The contractors who are successfully promote water conservation and explaining them to customers are doing the best job today. If a customer or prospect does not understand the importance of saving water, they simply will not care about how you will save them water. Make sure you have the following marketing tools in your tool kit and you are well on your way to explaining the why, not the how.
A Simple Leave – Behind: The Simplest Way To Promote Water Conservation
A leave behind is exactly what it sounds like: a physical object that you leave behind to help remind your customer about your company and the service you provide. Your leave behind needs to help customers understand why they need to save water. It’s also important to present a positive image of your company too. A simple message works well too. For example – Saving water saves money and improves the look of your landscape.
If you can show them, preferably with a picture, what a water-efficient landscape looks like even better. Please don’t forget your call to action. A simple call to action – “call me for more information on how to save water, save money and improve your landscape” – provides an opportunity to further explain why your customer should want to save water. Be sure to include your contact information and website address.
Water use analysis To Promote Water Conservation
Your analysis should include a minimum three-year history of water use on your customer’s property. The fastest way to get historic water use information is by presenting a letter from your customer authorizing you to access their water bills. Most water agencies will accept this and give the data to you.
The next step is calculating the proper amount of water the customer should have used based on their landscape and historical evapotranspiration. If it is a current customer you should have the square footage information and breakdown of percentages of groundcover, shrubs and turf. If it is a new customer, you may have to measure or use Google Earth or Bing maps for square footage information. These web services aren’t always perfect, but don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. A solid estimate can accurately forecast water savings.
Once you have the square footage and plant material estimates, you will need ET data for the property. There are a number of websites providing ET data for cities or whole ZIP codes. You will also need to estimate or calculate the efficiency of the irrigation system. If this is for a current customer you should have a good idea of this already. With a new customer you should gain permission to turn the system on and take some measurements.
Once you have gathered all this information, you will be able to put together your water use analysis and have something that looks like the table above.
This is a simple example of a water use analysis, and you have the opportunity to make it more specific based on the data available and time you spend on the analysis.
I would also include a monthly bar chart of projected water use compared to historical water use and a discussion of water price trends.
Instead of selling water management as the “right” thing to do to protect the environment and ensure the long term aesthetic of your landscape, the industry decided to sell the dollar savings.
As a result, customers won’t invest in water savings unless they see a return on their investment in less than two years. I’ve worked with some customers who won’t make an investment in saving water unless the ROI is less than a year. I have met with several who accept three years, but almost none who will agree to make changes if the ROI is more than four years.
When presenting winning water management concepts to our customers, it is important to remember that they are asking one question: So what? Keep this in mind and you will never find yourself straying into the world of distribution uniformity, Water Use Classification of Landscape Species or crop coefficients when trying to make a sale. That “so what” often leads to questions like, Why should I save water? How much money will I save? Will I have a better-looking landscape? The three tools help answer these key questions from your customers. Answering these questions for your customers is the first step to saving more water and increasing sales with water management services.
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The ROI in two or three years is nearly impossible to meet on most small projects and very difficult on large ones, in my opinion. Between the cost to prepare the report and plans for physical upgrades and the cost of the upgrades, the ROI is well longer than that. Therefore it is important to stress other reasons to upgrade such as health and beauty of the landscape (stressing how much has been invested in it and the cost to replace it, etc.), the ability to control the system from a cell phone which most people love these days, the use of real time weather and/or soil moisture information which makes sense as opposed to trusting your gardener or yourself to make adjustments to the schedule and other reasons which are specific to the client of property.
Otherwise it doesn’t seem to pencil out to me and I have tried.
Thanks, Michael, you make a great point here. I often say people will be sustainable if it saves them money. The real sustainability leaders are the ones who invest in sustainability for the benefit of all not just themselves. The good news is today I have more customers than ever interested in saving water because it’s the right thing to do instead of just for the dollar savings.
Thank you for interesting and impressive paper
Very Informative, particularly ROI Calculation is very Important for any of the customer.