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Americans say they want to go green – with a caveat. They want to go green, but not if it means being uncomfortable or inconvenienced. Not exactly surprising. Those are the findings of a recent national consumer survey by the Shelton Group, which polled 1,006 consumers on making sacrifices to live in a more environmentally friendly fashion. Sixty percent of those polled are looking to buy greener products, but asked to choose between comfort, convenience or the environment, the results shape up a little differently: Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they’d choose convenience, 35 percent said they go with comfort and 26 percent would pick the environment. Below are the percentages of people who would be willing to forgo these staples of modern life if they were found to be detrimental to the environment: • iPod – 42 percent would be willing to do without it

• Dishwasher – 38 percent

• Microwave – 28 percent

• Cellular phone – 23 percent

• Air conditioning – 16 percent

• TV – 14 percent

• Computer – 8 percent

• Car – 7 percent

• None of the above – 24 percent

• All of the above – 6 percent

From a channel perspective, I’ve talked about the great green way to scores of solution providers and their attitudes have run the gamut from betting their business on green technologies and solutions to claiming this all a bunch of hooey that won’t drive revenues. Truth be told, the latter group is absolutely correct if the way they go about selling green solutions such as virtualization or eco-friendly printer cartridges is to tell their customers it is GOOD FOR THE EARTH. Oh, and eat your spinach while you’re at it. However, solution providers who frame a green technology sale as a business conversation will enjoy a lot more success. Customers in today’s depressing environment want to hear about reduced energy costs, how to shift from cap-ex to op-ex spending and how to do more with less, in general. Consider Mike Mogavero, executive vice president at Data Systems Worldwide, a network integrator in Los Angeles. His company is riding the smart-building bandwagon as solution providers increasingly play a role in outfitting older and newer construction with all manner of technology, just as other construction contractors put in air-conditioning systems, heat and electricity. Mogavero says he understands the green building sales conversation has to be approached as a business decision and investment around cost and energy efficiency. It’s a level of sales sophistication that requires good business instincts to tell customers exactly what solutions they need and precisely why these solutions will impact them positively. It’s a far cry from selling point products, he said. “We’ve spent the last several years transitioning business to do more consultative selling that relies on creating upfront project plans, designs and architecture as more companies move toward operational efficiency and green strategy,” he said. Data Systems Worldwide, while experiencing the same tough selling environment as everyone else, nonetheless has grown into a $15 million to $20 million business, Mogavero said. “We’ve built up a nice pipeline and honed our message.” Message, that’s key. So if you know that consumers want to go green, but with convenience and comfort intact, know too that business customers will respond to a green pitch much more readily if it’s about saving them money and helping them grow.