale, you should definitely be one in five leads that you generate should set an appointment and then one out of four or five of those leads should sell.

Jake : That’s definitely pretty high. Is there any places geographically where solar doesn’t make sense? I mean, obviously a place like Florida is gonna have much more sun than in Illinois. How’s the technology work with places that have a little bit more of the four seasons kind of climate versus places that are typically sunny year round like Florida. Do the solar panels work in the winter?

Joe : You use less power in the winter than you do in the summer. It’s what’s called net metering so you’re actually hooked up to the grid so that the grid would be your so called battery. It’s like debits and credits. You’re selling the solar you produce back to the solar company. You’re getting credits for energy that you use. Different states have different rates so some areas don’t make sense as far as … you know the rates are just so low. As far as the Sun being out, all the states we’re in, there’s really no issues. It just comes down to awareness like California is so far ahead in the solar game where the customers are already pretty much educated on it. Even though the leads are more expensive it’s still an easier sale. In Florida, we’re not so educated on solar here. People are really unfamiliar with it so it’s a lot more of an education based sale when you’re going out there.

Jake : I know that you’re a busy guy, you got a lot of stuff that you got to get to so I don’t want to take you, take too much of your time away from your work day today but before we wrap things up can you please let everybody know the best way to get in touch with you so that if they’re looking for solar leads, if they have a solar company that needs more help setting appointments, getting more leads coming in off Facebook. How can they get in touch with you Joe?

Joe : I would say the best way to get in touch with me would probably be either email or through Facebook. You can email me at joseph@powersolusa.com. That’s p-o-w-e-r-s-o-l-u-s-a.com. My Facebook, I know a lot of people that probably see this or either friends with me or mutual friends so just Joseph Kenney. That’s probably the best way.

Jake : We’ll put a contact form under this or a link to a contact form if you’re watching this on Youtube or on our website, wherever you see it and if you’re listening to the audio online then “joe@powersol”, one more time

Joe : “Joseph”, j-o-s-e-p-h @powersolusa.com.

Jake : Perfect. So aside from the… One last question before we wrap it up Joe. I know that you’re busy. You mentioned that you’re also putting a course together, to help other people that are aspiring marketers to be able to do what you do?

Joe : Yeah, we’re working on putting together a course for solar lead generation. We just wanna do it real time and not. You know, most of the courses you see out there were what works 6 months ago. That’s one of the hesitations that I’ve had with it, is if we put out a course, we want to have what’s working today. Well, it’s working in the solar industry right now to generate leads and not what works 6 months ago or a year ago, what’s gonna get you kicked off Facebook and things like that. So it’s something we have in the works, it’s probably going to be, I would say in the end of March. It’ll just be open probably for maybe two or three months and then we’ll close it and open a new one. One of the cool things is that if you do get the course, we have someone that’s willing to buy all the leads that you generate so there’s a good opportunity there.

Jake : Pretty much a done-for-you kind of solution. They just gotta insert their own marketing dollars and use the formula that you provide them and pretty much they can use that to turn into a cash machine. Is that what you’re saying?

Joe : Yeah. Pretty much, you don’t have to go find a client. We’ll buy all your leads.

Jake : Wow, wow. Definitely if you want to get on the waitlist on that course, contact Joe about that on the contact form or by sending an email. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and explain the kind of ins and outs of the solar industry, provided an incredible amount of value and really really happy to have you here on the podcast. It’s a really lucrative industry and I don’t think many people really understand the ins and outs of it and once it’s explained in the way that you explained it, it’s a very very good opportunity to get into so thank you so much Joe.

Joe : Yeah man. Anytime.

Jake : Alright.

Joe : Alright. You guys have a good one.

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