It may not be something at the top of your mind, but Judy Guido says if you aren’t communicating your sustainable practices and services to the public, then you are missing an opportunity. If you’ve ever planted a perennial, incorporated ground cover on a project or used a GPS program to size a property instead of driving there, you’ve taken sustainable steps.
Guido, owner of Guido & Associates, a marketing and PR consulting firm gave the keynote address at the second annual Hologanix Bionutrional Summit.
Guido discussed research she did where she surveyed/spoke with 2,000 distributors, contractors, homeowners – the green industry marketplace about sustainability.
Here are some highlights of her speech:
- Guido said the myth that sustainability is a fad is not true. She backed it up with numbers that showed profits were 61 percent greater when top management was involved with sustainability within a company, while it’s only about 40 percent with no top management involvement.
- She said the myth that green products are more expensive is also not true. Guido found green products were 6-8 percent less expensive.
- When Guido asks companies why they don’t have a sustainability program, they say that their customers haven’t asked. That’s not the way to operate, Guido said. “Followers wait to be asked, leaders introduce innovation,” she said. “We have a lot of followers in our industry. Thank God we have a lot of leaders.
- When trying to introduce sustainable services to customers, never ask them how it fits into their budget. In fact, never use the word budget in any question because that makes you an adversary to the customer. Instead, ask what they are willing to invest. “In investments, there is a return. (The customer) gets something back. We went from adversaries to advocates,” she said.
Middle ground. Before the speech, Holganix, addressed media members about their product. CEO Bennett Ersek said the company is not anti-chemical, but said he sees value in minimizing the use of them, and allowing bionutrition to do its work.
“Use bionutrition, organics and do what you can do to reduce them,” he said, while Stephen Lange, vice president of R&D Holganix said, “This is the process to get nature and synthetics to work together.”
One of the company’s customers, Bill Hoke, CEO of NexGreen, a lawn care company in Columbus, Ohio, also spoke at the press conferece. The only program he offers is one with Holganix in it. He’s not wholly-organic because of the challenges that it poses, but wants to use bionutrients and organics, while using fertilizers and chemicals only as spot treatments.
When Hoke gets customers who have lawns that are coming off synthetic only treatments, he uses a sliding-step approach to slowly introduce his program to the lawn, instead of introducing 100 percent the first time. He added that he has a 93 percent retention rate, annually and said the program’s results have been to customers’ likings.
“It has not compromised results at all,” he said. “It’s been better in general.”