Selling Green with Greed

Selling Green with Greed


You can go green with greed-and feel good about doing it!

Gordon Gekko is now green.

We all know Gordon. He was the stockbroker villain portrayed in the 1987 movie Wall Street, who proudly declared, “Greed is good.” The haughty character explained to a room full of shareholders, without blinking an eye, that greed built this country. That greed is all-American.

A lot has changed since then. The green movement, often considered the antithesis of greed, now has firm roots, especially in the homebuilding market. Green is good—for the planet, for our energy resources, for saving water, for the public good. It’s good for our wallets. Green and energy-efficient homes save owners significantly on their utility bills.

Savvy green marketers have found that this financial interest is an effective way to sell green. In other words, you don’t have to appeal to people’s sense of right and wrong, or the need to be green for the good of the environment, when selling green or energy efficiency. Those homebuyers who are interested in being green are predisposed to having these conversations. But for others, it’s often better to appeal to their wallets.

“Appeal to the homebuyer’s self-interest,” says C.R. Herro of Meritage Homes, a company that has learned how to effectively leverage energy efficiency and solar-powered systems in its sales process, as we learn in this week’s profile.

Being green, sustainable, responsible, or whatever you want to call it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. In fact, it should be presented as an upgrade.

Herro says for some it’s about getting the best deal. Think of Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s character in Jerry Maguire, getting Tom Cruise to shout “Show me the money!” Gooding Jr.‘s character is in it for himself.

Part of the green sell is to show homebuyers exactly what’s in it for them. “Get them to understand that [with an inefficient home] they throw money out the window. Then they’ll see that they can save,” Herro says.

For others, a home purchase is about showing off things like granite countertops and foyers. “You have to convey living comfortably and how much bling you can get when you do it right. [A green home, then,] is cheaper and allows you to get more of the other stuff,” Herro says. By selling green homes or energy efficiency, you’re not selling your clients a compromise or sacrifice. You’re selling them BETTER living. You’re selling healthier indoor air quality, better functioning appliances, more comfortable homes—but more than this you’re selling a reduced cost of operation, which they can use to buy other things.

“Help them be selfish and get more,” Herro advises. “Green building isn’t special. It’s selfish and greedy and getting the best things for your family.”

Fortunately, being green and a little greedy today doesn’t require the moral compromises that embody a character like Gordon Gekko. It’s good for the planet and conserves our resources. And contributing to that makes people feel good about themselves.

“Showing them the money” doesn’t hurt, either.

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