As you know I recently returned from speaking to over 400 sales professionals at two different companies. The first company is a multi-state regional retailer of building products. The second company is a national green products manufacturer/installer. Both groups sold directly to builders/remodelers and both groups wanted to learn more about green building for themselves and also what resources they could share with their builders who wanted to become greener.
Isn’t that interesting? They wanted to learn about resources that would benefit their builders who also wanted to learn green. That desire to help their customers is what brought me to them after all. It was a chance to help them in their business, which I knew would ultimately help me in mine. To that at end I gave them all a “To-Do” List of items to accomplish in the year ahead to help them reach their goals. Items I believe will increase their sales and make their customers stronger! In no particular order I recommended the following 11 ideas:
1. Know your product & your competition. As a green builder I regularly know more about a salesperson’s product than they do. If you are a vendor selling green, learn your stuff as well as you know the old sticks and bricks. Learn how it stacks up to the competition before you come calling on me. Practice at home, not in my office.
2. Learn about basic building science. That means know how what you are selling fits into they larger system of which it is a part. Maybe that’s a wall or floor system. Perhaps the thermal envelope or drainage plane. Just know it.
3. Keep it simple. No two hour presentation please. Just the basics. Think green lists. Where does it fit? Show me fast, then follow my lead if more detail is warranted.
4. Never, ever email a proposal. No matter how much I kick and scream, insist on bringing it to me and walking me through it. Don’t expect or ask for a signed contract but don’t let me off the hook either — make sure I understand what you quoted.
5. Address my fears. Lots of new stuff on the market that I am afraid could get me in trouble. Leverage that. Explain how you will keep my butt out of court and my client happy.
6. Sell to the ego. We all have one so don’t ignore it. Peer pressure can be a wonderful motivator and since nobody wants to be left behind, assure me that by using what you are selling not only will I not be left behind my competition, I will remain out in front of them.
7. Throw out your stereotypes of green building and green builders. It doesn’t matter if I am (or you think I am) a tree hugging, Sierra Club loving vegetarian, if you want my Green (or my clients) you best learn that those stereotypes are fast becoming obsolete. Red or blue, we are all buying green!
8. Remain generous in partnering on legit green homes. Just because your builder wants a sweet deal doesn’t mean you should give it. Save your sponsorships and underwriting for unique, professionally designed and built, nationally certified green homes. Do not settle for anything less!
9. Get your CGP designation. Where else will you get to spend three straight days sitting in a room with potential clients from 9 to 5? I mean a room full of builders and remodelers for three straight days, this should be a no-brainer!
11. Believe it!
a. Green ain’t going away
b. Obsolete building practices are history
c. 3rd party inspection are the wave of the future
d. Green does not have to cost more
I hope you can write your own list and take the time to sit down with your key business partners and do some sharing, some strategic planning together. Whether these partners are suppliers, trade contractors or manufacturer reps is up to you. But I believe if you share your insights and wisdom on how they can make their business greener, it will ultimately makes your greener as well!
Get building science and energy efficiency advice, plus special offers, in your inbox.