It’s no secret that many salespeople are drawn to the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries because they want to make a positive impact on the environment. Helping businesses increase their sustainability profile is a worthwhile and noble cause. However, it’s not always wise to lead with the environmental agenda in business-related sales settings. Even if the individual you are addressing is an environmentalist, his or her employer’s agenda will set the tone for the discussion and ultimately determine the fate of your proposal.
That said, the environmental angle might actually prove to be useful as long as it’s positioned properly. More specifically, while your prospect’s business may not have “saving the trees, seas, and honeybees” featured prominently on its goal sheet, someone even more important actually might: its customers.
Consider this study by the Nielson Company, in which 66% of survey respondents said they were willing to pay more for products and services that came from companies committed to positive environmental impact. A key driver for these consumers was the perception that the business was engaged in environmentally friendly practices, and energy efficiency and renewable energy projects certainly fit that bill. And if you are pitching to a business that is targeting the famous Millennial demographic, the effect is even greater: almost 75% of respondents in the 15-20 age group said they were willing to pay more for products from businesses that value sustainability.
Your prospect needn’t be a financial expert to understand that figures like these could be leveraged to drive revenues. Feel free to recommend that your prospect prominently feature the details of your energy project in its marketing materials. This marketing should illustrate genuinely quantitative reductions in emissions and carbon footprint, along with any applicable ratings that the improvement may have enabled, such as the acquisition of an ENERGY STAR® label for the subject property. Environmentally conscious consumers will find concrete facts to be more impressive than simply talking a green game.
The trend lines in consumer attitudes are clear: every year, consumers are more concerned with the environment and more willing to vote with their dollars. Illustrate to your business prospects that consumers will continue to flock to companies that are viewed as environmental stewards. When you combine this positive PR angle with the financial benefits of your proposed energy-related upgrades, your prospects will start realizing that they can’t afford not to go green.
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