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Marketing Yourself as a Green Building Professional


Things that are fashionable, sexy, new, high-tech. What their neighbors or competitors are doing ... Make it trendy or fashionable or cool. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Marketing Yourself as a Green Building Professional

Marketing Yourself as a Green Building
Professional October 2004 Green Materials
Showcase Marc Richmond, Whats Working, Development of this
presentation is funded by an energy efficiency
grant from the CA Public Utilities Commissions
sourced through energy efficiency public good
charges to California ratepayers. This
information is provided for general education and
informational purposes only and does not
constitute an endorsement, approval or
recommendation of any kind.
Todays Building Owners Want
  • Reduced Operating Costs (utilities maintenance)
  • Quality Indoor Air
  • Reduced Exposure (IAQ, Mold)
  • Comfort, Productivity, Quiet, Safety
  • Quality, Value
  • Green Seal of Approval

What Else Does Your Customer Value?
  • Aesthetics
  • Dollar savings
  • Environmental protection
  • Sense of Community
  • Solutions to their problems, easing the pain of
    owning a building
  • Things that are fashionable, sexy, new, high-tech
  • What their neighbors or competitors are doing

Overview of Market Trends
  • Higher general awareness of green building
  • Government agencies/owners/developers are
    requesting sustainable buildings
  • Increase in sustainable ads, claims, and
  • Buyers are generally ahead of the professionals
    in their awareness

Green Building Market ResearchConducted by
Professional Builder Magazine, 2000-1
  • Consumer preferences
  • How important are the issues?

Green Market Research
  • Benefits to the homeowner
  • What are prospective homeowners looking for?

Green Market Research
  • Upgrades homeowner preferences

Green Market Research
  • What energy conservation features should be
    standard in a new home?

Green Market Research
  • What resource conserving features are important
    to them?

Green Market Research
  • What indoor air quality features are important to

Green Market Research
  • What are they willing to pay to have green
    features in their homes?

Local Market Research conducted by American
Lives, 2002
  • Approximately 50 of respondents would pay
    25-124 or more in added mortgage payments for a
    low energy home equating to 3,750-26,250 - in
    value at 7 interest rate.

Focus Group Comments
  • What are the benefits that homeowners are looking
  • Increased equity/resale value
  • Quality materials, durability
  • Curb appeal
  • Energy efficiency
  • Conclusion Green building has to meet all the
    above criteria before environmental issues will
    be considered.

Focus Group Comments
  • What does green mean to them?
  • Green means paying more for an inferior product
  • Durable means green, but green means not durable
  • What does green really mean?
  • I feel good, but what else do I get from using
    green products?
  • Green products cant be strong or good enough to
    do the job!

Focus Group Comments
  • What would convince them to build green?
  • Trust in the contractor/ architect that he/she is
    truly committed to helping the planet, not just
    bottom line
  • Green Certification
  • Green labels on products (I always read labels)
  • Proof that lumber was responsibly grown and
  • Demonstrated energy savings, money savings
  • Not just being Politically Correct

Focus Group Conclusions
  • Green must provide all of the benefits of typical
    homes AND help people and the planet.
  • People are willing to do the right thing if
    they have quality information to understand it
    will make a difference
  • Other factors (aesthetics, durability) are more
    important than price
  • If you can get past the skepticism and
    greenwashing, they are willing to pay more if
    benefits are proven
  • More education is needed to overcome mythology
    and concern about greenwashing
  • Conclusion for Bay Area professionals is that an
    organized Green Building Program is needed to
    address these issues of lack of education in the

Where are You?
  • How are you doing now?
  • How are others in your area doing?
  • How are others around the country doing?
  • Evaluate your typical specifications processes

Align Yourself with Local Programs Take
Advantage of Their Resources
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Technical advice

Building Materials Database The Materials
Database lists products, local suppliers and
service providers that correspond with guidelines
developed by the Alameda County Waste Management
Authority. Searching the Database There are
three ways to search the Green Resource Database.
Choose from one of the options shown
below Search by Category Choose a Category
Select Category Search By Product Enter the
Name of a Product Enter text
Search Search by Alameda
County Green Measures Construction Type Select
Type To Learn more about Green Building
Guidelines, click here. Listing in this database
should not be construed as a recommendation or
endorsement by the Alameda County Waste
Management Authority or the Alameda County Source
Reduction and Recycling Board, which is providing
the information as a public service to promote
the use of sustainable building materials and
reduce the amount of materials landfilled.
Get Training and Certification
Get on Reference Lists
  • Also
  • Sonoma State Universitys (classes, Green
    Building Professional certificate, and degree
  • SF Institute of Architecture (classes,
    certificates and degree program)

Use GB Guidelines
  • Give to clients to educate them on GB
  • Offer a checklist with scoring for previous
  • Challenge them to compare this to other
    professionals they are interviewing
  • An educated client is desirable

Get Your Name and Concept Out!
  • Sell the concept constantly (You have reached
    ABC Builders, creators of high quality, green
  • Advertise in local papers, magazines, large
    employer newsletters, newcomers magazines, radio,
    web sites
  • Use a green logo on all of your marketing
  • Get free/lost cost advertising in newsletters,
    flyers, web sites. Use co-op advertising to
    share costs

A Green Building Marketplace
Builders Ads
Capitalizing on the Healthy Image
Focus on Family, Children, Health
Model Home Marketing
Green Brochures
  • Differentiate what you do from the competition
  • Highlight the benefits of your green projects

Come Out of Your Cave!
  • Rotary, Lions, Optimist,
  • HBA, NARI, AIA, BOMA, Realty organizations,
    General Contractors, Habitat, Chamber
  • Local Green Building Organization
  • Business Alliances
  • Good to place to meet potential clients
  • Community Involvement
  • Temple, Church, Synagogue, Coven, Drumming Group
  • Neighborhood Association
  • Provide expert advice
  • Volunteer work

Open Up!
  • Get on Home Tours
  • Have an open house
  • Write an article

Get in Newsletters!
Teach a Class!
  • Informal classes at the local College
  • Seminars at Home Shows, Fairs, Professional
    Organization meetings

Its more than a telephone
  • Get the most out of your message
  • Think of your phone message as an ad.
  • Ask them for a name and address and be prepared
    to send them your brochure and card.
  • Offer them the opportunity to e-mail you or visit
    web site (more about that later).
  • Return calls promptly.

Get Wired!
  • E-mail and Web Sites are essential
  • Include information, software, etc.
  • Customer and Associate testimonials
  • Get links to you and link to associates
  • Tell your green story

Web Sites
But dont forget low tech
  • Business Cards (Bulletin Boards, Drawings)
  • Postcard Mailers, Brochures
  • Door hangers, pens, key chains, magnets
  • Phone Book
  • Word of Mouth (talk to everyone, because your
    potential customers are everywhere)
  • Referrals from clients and associates

  • Make sure your sign is visible and readable in
    front of your projects
  • Dont forget your Green Building sign!
  • Car door magnets

Builders Signs
Green Building Professionals are in the Yellow
Green Sales Tactics Get Your Customers Attention!
  • Follow the pain in your marketing!
  • Are you paying too much for utility bills? Are
    you still uncomfortable in your building?
  • Do you get allergies from being inside?
  • Are you spending too much time and money fixing
    up your building?
  • Dont you hate that window condensation that
    drips onto the drywall sill makes it swell up
    and grow mold?
  • Doesnt that new paint smell terrible?
  • Doesnt it get hot in that western side in the
  • Are you ready to pay for a major indoor air
    quality lawsuit settlement?

Communicate the Problem!
  • Tell them the environmental realities
  • Air water pollution
  • Use of non-renewable resources
  • Loss of community
  • To tell them the value of Green Building
  • Energy, water, and resource efficiency,
    durability, health, community
  • Improved product quality
  • Improved worker productivity / occupant health

Communicate the Problem!
  • Frame the issue so it is understood,
    internalized, visualized
  • If you added up all of the cracks in your home,
    it would equal a 4x4 foot hole being cut in your
    living room wall.
  • Having a lot of insulation and also having a
    single pane window is like wearing a down jacket
    in the winter without closing up the zipper.
  • Why dont you wear a black T-shirt in the
    summer? So, why do you have a black roof?
  • Air and water move in exactly the same fashion.
    HVAC duct systems leak on average 25. Would you
    let your plumber get away with 25 leakage? Why
    do you let your HVAC contractor get away with
  • A full size tree can create a cooling effect
    equal to four tons of air conditioning

Communicate the Problem!
  • Show them applicable examples a demonstration
  • Give them statistics, case studies, fact sheets,
    home tours, and samples.
  • Let them smell it and touch it and see it in
    action. People need to see that it is working
    for others just like them.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Austin used to pay 400 per month
    in their old home and they were still
    uncomfortable. Their new home costs them only
    150 and they are soooo comfortable now. They
    even have extra money to buy that big hot tub you
    wished you had.

Communicate the Problem!
  • Sell them a solution to their pain! Sell them on
    what they need, not what you think they should be
    worrying about or whats nifty for you.
  • They are in pain from discomfort and high utility
    bills. Show them how to save money and how to
    achieve comfort. They have an air conditioner in
    the first place, because its hot and humid and
    they are in pain, not because its a nifty new
  • Dont sell them on lowering their humidity in
    their home. Sell a way to avoid that aggravating
    window condensation and a reduction in mold
    growth opportunities.

Communicate the Problem!
  • Sell them a solution to their pain!
  • Dont sell them on lowering their bills. Sell
    them on the concept of not giving money to the
    utility company.
  • Dont sell them on saving the environment. This
    is way down the list of priorities for most
    people and the exact reason we are in an
    environmental mess. They obviously dont care
    that much or they dont know how to actualize it,
    but, either way, they dont want to be shamed
    into it. Market studies show they think its
    important, but buying and action patterns do not
    match that. This is a secondary, feel good
    type of attribute that you can throw in at the
    end, but it is not a mobilizing concept unless
    that is your type of customer.

Green Marketing
  • Sell the
  • benefits
  • Not the
  • features
  • Lower First Cost
  • Lower Monthly Costs
  • Improved Resale
  • More Comfortable
  • Quieter
  • Greater Safety

Green Marketing
  • Sell the
  • benefits
  • Not the
  • features
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality
  • Healthier
  • Higher Quality
  • More Durable
  • Less Maintenance
  • Environmental Improvement

Spend Time Educating Your Client!
  • Use green building resources GBP staff,
    sourcebooks, brochures, checklists, fact sheets,
    web site, library, videos, seminars, case
    studies, samples, checklists
  • Frame the problem and the solution. Give your
    customer easy answers, when appropriate, and be
    prepared to give long, knowledgeable and clear
    answers, when appropriate.
  • Give them an easy yardstick for analyzing energy
    costs. When selling buildings, tell buyers what
    the estimated utility dollars per square foot
    will be for their building. Utility dollars per
    square foot is like miles per gallon for cars.

Just Do It!
  • Make a commitment
  • To getting more educated about green building.
    This means coming to seminars, reading about it,
    and incorporating this in your business. Send
    your staff to classes, and attend national
  • Make many of the green building concepts part of
    your business. Dont ask your clients if you can
    use no-VOC paint, just specify it and tell them
    if you want to why you use it. People need to be

Get customers to take action!
  • Make it trendy or fashionable or cool.
  • People will pay a lot of money for this, but how
    much will they pay to save 20 per month on their
    utility bill. Utility bills are boring! Fashion
    and sexiness make it cool. Exposure in all the
    standard home magazines makes it popular.
  • Create a sense of urgency! Americans hate to be
  • Everybodys doing it, so dont get left behind.
  • Everybodys saving money. Why arent you?
  • Everybodys got a comfortable home. Why dont
  • Everybodys got a 12 SEER. Why dont you?

Overall Strategies for Success
  • Be a leader and not a follower. Work only with
    fellow leaders, because the middle is slow and
    the followers will always stay there.
  • Sell better building, not green building. Keep it
    simple. Look for the 80 solution and for
    cost-effective, long-term solutions.
  • Conduct a continuous improvement program

Overall Strategies for Success
  • Americans like to have more! We are far from a
    frugal society. We like to use a lot of stuff
    and we like to feel a sense of abundance. Sell
    the concept that you will get more with green
    building more comfort and more money in your
    pocket. More free time with reduced maintenance.
    Better health in your life.
  • Educate yourself. Always look for a new angle or
    tactic. Look at others and learn from their
    mistakes. Go to conferences, learn, network,
    read, and then incorporate your learning into
    your business.

Overall Strategies for Success
  • Use professional sales tactics Listen and let
    the customer tell you what is important to them.
    Sell what the customer wants not what you want.
    When youre done selling, stop and move on to the
    next customer or item to sell.
  • Talk about green building all day long. Always
    push, persevere, and use whatever you can.