Is your sales team capitalizing on all the buzz surrounding energy efficiency and corporate sustainability? The media coverage, public advocacy and government funding these initiatives are receiving should mean increased new business for companies providing energy-efficient products and services. To get your share, your sales force needs to be able to deliver a pitch that offers all the right solutions, as so many companies are still on the fence about investing in energy-efficient upgrades.

Eric Mower + Associates surveyed more than 300 corporate decision makers to understand the drivers of and barriers to implementing energy-efficient purchases for their companies. The results have provided insights to help marketers accelerate the purchase cycle of their products and services.

Not surprisingly, our research shows that the main barriers to energy-efficiency project adoption are financial, specifically that they are too expensive and have too long of an ROI/payback period. In order to overcome these barriers, sales teams should focus the discussion on cost savings, ways to shorten the payback period, and predictable energy costs to get the attention of decision makers. Also, even the earliest of adopters will need proof of the effectiveness of energy-efficiency measures before investing in new initiatives, so case studies, third-party verifications, and other supporting evidence will be essential in making the sale and helping prospects see beyond the initial costs to the short- and long-term benefits of the project.

Providing real examples and outcomes will also show prospects the value energy-efficiency projects can have on peoples’ perception of their company as being environmentally responsible. According to our research, one of the main benefits that decision makers saw in promoting their energy-efficiency practices was the positive impact on the company’s public image. The majority of decision makers believe being seen as a company that is environmentally responsible is very important to public opinion about the company (48%) and sustaining current business (47%), and at least a third believed the perception was important to the recruitment of talent and acquiring new business.

Simplifying the language of your pitch will also help prospects keep an open mind toward the proposed project. Substituting words with negative connotations like “retrofit” and “audit” with more neutral words like “upgrades” and “assessments” more effectively communicates the benefits to the prospect and allows you to present yourself as a partner in this initiative. Educating prospects on available rebates, incentives and federal and state tax credits that can help reduce implementation costs and shorten the payback period may also lend credibility to the project and motivate the prospect into action.

A simple, well-supported pitch will help decision makers realize the benefits that energy efficiency can have on their company’s image and bottom line, and will help you get the green light on closing the sale.