After attending several green-themed marketing seminars, Coleen Lieberman, national accounts director and remote gatekeeper with My Design/Build Coach, in Arlington, Mass., began to consider how she might evaluate a homeowner’s interest in green for those remodeling contractor clients of hers that offer sustainable building services.

Lieberman answers phones remotely for contractor clients and uses the qualifying system developed by My Design/Build Coach president, Joe Dellanno. She employs a conversational tone with prospects to glean information about their project.

Then Lieberman uses the five green consumer types defined by Corinne Asturias, of cultural trend research company Iconoculture, to figure out where the prospect falls in terms of their commitment to green:

  • Extreme Greens value change, commitment, and creativity. These consumers also are influenced by success and their own personal politics.

  • Health Seekers have a safety, wellness, and family focus. They want to clean up the planet.

  • Money and Autonomy–type customers already own Energy Star-approved products and appliances; they rate practicality and thrift as their top values.

  • Conservationist and Preservationist types value authenticity, environmentalism, and preservation.

  • Green-Sheen or Eco-Chics value status, style, and a sense of belonging.

“I thought it would be smart to figure out what kind of customer we had so the remodeler [could avoid] overwhelming them [with green information] at the first meeting,” Lieberman says. “This way, the [remodeler] can arm himself with information that the customer wants to hear.” When speaking to potential clients on the phone, Lieberman usually builds rapport before bringing up the topic of green.
She also gives contractors information about the prospect’s personality type based on the Enneagram profiling system, which is made up of nine personality types and is designed to give people a better understanding of themselves and those around them. “By combining the green and Enneagram details, it provides “a wealth of knowledge that is beneficial during the first meeting,” she says.