In this issueNew This WeekSales & Marketing

How to Sell Zero to Anybody

Capitalizing on these selling points can have an impact on your sales.

By Joe Emerson

The first step in zero home sales is to sell the benefits of the home like you would any other home — emphasizing beauty, location, finishes and amenities. These are the bedrock of selling homes. But in addition to that, zero energy homes have many features and benefits that make them better homes and much easier to sell than a standard code-built home.

It’s important to recognize that different people are motivated by different things. To effectively sell zero, you need to connect with their concerns, interests and aspirations in a way that gets them excited about one or more of the many benefits of zero. 

The second step is to discover those interests, concerns and aspirations by developing a relationship and asking a few key questions. Examples include: inquiring about their concern for family health; asking how much they value comfort and quiet; exploring the importance of saving on the cost of ownership; learning how they view risk management, predictability and control; asking if they’re interested in technical innovations; and discovering whether they’re enthralled by the potential of solar and renewable energy. 

The third step then is to tailor your sales presentation of the benefits to the interests and concerns of your client. The sales pitch for each of these interests and concerns is powerful — and each one is a bit different. 

To effectively sell zero you need to connect with their concerns, interests and aspirations in a way that gets them excited about one or more of the many benefits of zero.”

An Exceptionally Healthy Home
Health and indoor air quality are becoming significant concerns for many, if not most, parents and homebuyers. So asking questions along these lines may be helpful: Are you aware that indoor air pollution affects people with asthma, allergies, COPD and chronic illnesses, as well as, affecting residents’ ability to concentrate and their sense of well being? If you had the choice of a home that would ensure fresh filtered air 24/7 for your family’s health, how important would that be? 

They Cost Less To Own
You can explain the monthly or yearly cost of ownership, which includes PITI+E+M (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance plus Energy Costs plus Maintenance) — and then compare the cost of ownership of a zero home to a similar standard home. The zero home is almost always less because the monthly energy savings exceed the extra amount added to the monthly mortgage. In addition, maintenance is reduced because zero homes are more durable due to advanced framing, thicker walls and air sealing, which keep out moisture, mold and insects. A home with a lower cost of ownership provides financial security.

They Reduce Risk and Increase Control and Predictability
For those truly concerned about both short- and long-term risk management, you cannot have a risk managed future that does not include a zero energy home. Certified zero homes reduce risk to the climate, environment, health, wallet and wear and tear on the home. They provide predictability and control: control of comfort, control of utility bills, control of health, control of moisture and rot, as well as providing a steady temperature longer during a power outage. They provide better control over heating and cooling and water heating — and even better control of stove-top cooking because induction stovetops give superior cooking speed, temperature modulation and safety compared to gas. Control is designed into the home from the very beginning. 

The Technology in Zero Homes
The innovation in zero homes is cool and engaging for techies, and a key selling point. At the same time, it can make life easier for everyone. You can reassure non-techies that this technology is reliable and user friendly. You should be prepared to ask: “Would you like me to explain how this works?” You should become familiar with the technology involved — understand it, know its advantages, present it as something cool and advanced — emphasizing that it will be part of all future homes, while making it seem natural, simple and reliable. You should also know when not to go into the technical details. You can point out that while these technologies may seem innovative today, they will be standard features in all homes of the future. No one wants to buy a home today that will be obsolete in just a few years. 

Getting All Your Power from the Sun Is Powerful
Having solar panels empowers people and opens a pathway to potential energy independence. For those who want a positive energy home, extra solar panels can power their vehicles as well as their homes. When storage battery prices come down, adding them to their solar system will give homeowners full control over their energy needs: no gas station and no utility companies — while supporting the environment and reducing greenhouse gases. Solar, combined with energy efficiency, opens the path to a zero carbon future.

Joe Emerson is a blogger with the Zero Energy Project. Learn more at