How to Become a Calling Agent to Generate Solar Leads
You might enjoy a career as a calling agent, also called a telemarketer, if you enjoy talking with people, making presentations, embodying a persuasive personality, and working from home or in an office environment.
Telemarketer Salary Potential
In the US, call agents typically earn $30,297 per year, according to ZipRecruiter’s annual average salary information. Salaries for this career range from $16,000 to $49,000. They depend upon the education and experience of the telemarketer, their persuasiveness, the products sold, their base salary, and their commission rate.
That means that as a calling agent, you’d earn about $15 per hour on average. Sticking with this career offers an opportunity for advancement. The position of telemarketing manager requires added education and compliance requirements, but it comes with a salary increase. The call center manager typically earns an average US salary of $51,613 annually.
If management’s not your thing, you could specialize within the career field of calling agents. The job title of “lead generation specialist” falls within the career field of “calling agent” or “telemarketer.” You’ll need both education and experience to land the higher-paying job, though.
As a lead generation specialist, rather than selling a product, you generate leads for a business. For example, you would generate free solar leads for a solar installer and get paid per install or generate solar leads for a company that sells solar leads.
This involves classifying a lead as cold, warm, or hot and, in some cases, converting the lead into a sale. You might work for a specific company that handles direct leads for it or for a lead-generation company that sells solar leads to companies in a specific industry, such as solar installations.
In the US, a lead-generation specialist earns an average annual salary of $33,641, with a pay range of $19,545 to $57,902, according to Indeed. Salaries at private solar companies offer some of the highest-paying jobs. Major solar installers like Momentum Solar and Solar Energy pay $85,290 per year and $84,128 per year for specialists who generate solar leads for their companies.
Call center agents choose between part-time and full-time positions. Some companies also offer contract or temporary positions. The position typically pays more if you work in a major city or in a telemarketing hub, such as San Mateo, Daly City, or Boston. Those three US cities offer the highest pay for the job of a calling agent.
While general telemarketing shrank in its job outlook in recent years, the area of lead generation grew. Due to the lowering of the cost of solar panels and other materials, and government incentives for their installation, the solar energy industry blossomed.
While the solar installation industry uses inbound marketing methods like search engine optimization (SEO) websites and blogs to attract customers, it also uses telemarketing, relying on the good old-fashioned telephone to reach out to potential customers for solar-lead generation.
You need to know more than how to dial a telephone to become a calling agent, though. Today’s telemarketing uses computer software, such as robo-dialers, voice-over-IP telephone lines, and high-tech headsets. There’s no physical dialing involved, nor do you hold a handset.
Some positions as a calling agent only require a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED). More than half the individuals with this job hold a bachelor’s degree, typically in marketing or advertising. Those who attain the job of call center manager typically hold a master’s degree in the same field or in business.
If your personality is suited to it, a career as a calling agent provides an excellent opportunity for advancement. That’s because you can find an entry-level job by earning the basic educational requirements and taking additional classes while you work. Using this strategy helps you build your education and experience at the same time. When you show that you’ve completed additional education in your work specialty, some employers offer a salary increase.
Starting Your Education
Even if you have yet to graduate high school, you can start learning how to do the job of a calling agent, telemarketer, or solar lead-generation specialist. Many organizations, such as Udemy, EdApp, HubSpot, and Coursera, offer free or low-cost courses to prepare you for this career.
Courses that provide a certificate typically cost a little, but you can find some Udemy courses on sale at various times for less than $15. HubSpot offers some free courses with a certificate. Let’s look at some of these free and low-cost options.
Generating Solar Leads through Cold Calls Course
EdApp’s Generating Leads Through Cold Calls offers a free introduction to cold calling that includes the techniques needed to develop and launch the initial sales campaign. Course objectives include the following:
- Cold call definition
- How calling helps generate leads
- Lead types, such as qualified solar leads
- Differences between cold, warm, and hot leads
- Components of an effective cold call
- Expert tips for cold call presentations and closing
Although the course contains about 20 minutes of video, you should watch and study each of its three lessons on different days and practice the knowledge from each lesson between viewings. Each lesson covers only one major topic related to how to generate high-quality leads.
This course breaks down the content into bite-sized chunks that you can finish in just minutes. It’s also easy to follow since each lesson only focuses on one topic at a time.
Knowing Your Market
Follow up the introductory class with this free course from EdApp called Knowing Your Market, which focuses on improving strategies for generating solar leads. By better understanding your current customers, or by building an accurate model or persona of your potential customers, you can launch better-targeted telemarketing campaigns. The course covers the following:
- Fundamentals of market research
- The role of market research lead generation
- How to apply market research to your lead strategies
This course also requires about 20 minutes of total viewing time. It consists of three lessons, ideally consumed on separate days.
Free Course in the App
The Alison Empowerment App offers a free sales prospecting and lead-generation course that covers the seven steps of the sales process, focusing most closely on sales prospecting and lead generation. The course covers the following:
- Understanding customer needs
- Asking the right questions
- Goals and objectives setting
- Creating SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART)
- Sales prospecting
- Lead generation
Alison makes this three-hour class time course free but charges a nominal fee of $20.57 USD for an official certificate of completion.
Introduction to Telemarketing and Sales Training
Another free online course from Alison covers the essentials of telemarketing strategies and specifics of sales talk to help you boost your telephone sales skills. The course also presents the typical customer objections and how to overcome them for a successful close.
This longer course consists of four hours of class time divided into just two modules – one for teaching, and the other for testing. Leave this comprehensive course until last, after you have successfully completed a few online learning courses and know how to manage studying one topic at a time. This lengthy single module requires you to know when to pause the video and quit for the day.
Moving Past Basic Training
Completing telemarketing essentials courses readies you for your job hunt. Once you land your first job and start making a regular salary, set aside money for continuing education. If you want performance raises and to potentially advance within the field, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree. No program specifically covers how to generate solar leads; you complete courses that apply to all lead generation and use your own knowledge to apply it to generating solar leads.
Look for a degree program that covers direct marketing, especially one with at least one course in using robo-dialers and predictive dialers, also called assisted dialers. If you can’t find one, you’ll need to study their use on your own. The course should cover US laws, FCC rules, and FTC regulations related to the topic of assisted dialing.
The lowest cost tuition comes from community colleges and public universities in the state of your residency. If you’ve lived in a particular state for one year, you’re considered a permanent resident of that state. That qualifies you for a lower per-credit-hour tuition cost than if you lived out of state.
According to Best Colleges, community colleges typically charge about $120 per credit hour. A full load of classes in undergraduate study ranges between 10 and 12 hours. That typically equals four courses, with most providing three credit hours once completed. Shop for a school carefully and you could attend one of the best small schools in the US for a tiny expense.
Come Work for Clean Energy Experts
When you’ve mastered the art of generating solar leads, come work for Clean Energy Experts. We lead the way in solar lead generation and sales. You can help discover which US residents want to have solar panels installed on their homes and sell those qualified solar leads to solar installers eager to work.
You’re already visiting our site, so why not look around and get a feel for what we do? If you already have experience as a calling agent, contact us to inquire about openings.