When it Comes to Environmental Responsibility, Don’t Just Say it. Show it.

* Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie The Guilt Trip and have any intention to, skip ahead to paragraph six *

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who would’ve predicted Barbara Streisand as the source for the best piece of “stand by your product” advice I’ve ever heard?

While road-tripping with her son Andrew, an inventor/chemist pitching his organic cleaning product to retailers across the country, Babs notices her boy’s sales skills are a little flat. Andrew rambles about the makeup of the fluid, breaking down the components in agonizing, scientific detail. As the meetings roll on and not a single buyer takes the bait, she encourages him to change his approach.

To paraphrase…“Show them,” she says. “You say it’s so safe you can drink it, so drink it.”

Being a naive youngster, our hero initially shrugs her off. But in a moment of desperation, Andrew acts on dear old Mom’s advice while presenting to his biggest prospect yet, and the payoff is huge.

Now I’m not saying you should eat a piece of marketing material or a custom koozie™ if you find yourself losing ground in a meeting but hey, that’s your call. You should, however, always be prepared to back up your claims of environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible manufacturing with proof that’s easy for common folks to understand.

Inc. com provides the following tips for validating your eco-friendly claims (read the full article here):

•    Share specific information about the benefits of your product. How long will it take for your “degradable” product to decompose in a landfill? Can it be recycled at a wide range of facilities? Once the main benefits are established, be sure to communicate them simply and clearly.

•    Confirm that certifications and seals of approval are legitimate. There are a lot of hustlers out there. Do your homework.

•    If you’re positioning yourself as environmentally responsible, make sure that shines through in your company culture and everything you do. Maybe it’s not the best idea to show up for your meeting in a Hummer, even one of the mini ones.

•    Be transparent. And never make statements about your products that you don’t understand or can’t back up.

Bottom line: Tell the truth, stand by your products and lead by example. Lucky for you, that doesn’t usually require drinking cleaning fluids.

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AboutMichelle McCafferty

Michelle joined the Proforma team in 2008. As the Manager of Business Development for Major Accounts, she helps Proforma Owners win new and grow existing programs through proposal and presentation development, as well as periodic Relationship Reviews. Before joining Proforma, Michelle attended Cleveland State University where she earned a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication.

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