Different Sells for Different Folks

August 15, 2012
By

These guys aren't going to talk much about climate change. Should you?

We’ve reported recently about the growing environmental argument to selling energy efficiency systems—even that drought can be a business opportunity. But we know that many people simply won’t respond to an environmental or conservationist message.

You simply can’t sell energy efficiency as a climate change issue to everyone—and nor should you. You have to figure out what kind of client you’re dealing with, and pitch them according to the topics they will respond to. That’s not easy, but you’ve got to look for clues. Is there a Prius in the driveway? Go ahead and sell energy efficiency as a way to mitigate climate change. Hummer in the driveway? Find another topic.

As Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI) explained in a very instructional presentation last year at the CEDIA (Custom Electronic design & Installation Association) Expo in Indianapolis, you’ve got to sell the idea of green or energy efficiency differently, to different kinds of people.  Here’s Costello’s breakdown of different types of clients, with some of my own comments.

ConservationistsSuper-greenies who want to save energy, reduce toxins. They may not be your best market for energy-using home electronics, however.

Penny Pincher—Wants to know how much it costs and what it will save. Includes many white males over 40. Justifying ROI here can be the problem.

Environmentalists—They want to do things for the environment; this includes Hollywood crowd and Greenpeace donors. Stress climate change, energy savings, ridding the world of hazardous substances.

Global Citizens—Largely immigrants who see tremendous waste in our society and view it as amoral. Many people, and not just immigrants, also respond more positively to energy efficiency if it’s couched in terms of eliminating waste rather than saving.

Concerned Mother—She’s concerned about toxins and healthy air and other products in the home. Sell healthy home products like energy and heat recovery ventilation (ERVs and HRVs) systems that circulate fresh air 24/7.

Socially Conscious—They like to spend time with friends and act as a social pack. This can include more than the Facebook crowd, though. Tap the “socially conscious” millionaire who wants to show off his 10,000-square-foot home as being “green.”

Patriot—Interested in national security and may respond to energy independence. Also includes 40 and over crowd, but you shouldn’t have to justify savings.

Self-Sufficiency—They want to go off the grid. They’re looking for solar PV systems and battery storage, generators, wind turbines. We’re seeing more of this as these systems become more and more available, especially among the wealthy building second homes not near power lines or on isolated islands.

You may also like:

Make Efficiency a Status Buy

The 12-Step Program to Better Green Marketing

Super Green = Luxury, Report Says

Big-Ass Green is OK

When Green Isn’t About Green

Q&A: Selling to Retro

GreenTech Hummers, Anyone?

 

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