“How to sell green” is maybe the most often question I get from business owners and sales leaders.
Consumers increasingly say they want green products. But my green business friends report that too often the consumer talks green but buys something else. The challenge is how to enable consumers to buy the green products they say they want to buy.
What Does Not Work?
Here’s what we do know about what does not grow green revenues. The first key insight is that education does not sell You cannot educate a consumer into buying a green product. Think Charmin.
Do they sell their toilet paper based on thread count?
In your mind you can see the answer. Charmin sells because “it is squeezable soft!” So why are you trying to sell your green product or service by droning on about its engineering?
Tricking or scaring people over global warming also does not work. 65% of Americans say climate change is real. So the education on climate change is working. Yet, we are setting all time sales records for full size trucks and SUVs.
If climate change is not keeping people from buying gas guzzlers then how will you scare them into buying your green product? The answer is you will not.
Sales are driven by our emotions. It is called impulse marketing. It is the lynchpin of sales success in our consumerist society.
The sales question is how does your green product align with consumer impulses?
For example, “low VOC” is a key description of greener paints. Research documents that 95% of consumers do not believe they can describe what this term means. 74% think it could be bad, not good. Sales success is tied to aligning your green product with the consumers’ emotional impulses. It is not tied to technical or industry-specific language.
What Does Work
You can grow green sales. Many companies are doing so. Their sales success is based on marketing acumen.
I look to Suzanne Shelton, founder of Shelton Group, for green marketing insights. She points to three key components of green marketing success.
Here are the 3 ways to grow your small business green sales:
That means stay away from the technical or industry-specific jargon. Figure out the motivating words your customers are using and repeat them back to them. It also means making an emotional connection. Humor makes an emotional connection. Sexiness makes an emotional connection. Love makes an emotional connection. Low VOC, zero emissions and more efficient do not.
Pictures are worth at least a thousand words. This is an ad for a green builder. What do you see, or better, what do you experience?
That pretty girl got my attention. Her provocative statement made me want to stay on the ad to figure out what she was saying. Then I noticed the open ceiling. What is that all about? This is a great example of how you market a green product. It just the same as how you market a non-green product.
Next- growing small business greensales #3 and takeaway
About the author
Bill Roth is the Founder of Earth 2017. Roth is a nationally-recognized business coach that has successfully enabled hundreds of business owners to win new customers, grow product revenues and cut costs. His most recent book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles best practices in pricing, marketing and branding that win millennial generation customers and their moms! Roth has served as the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com and coach for the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Green Builds Business program. Roth’s has held numerous executive leadership roles in the development of clean technology projects including the launch of thefirst hydrogen-fueled Prius. Follow him on TwitterWebsite