Keep your eye on the new laws that will change the way we position products and companies in California. It does give you hope while nothing changes in DC.
Keep your eye on the new laws that will change the way we position products and companies in California. It does give you hope while nothing changes in DC.
Money can buy airtime, but can’t change deeply held opinions.
After $2 billion in advertising what have we learned about selling to those with entrenched ideas? The effective GOP game plan was to cluster bomb the field with fliers and mistruths close to the election time giving the opposing side little time to correct the wrong information. As Mark Twain wrote, “Lies will get half way around the world before the truth can get it’s shoes on.”
Make it stopppppp
The more often you heard a message, the more likely you are to believe it and then buy what they are selling. That is why the GOP kept pouring more and more last minute cash into media with the DEMs matching them until they both made a four-year old cry.
Message overkill won’t work on a business prospect, however, instead it makes them cry out for you to just go away – FAST and FOREVER.
What will work?
How do you get someone who is in love with their ideas, products, and services to try something different? How do we get the traditionally entrenched to go from NO to MAYBE to YES when it comes to sustainable products and services that they’ve never seen before?
According to a great article in Pacific Standard to move people off the their position first they have to experience their own ignorance. How researchers did that around hot political issues was by asking people to explain the mechanics of an issue — What exactly is single payer insurance or GMOs, or our energy policy? When people had to explain an issue and couldn’t, they moderated their own views and opened the door to new information. Read the full article here.
Ask for an explanation always instead of feelings.
When I was a new sales rep, one of the suggested strategies was to find out how your customer feels and then align yourself with them. If your opinions agree, that’s good, but it’s still not a sale. If their opinion is not yours and you counter it, you negate their feelings, lose the sale and probably the rights a second sales call. But if you ask for an explanation to soften the sale first…
After subjects tried (and usually failed) to explain a policy they judged as laudable or odious, they not only revised downward their level of true understanding, but also moderated their position on the issue. And those who reported the greatest decreases in understanding also showed the greatest degree of moderation. taken from Pacific Standard
Pew Research soften the political camps by putting out an 11 point quiz on really, REALLY basic questions surrounding this election. Go ahead and take the quiz, I’ll wait…..
How did you do? Regardless of how many you got right or wrong, the quiz and its results establishes how truely ignorant we all are even after $2 billion in “education.” Think about it, if $2 billion in repetitive ads can’t educate us, then how will one-time collateral material get a prospect over the hump?
Would a quiz/survey about the big picture of sustainability work for you? Now is the time to do it. We are all at the beginning of this green learning curve when it’s ok to admit we don’t know what we don’t know. Surely they provide more value calling your prospect over and over and over with the same soundbite.
Give it a shot and may the lines at your voting place be short.
Next week AASHE.org will be in LA with about 1200 educators, administrators, students, and concerned businesses. It brings with it a heavy agenda for how to embed sustainable solutions into the campus, teachers, and students.
I’m attended as both a listener as to what ecolutionary ideas universities and colleges across the nation are advancing plus contribute some ideas of my own for bringing education and business together. Look for daily takeaways here on Ecolutionary Selling and a final summary over on In Women We Trust, the speaker’s bureau comprised of leaders in the green social media field, women’s issues, education, and culture.
What brings me, a business person, to AASHE? A couple years ago while consulting for the LACCD Build program, I met Professor Marcela Oliva who teaches architecture to urban LA students at LA Trade Tech. Some people think outside the box, and then there’s Marcela who stacks the boxes together, stands on top, and reaches for more boxes… Her teaching techniques have had tremendous success training students in two years how to be critical, synergistic thinkers and skilled spatial data visualizers – earning her the Teacher of the Year award at LA Trade Tech.
You can feel the creative energy the moment you walk into Marcela’s studio. Can it be duplicated? What if we can package her template for success to help other schools do the same thing? Her unique system for employing traditional class work with open source education and internship that keeps her students engaged, excited and wanting to learn more. More importantly, the students have almost 100% job placement or transfer to a four year program. Recently, I asked one student what being in her program meant to him. Without hesitation he replied, “I’ve never been turned down for a job.”
That’s why I’m at AASHE. To help connect more dots between business and education. We need to foster programs that create a sustainable world - FAST. You can meet Marcela and myself, Monday at 11 during her Advanced Track presentation: Visualizing and Modeling the Drivers in a Holistic Built Environment: Social Justice through Spatial Tools. Attendees will learn how to use a simple model to convey balanced ideas, synergistic business models, and open collaboration for the human-built environment.
For the last post in the 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge series, I’m going to aggregate the topics of, Carbon Footprint, Energy Efficiency, Resource Consumption, Greenhouse Gases, and Ozone Depletion under the PROVE IT category–all are interconnected and all will soon be requiring proof by federal, state, and local governments as well as retail giants such as Wal Mart.
Holy smokes, what’s a simple sales rep to do? Everyone knows we aren’t rocket scientists, how can we prove that our product and company is being honest about its environmental impact?
The truth is, we can’t prove anything unless the company invests in a tracking program that will monitor and aggregate all of the above information into a useable report which could be audited just like taxes. The reports are what we sales types will want in our files–when our clients ask the tough eco-questions, we’ll be ready with tangible evidence.
That’s no small task, but fortunately by the time the mandates hit the streets in 2011, there will be plenty of ways to get to the bottom line. The Los Angeles Community College District comprising of nine campuses, is using Conserviscorp.com to track the “Prove It” areas as well as water and other resources. The Conservis product is sustainable standard agnostic, as standards change, it can be updated to meet the new requirements and audit issues.
Yes, this will cost companies money up front, but it will also save tons of money on the backend as energy wasters are identified and fixed–they’ll be spending far less on operational costs. It also will help to put truth back into your green advertising. The marketing department will love having facts to back up their messaging.
What did I miss in this series that you would like to see addressed? Please send me your thoughts at Mary@ECOlutionarySelling.com
Part 9 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.
Do people really care about human rights, will they actually want to know before they buy a product if families in another country were impacted? The sad truth is, not enough would care, but the few do could cause big problems for your brand and stop a sale in it’s tracks.
No one wants to be guilty by association and now that companies are expected to know what their supply chain is doing, there is no place to hide and no excuse.
A human rights statement is the first step. It needs to be easy to locate on the corporate website so that the sales teams can point to it quickly. It also needs to be good for it’s word or the competition’s sales force will use it against you.
RainTech states the following:
We think that a successful company has a responsibility to increase stakeholder value, not just shareholder value. That means that we look out for our community, employees, purchasers, sellers, vendors, and the world in which we live. By using locally produced materials we lessen our footprint on the earth and contribute to our local economy. We also support numerous charitable organizations including Save the Rain and Charity Water, who work diligently to enable underserved communities to harness the power of the rain, thereby making a difference in their corner of the world.
At the end of the eco-day, co-creating a sustainable world means being kind to the planet and each other first and always before commission checks.
Part 8 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.
You’ve heard about long-tail sales, it’s when the right side of the sales bell curve extends out indefinately as buyers can buy things forever off the web and retailers don’t need to discontinue products. Think about itunes and how songs that have long run their course are still being purchased. In many cases the cumulative affect of that long-tail surpasses the sales generated inside a typical bell curve sales cycle.
The cost of owning a product has a long-tail as well. With green products, which tend to cost more initially, installation, use and maintenance becomes the long, green-tail of total cost. Seasoned reps know how to step around this one, but for the newbies in the audience, lets break it down.
1. Money. What’s this gizmo going to cost up front.
2. Money. What’s this gizmo going to cost over its lifetime? When it comes to working with a new, green product line:
Add up the bigger package and pretty soon you can demonstrate where you outshine the other contenders. As a sales leader you should have a checklist or FAQ of the above ready to go and part of your second call proposal.
If you have an LCA conducted on the product, make that available as well as the Material Safety Data Sheet. Companies, consumers and investors are all looking to avoid risk. The more you can prove that your product’s risk is low along with long-term costs the closer you are to closing the sale.
Part 5 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.
If someone asked you for your Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), you probably could send them one, but do you know what’s on it? More accurately, do you know what’s IN your product’s production?
More and more buyers have a redline list – things that they ask their buyers to watch for in products. If they learn that these chemicals are present, then they are encouraged not to buy that product.
When was the last time you looked at your MSDS sheet or had a sales training class on it? Can you make a solid statement that there are no POPs in your product (Pervasive Organic Pollutants).
Go HERE for the original POP “Dirty Dozen” followed by nine more added recently. How well would your sales staff do on a “POP” quiz?
Cholorinated Polyethylene &
Chlorosulfonated Polyethlene (except HDPE and LDPE)
Halogenated Flame Retardants (PBDE, TBBA, HBCD, Deca-BDE, TCPP, TCEP, Decholorane Plus, Bromine or Chlorine
They will also want to know if steps have been taken to reduce the use of toxic materials in the production process, and are there any outputs from the manufacturing process of this product on any of the following toxic materials lists?
EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) List
Office of the Environmental Health Hazard Assessment List of Chemicals know to cause Cancer and Birth Defects.
DOE BNL Carcinogens Table
Next time you hold a sales training, be sure to include a good game of ”Toxin Bingo” .
Part 2 of 16 Things for a Green Sales Edge.
Pop quiz – you’re sitting in front of your client and they ask, “What’s your environmental policy”? Can you:
A) Quote them the mission statement?
B) Point them to the website that has it and more published?
C) Be so well versed that you’re able to talk about in terms of manufacturing, installation and use of the product, what happens at the end of the product’s life and what your company’s social profile?
The sales force at Forbo Flooring can do all of the above, their Marmoleum flooring is the poster product for sustainable floors. I’ve been tracking “Marmoleum” on Google alerts for about a year to see what people are willing to write about it. Almost every one is praising the product and they often mention a sustainable attribute along with the color they selected. That’s great sales at work, AFTER the sale.
Go here to download Forbo’s Sustain brochure. (top left corner) Then use it as a base to develop your own environmental policy statement and brochure.
GREEN is the new GR$$N
A few weeks back, Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies posted the question, “What is your prediction for sales in the coming year”? Since Jill’s popular site gathers the best in sales leadership, I was very interested in learning what top gurus would say. They offered many valuable ideas, but I was surprised that no one mentioned GREEN VALUE , sustainable attributes or Life Cycle Assessments in their predictions. Where was the need to know how to speak green to big companies, campuses or municipalities?
In the next 16 posts I’ll provide what we look for at the Los Angeles Community College District (where I consult) and how you can add green value to your sales process. First let’s get everyone up to speed on where the green market is now and why it’s critical to be seen as a ’10′ at the beginning of this eco-market decade.
1. It’s already past the tipping point…
In the Business to Consumer world, Wal Mart is asking their vendors to be fluent in GREEN. Because Wal Mart cares, the Sustainability Consortium came about to help develop a global program to benchmark Sustainable Standards based on science, not a great marketing program.
In the Business to Business world, the USGBC has been on top of the green game for years via their LEED certification process for creating green buildings. LEED provides the framework for tallying credits that can be substantiated; for example putting a bike rack in front of your building will earn you credit for encouraging lower carbon footprints in transportation. What it doesn’t do is ask, “What’s the carbon footprint of that bike rack while it was being manufactured across its entire manufacturing supply chain”?
The Los Angeles Community College District, is asking its vendors to provide green value statements with their product bids even though the LACCD is required by the state of California to buy via the lowest cost. It’s an awkward position to be in as the LACCD wants to walk the talk, but it is hindered by state requirements. These green value statements are a first-step-bridge to “green talking points” that the LACCD can quote from later should a product be selected. In other words… it’s a competitive edge.
As for cost…. today, providing a green product does add dollars, but those dollars are now getting in line with the traditional options. At the same time, bid requirements are raising the green bar for what is acceptable and what isn’t; for example, the LACCD has a list of banned chemicals. (we’ll talk about it in an upcoming post).
In a couple of years, I predict that only products that can meet sustainable standards will be part of the bid process regardless of the institution. The winning standard will be made under consensus, be LCA based, and require third party audits. At some point everyone will have to walk the talk all the way down to the products they use. It isn’t enough that buildings may be energy neutral, water efficient and toxin free if the manufacturing processes to provide the products used, aren’t.
2. Academics are leading the way and setting students on a new course
The LACCD is comprised of 10 campuses serving over 225,000 students. It is deploying over $6 billion in bond money to make all 10 campuses as sustainable as possible. That’s a lot of influence and getting a Master Agreement Contract would make a nice commission check for anyone. In Wal Mart terms, it’s a gorilla of B2B market influence. Getting your products embedded with green market leaders like the LACCD may lock in your green market position for this entire decade. That’s worth knowing how to speak green.
3. Companies, municipalities and governments are under extreme pressure to bring down energy, water cost while lowering employees exposure to toxins, they need decision-making help.
There are over 300 sustainable standards all vying to be THE pro-active benchmark that everyone follows. At the moment, with no clear market winner, no one knows which standard to certify to that will provide the most market clout. What you can do is start the LCA process which will substantiate the claims you make on a later standard and back up any sales and collateral material. Meanwhile read up on what the ASTM E2129 standard requires. You can also go to Green Building Pages and see how many questions you can answer of the 160 asked. GBP covers the ASTM 2120E questions. Don’t be put off if your product isn’t a “building” product. The questions pertain to both the B2C and B2B worlds.
Clearly the next 10 years will be revolutionary times. The next 16 posts will help position your sales staff to the group leading the Ecolution.
NEXT: Finding Green Marketing Safety in OSHA