By Steve Ashkin
April 22nd is Earth Day and an excellent opportunity to showcase your company and discuss with your customer’s occupants your efforts to create a greener and healthier environment.
Participating in an Earth Day event does not have to be limited to national or regional contractors, as smaller contractors can also put together an effective Earth Day event. And if you have never participated in a customer’s Earth Day event, challenge yourself to do at least one this year.
So while next month’s column will discuss what Earth Day is about, this column provides some very practical steps to help you prepare for an effective customer event. But Earth Day is right around the corner, so start planning today!
1. Assess Your Assets
Begin by determining how many people you have who could work a table and represent your company. It could be the owner or account manager, or it could be a well-spoken supervisor. Larger companies can consider who in each region would be capable. By determining your assets (capable people) you can make a plan for how many customers to approach.
2. Prioritize Your Opportunities
Let’s be realistic, not all customers care about Earth Day, so focus on the ones that do. Begin by making a list of those who have already demonstrated an interest in “green”.
High on the list should be customers who have done Earth Day events in the past. Also think about customers with LEED certified buildings, as well as hospitals, universities, schools and governments at all levels.
Now start making some calls. Let them know that you have something to share on this Earth Day. And frankly, what you have is probably of more interest and relevance to the occupants than most.
3. Plan Your Event
An effective Earth Day event does not require a fancy booth. One of the easiest approaches is just to have a table with some of the green products you use:
- Cleaning chemicals: Select one or two “certified” cleaning chemicals to discussion the importance of using effective cleaners and how newer technologies can reduce health and environmental impacts compared to traditional products.
- Hand soap: Display a foaming hand soap that does NOT include antibacterial ingredients as there is little evidence that these additives contribute to protecting health. And if they use just plain old (liquid) soap at home, it will also save them money.
- Microfiber: Display multiple colors and discuss concepts relating to cross-contamination. And consider displaying a microfiber flat mop as well, assuming you actually use them.
- “Chemical-free” cleaning: Consider some of the new “chemical-free” cleaning technologies. Devices that electrolyze and ionize water, vapor and steam cleaners, or even new floor pads that remove floor finish without caustic stripping chemicals all make for interesting discussions.
- Equipment: One of our most important “tools” is a vacuum cleaner. But all are not equal. Display a high-filtration vacuum or at least some high-efficiency filter bags. And occupants are always curious about backpacks if you use them.
- Paper products: Try the “TP Challenge”. Display three (3) rolls of toilet tissue; a low quality roll made from virgin fibers; a high quality roll made from 100% post consumer recycled fiber; and a third roll made from a sustainably managed plantation of rapidly renewable tree fiber. And then give a prize if people can guess which one is which. This can help overcome the notion that recycled products are scratchy and low quality, and its fun!
And don’t forget that Earth Day is not just about using greener products. Rather it is about how organizations can find more sustainable ways of operating. So if your company data on your consumption of products, your use of energy, water and transportation, and other efforts to become a sustainable company yourself, this is definitely the time and place to let people know.