Cory Vaughan has had the dream job, not once, but 3 times in his career.  He knows the highs and lows of the "Solarcoaster" better than most in our industry.  And he's spent a decent amount of time thinking about what he's learned from it all.  I'm lucky. We've been friends awhile, and he didn't mind spending 2+ hours with me on a Saturday to get some of it recorded for posterity - and as a bonus YOU get to hear it!

One thing I love about Cory is He knows how to get the buyer, the decision maker in a deal to ask "What's next?"

This is an unbelievably hard skill.

But it’s not the most important skill when you are growing your business or your sales team.

Just yesterday I was chatting with a business owner who admitted that he fears most of his commercial team are dealing with time-wasters. And as we know, time kills all deals.  He's mostly afraid that they are working on already-dead deals, they just haven't realized it yet, or that they're being used as a pawn for a negotiation with another company and haven't yet found the decision maker or economic buyer in order to get real buying signals. This solar company owner also is concerned that his commercial team still doesn't understand how to condense the story and qualify prospects quickly. Cory helps his team(s) avoid this, and it's one of the ways he's been able to rise from obscurity to being one of the top sales guys in our industry, wash, rinse, repeat.

I will tell you the most important skill. And Cory explains more clearly on the podcast.

The most important skill is to have your story down cold - know why you bring more value than your would-be competition, and move your "listener" along the story arc to the point they are ready to say, "great, what's next?".

Here’s the gap: The best in your profession have skills, experience, and they know how to sit down and DO something every day.

The beginners: they WANT to do something. They PLAN to do something. They SAY they will eventually do it. They THINK they have the skills they need.

But they never do it.

The ones who succeed. They have the arrogance to think they can just simply go out and do it. Despite not having the skills. Despite perhaps being total amateurs. They simply go out and DO IT.

By doing it, you LEARN the skills, you DO the job, and you get better.

DOING is the only way to succeed. Most people stop before this point.

Cory doesn’t typically surround himself with amateurs, as we discussed in Part 1 (how he thinks about building his team), but in all cases, his team gets out there and gets it done ahead of their peers. 

And his experience and example have been huge for me. He's been a mentor and friend in my professional career, and I'm still learning from him.  I hope you do to.

In today's episode, part 2 of my session with Cory and the 3rd episode in the "Solar Pioneers" series, we get into detail about:

  • The truth about SunEdison's rooftop leasing program and whether it created an advantage for them
  • How SunEdison set up regulatory affairs and gathered inside information on upcoming market development as a stealth way for their sales teams to look around corners and plan market development
  • How his team seemed to Always be ahead of the cost curve on solar project pricing
  • What it was really like to ride the rise and fall of the MEMC acquisition (of Sunedison)
  • Cory's vision for financing and storage solutions that will help the C&I market
  • Hot or Not, from DG to SAAS-for-solar to grid stabilization
  • Cory's advice to developers from his owned lessons learned
  • And what he'd do differently if he could start over with SunEdison again

Cory just doles out so much advice and insight in this follow-on episode, gleaning from 20+ yrs of experience selling solar!

Nota bene: Since the recording, Cory has merged his consulting practice with Lamb Energy to become EVP for the well-known EPC and energy services company out of Southern California owned for 26 yrs by Scott & Beverly Bailey.

We were also able to dig up a great video of Cory as Manager of BP Solar from 1998 - I link to the video in the show notes over at - it's a must-see if you've known or met Cory personally!

Hope you've had an epic week of DOING something to move your career, your company and your goals to the next step! What's next?

If you like what you hear, or read, please SHARE it!

Books Mentioned:

How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

Video Link:

The video I mentioned above of Cory in his prime back in the BP Solar Days - it's a must-see. ;-)

Earthchange II ..attack of the CO2s (1998) - part two

And, what I'm reading this week:

Idea To Execution - Ari Meisel

And one of my favorite Videos to watch lately about Storytelling - short & informative:

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories


About the Host of SunCast:

Nico Johnson is the creator and host of SunCast, a regular conversation with Solar Industry professionals who are leading in emerging solar markets.  The content of the show is geared towards listeners looking for insights on where the markets are headed, how to position themselves or their companies, and what today's market leaders do to stay ahead of the pack.

Nico is a 10-year veteran of the solar industry, having led development in the US and Latin America for global companies like Trina Solar and Conergy.  He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and is considered one of the market's leading experts on solar PV expansion in the region.

Nico can be reached on Linked In

or by email