Description of the situation
In January 2014, a woman called me and proposed that I meet with an advisor regarding installing solar panels on the roof of my house. She briefly presented the benefits, which were so attractive (free hot water on sunny days, and a 45% subsidy for the installation) that I decided to agree to the meeting. The first available date for the advisor’s visit was in three weeks. It was a long three weeks. I was really waiting for this meeting, especially since I would be the first one in the neighbourhood with solar panels! (it seems silly now, but not then). Finally the day arrived, and the clock struck the appointed time. I waited 15 minutes, and then half an hour, and nobody showed up. I called the advisor’s number and got a message that their voicemail was full. Eh, I thought, typical salesman...However, after a moment of disappointment, a completely different idea came to my mind: Well, if I want to be so modern and economical, my neighbours probably also want to be, so instead of getting upset, why don’t I get into this business?
The decision was made. Although the RES (Renewable Energy Sources) market is large, I focused my attention on a small area (a niche) - solar installations. I searched online and found a company which has produced solar panels for several years. I have read their reviews - there were no negative ones. So, I called and was told that the subsidies, or rather the preferential loans offered by just two banks, would only be available only until the end of April 2014.Despite all that, I made an appointment for the next day to become an authorised partner of a company which sells and installs solar panels.
The training lasted two days. I received information, materials, brochures, and the opportunity to participate in three meetings with potential clients run by one of the advisors. I decided that I was in a good place with a good product, but not at the best time - I had less than three months to act.
After returning home, I immediately ordered the distribution of 12,000 leaflets in two cities (one with a population of 20,000 and the other with 45,000), but the response was small. That's why, in desperation, I directed 4,000 leaflets to rural areas. And here came the first big surprise: despite the smaller number of leaflets, I received ten times the response. Even so, I could have at most 1 or 2 meetings a day, and that's not enough to succeed. The more so that some potential customers behaved like the salesman I mentioned earlier - when I arrived, they pretended not to be home. In addition, it turned out that I had to divide the working day into two parts: appointments in rural areas in the morning and urban areas in the afternoon and evening. That meant a lot of miles and unwanted separation from my family, because I was leaving at 7:00 and returning after 22:00, though I got to see a lot of places and meet a lot of people.