The Green Salesperson

Tuesday, September 1 2009

There was a time when being a ‘green salesperson’ meant you were a rookie, “wet behind the ears.” Now, being green has a completely new connotation. It means that you care about your living space today and the place your grandchildren will live tomorrow.

Here are ten tips that are reasonably easy to implement that help you to reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. Carry a reusable coffee cup. If you drink two cups of coffee a day that equates to over 500 paper cups going into landfill every year. Multiply that by millions of salespeople around the world and you can see the mountains of paper cups used. Besides, most places will now give you a discount if you bring your own mug.
  2. Better yet, save the drive to the coffee shop, avoid sitting in line in the drive-through and idling your car by making your own coffee and taking it in a sturdy thermos. Do that every day and you’ll save enough money in a year (about $750) for a short vacation.
  3. Buy a hybrid, electric or fuel-efficient vehicle. If you drive to see your clients and prospects, you’re in your car a lot. I drive a Prius and love it. It gives me a little smug satisfaction to fuel up in less than half the time and about a third of the cost of many of the cars next to me at the gas station. Imagine the difference it can make if every salesperson on the road cut their fuel consumption in half!
  4. To reduce fuel consumption even more, plan your sales calls geographically and group them. Avoid travelling from one side of the city to the other but instead, schedule a number of clients along the way to your furthermost destination. You should do this anyway to save time but if you need more convincing, do it for the environment.
  5. Drop fuel consumption more by working from home on those days when you are not on the road. Rather than driving every day, what if you grouped not only your sales calls, but your administrative activities as well. For example, if you need to make twelve sales calls a week, make four per day times three days, leaving two days per week to work from home. On those three days of calls, focus on having high energy, a great attitude, and dress to the nines. The other two days you write follow-up letters, emails, or proposals, make phone calls, and file reports. You’ll be more productive and reduce your fuel consumption.
  6. Recycle your used electronics. How much junk do you have sitting in drawers – your first Palm Pilot, your 1995 Corel Draw CDs, that original bubble-jet printer? What about that first cell phone you bought for about a thousand dollars that looks and feels like a brick? Don’t throw them in the garbage! They are filled with toxic metals that will leach into the ground. Find a local recycler of e-waste or better yet, if “it ain’t broken” don’t replace it. Buy better quality products that you expect will last and satisfy your needs longer instead of falling for the latest trendy device that will make little or no improvement to your performance or productivity.
  7. Turn off your printer. This is supposed to be the age of the paperless office! Yet because of the convenience of printing and the attractiveness of colour, many people print everything that comes into their in-box, and then file or toss it. Don’t print anything that isn’t absolutely necessary. Personally, I hate paper. I’ve never been any good at filing or tossing so I’ve switched to all-electronic files. I almost never use my printer and I have a desktop scanner to scan important documents to be filed on my computer. Back it up off-site. Then recycle everything else.
  8. Save your paper products for serious customers. Rather than showering those expensive brochures on anyone who will accept them, save them for people who are serious prospects. To the rest send a PDF.
    Use recycled paper. If you must print (and of course we all have to print sometimes) then whenever it is practical, use recycled products and save the trees.
  9. Video and teleconference calls are becoming more common and cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly. It’s amazing how much business is done by distance today that would have required an airplane trip even five years ago.

Salespeople can have a huge impact on reducing waste, reducing fuel consumption, and reducing the carbon footprint. Are you a green salesperson?