How to sell sustainability-centric products and services

“We face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies”

– Sir David Attenborough
  • You are in a business that sells products, services or solutions that have a big impact on our planet.  
  • You know that your offering makes a big difference to environmental sustainability compared to the other options your customer could choose.  
  • You are passionate about what you do as a job and how blindingly obvious it is that every one of your customers should choose your business over any other option.

But, you still hit roadblocks in the sales process. Your communication skills are stretched, negotiations are slow and you are daunted by the targets set by your boss, your business, the investors or those the earth itself, needs us to hit.

If you are in a sales or commercial role, then you are at the forefront of the success of your business.  And if your business is in the Green Economy, the better your performance, the bigger and faster we make a difference to the environment.

It is down to the sales teams and leaders to get in front of clients and make change happen!

“Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive it needs structure. A WHY without HOW has little probability of success”

– Simon Sinek

Hard work and passion only get you so far, so what is the “smart” work you can do to drive sales in the world of environmental sustainability?

Invest in your mental strength

It was thought that to be in sales, you had to be the toughest character and have the resilience of an elephant in the face of every adversity.  Yes, you do need the strength of character to keep moving forward when all seems lost or people are not responding, but you are still human.

Take time out to invest in your mental well-being so that you can be bloody brilliant as often as possible and particularly in those sales “moments of truth” that matter the most towards hitting your targets.

Invest in the right client opportunities

Not every client is ready or willing to change. They are challenged enough with the here-and-now operations, let alone paying an extra 10% for a new product or way of doing things. If that is genuinely the case then leave them to it.

Often it is not!  It could be that your customer contact is not the right one to lead on this and you need to go elsewhere in that organisation.  A tough call to make if you have an overdone strength of customer service, but that is where your internal team could help in getting in front of the right people by taking a team-selling approach.

Businesses are groups of people with a common goal, however, personality counts and change can be hard for some to find the right people in the right business to make progress. Engage with the contacts who are left of the centre in the innovation adoption lifecycle.

Clearly communicate value

Sooooo often we talk with SDRs, BDMs and Account Managers (new and experienced) who cannot articulate why a customer should purchase from them.  

“We’re the leading European provider of sustainability…” not value!

“We have a great team of sustainability experts…” not value!

“We will plant 1 million trees for you…” not value!

If you present your value and the customer was to say “So what?”  how would you answer?  Ask yourself the “so what” question 5 times repeatedly to get down to some really interesting value points.

Nurture your internal virtual team

Who is in your team?  Not just related to your hierarchy, but who will genuinely support you and this may include people outside of the business.

Who in marketing can you call upon? In technical services? In customer services? In Finance?

Build up an internal stakeholder map for yourself and invest in those relationships BEFORE you need them!

Treat every customer as a future case study

This mentality delivers great results for your clients.  These clients become your cheerleaders and promote or refer you to other businesses.  Word of mouth and recommendations are one of the best ways to grow your business and makes the sales process that much easier.  You value sustainability for the planet; this approach creates sustainability for your business!

How many of your existing customers have you asked to write a recommendation for the business? Or have asked them who else is in their network they could introduce you to?  You may be surprised how easy this sales marketing is!

And finally, invest in your own skills.  If you have read this far, then you have the right mentality!  Take advantage of every piece of sales training or customer service development you have, reflect on what works for you, and learn from the best practice of others.

Don’t sleepwalk through your week. Take specific time out to review your goals and actions at the start and end of the week to maintain momentum.

If you are in “Green” sales then you have an opportunity to earn a living whilst making a big difference to the planet.  We love that you’re doing that, so keep the faith and know there are people who are grateful 🌎👌

How to sell sustainability-centric products and services was written by

Jennifer Keay

Jen is our dedicated Training Administrator with extensive experience in HR and people development roles. She’s passionate about helping individuals grow and works tirelessly to support the entire team at wayvie in delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Jen Keay

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