Still Getting Inspired by Nature to Sell Sustainability

On July 7th, 2011 I wrote the following for a Green Business website:

The Year of the Sustainable Sale: Getting Inspired by Nature to Sell Sustainability

Part One by @frshprnzcleantc
San Diego, CA, USA

Green businesses have a great deal to offer, but don’t always do a great job at selling it.  I’ve seen this over and over again, and wondered how we can do a better job at selling sustainability. So I’m developing sustainability sales training to teach others and I want to lead a national conversation so we can all benefit from shorter sale cycles.

About three months ago, I attended the Biomimicry Conference at the San Diego Zoo, which launched me onto a path to develop a better approach to selling Sustainability. At the conference the organizers pushed us to look at nature to solve our own challenges. My mission: Improve my sales techniques. The Result: I developed a craving for honey.

Sounds strange?  Perhaps.  But stick with me.

Biomimicry studies biological systems, processes, and elements to solve human business challenges.  Over the eons nature has evolved elegant solutions to many of the challenges businesses face today.  Example: The leaves of the lotus plant inspire dirt repellent paint, and termite mounds inspire energy efficient cooling of buildings.  The San Diego Zoo has partnered with the City of San Diego and local universities to become the world’s first biomimicry hub, encouraging more of us in the business world to turn to nature for inspiration.

My big break came months later when a green business owner friend said, "you're like a badger!"  No wonder I don't get invited to Christmas parties! It turns out the honey badger (Mellivora capensis) is more than just fierce and tenacious.  They are also collaborators, and are an inspiration for a better way of selling.

In looking for a rich meal of honey, the honey badger works together with a bird, the "greater honeyguide".  The greater honeyguide simply leads the badger to a beehive, and the badger breaks open the hive and eats the honey, allowing the honeyguide to eat as well. This is not a referral system... This is a “we both eat” system.

This type of relationship in nature is called mutualism, in which both animals benefit by working together.  There are many examples of mutualism in nature, but the inspiration of the honey badger provides green business owners a new direction as well.  

By working together with other businesses in a sale we can both eat the honey.  While many in the business world still follow the model of competition, a kill or be killed mentality, I say it’s not the only way to go if you choose to be financially sustainable.  Mutualism allows for my business to create opportunities for you, and for your business to naturally create sales opportunities for me.  By following the model of mutualism and looking for it in our sales environment, we can develop these opportunities, make the most of them, and save our energy for the hard part --- the close.

Check out more of my thoughts and quotes here: https://sites.google.com/site/therealyevesperez/Musings/yeves-perez-quotes

Learn more about me here: http://about.me/yevesperez

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