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Green Building Blog

No Matter Your Title, Everyone is in Sales

Thu, Mar 14, 2019 @ 02:26 / by Jim Newman posted in Green Building, continuing education

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For engineers like me and the facility managers with whom we regularly interact, we don’t often think of ourselves as salespeople. But in reality, we are always selling.
We may not be selling a product or service for exchange of money profit, yet we are always “selling” something in the more nuanced sense of persuading or causing to be accepted.

What are we selling? Selling in this sense can be selling a product, selling an idea, or selling yourself.

Unless they have drastically changed the curriculum, they don’t teach sales in engineering school. At least it wasn’t on the curriculum when I went to college. So I will share some tips on incorporating sales into your professional life when I guest lecture for graduating engineering students at Western University, near London, Ontario later this month.

So how did I learn about “sales” and how has it helped me?

Recently I was going through some school papers and other stacks of “Jimmy’s Memories” and I came across an “Autobiography” I wrote as a freshman in college. In it I describe experiences that, looking back, were influential in ways I could not have imagined as a young boy, scrappy teen or driven college student.

When I was 10 years old, I often sat at the front window of our apartment in Boston, watching the other kids play in the street. I was shy. So instead of playing, I read books. Lots and lots of books. Don’t get me wrong, I loved books. But what I wouldn’t have given to have been part of the group at play.

Then in the 6th grade I started playing the saxophone and it helped me come out of my shell. If I provided something of value by way of entertaining, people responded. By the time I was in the 9th grade I led a small dance band. We played parties here and there, and in high school we were performing regularly. In college, we played campus parties, clubs and weddings. How did we get so many gigs? I had to learn to sell both myself and my band.

1-Jim Dance Band - College_0001I had to do my research, find out what clubs hired bands. I had to reach out to the manager or booker, make the appointment, be on time and bring my wares (we had recordings of our latest gigs). I found if I was polite, dressed appropriately, and had something of value to offer – we were a pretty good band if I do say so myself – people responded. To “close the deal” I had to ask for the job.

It’s one thing to book a band. It’s quite another to ask someone to spend thousands of dollars on upgrading HVAC equipment, implementing energy conservation measures or engaging expert consulting services. The principles are the same, however. Whether it’s an exchange of money, ideas or influence, there are some basic principles to doing business. Whether you’re interviewing for your first job, trying to get approval for new equipment, starting up a recycling program in your building, or applying for a promotion, here are my top tips to help you “close the deal.”
  1. Be prepared. Educate yourself on the pros and cons, the benefits and obstacles of the opportunity at hand. Provide documentation.
  2. Grow yourself. Attend industry seminars, webinars and professional association meetings. Get involved and get certified if certification(s) are available for your field.
  3. Be professional. Be polite and on time. Understand the culture of your organization.
  4. Remember to ask. You’re not likely to get the “yes” if you don’t ask for it. As Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky says, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
Whether or not your job title is sales, articles and training resources on sales for non-salespeople are prolific on the web. Josh Linkner* is one of my favorite bloggers on this topic. The Business Know How* e-newsletter is another great source. I fully agree with Mr. Linkner’s recent piece “You’re Always Interviewing,” in which he states, “Those who regularly demonstrate the same professionalism, intensity, curiosity, and focus they exhibited during their interview are the ones that achieve greatly.”

* The links are provided here for information only. Newman Consulting Group, its employees and affiliates, do not receive any remuneration for sharing them.
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Why Go to Greenbuild Conventions?

Tue, Nov 07, 2017 @ 02:59 / by Jim Newman posted in GreenBuild, USGBC, Green Building, LEED, Sustainability, energy efficiency

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Jim Newman Previews Greenbuild 2017, Boston, MA, Nov 8-10

Greenbuild 2017.pngWhy do I go to USGBC Greenbuild Conventions?? Because during those conventions I learn more about the exciting things happening in the green building and sustainability industry than I can anywhere else.

If you have been to a Greenbuild Convention, you know there are great speakers, not only on the state of the “Green” industry and where it is going, but also how it is being used around the world. Go to Greenbuild so you can:

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National Association of Realtors® Says Clients Look for Sustainability

Tue, Jul 11, 2017 @ 02:29 / by Doug Elbinger, Energy Systems Analyst posted in solar, Green Building, renewable energy, Sustainability, energy efficiency

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In February, 2017, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) surveyed its members pertaining to sustainability issues facing their industry. Highlights from this report that are relevant to Michigan contractors and builders are summarized as follows:

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What Does Sustainability Really Mean Today?

Tue, Jun 20, 2017 @ 05:34 / by Jim Newman posted in HVAC, Commercial Building, Green Building, LEED, LEED Cerified Buildings, Sustainability, Sustainable Design, environmental justice

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Use of the word sustainability, based on recorded mentions, skyrocketed starting in the early 1980s and has grown exponentially over the past 3 decades. In the past few weeks alone I have attended two exceptional programs on sustainability, and I see many more in the near and distant future as it becomes a hotter topic at the various green building and commercial real estate industry conferences to which I am invited.

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PACENation Rising – We are Just Scratching the Surface of the Potential of PACE

Mon, Apr 17, 2017 @ 11:45 / by Jim Newman posted in Commercial Building, solar, Retrofit, Green Building, PACE, energy efficiency, Energy Savings, Building Energy

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From their first meeting of less than 50 people just a couple of years ago to almost 500 this year, PACENation reflects the potential this groundbreaking policy has on the future of the built environment. PACENation is the national, non-profit advocacy organization for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

In 2016, PACE passed the $3 billion mark in cumulative financing (commercial and residential). “What we’re really seeing is the birth of an industry. It isn’t just about burning less hydrocarbons, it’s also about saving money,” John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado told the crowd.

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