Passive sales approach inspires and educates on the vision for green building

Story and photos by Steve Arel.

Inside the Proud Green Home at Serenbe, you’ll find no salespeople. No being peppered with information and questions. No pressure to buy.

What visitors to the high-performance home will find is a ground-floor area that is part art gallery, part Apple store.

Artwork on the walls depict nine human-related themes developers want to communicate, like the effects of moisture and the sun on efficiency. On simple dining tables sat brochures, product models and, perhaps the centerpiece of the approach, iPads featuring an application spotlighting those advantages of the home in a non-technical manner that allows users to easily learn as much as they want – and at their own pace.

They could even access those details through their mobile phones by scanning QR codes on flyers placed around the home.

Carolyn Carter strolled around the Proud Green Home on Saturday with her son, appreciating the fact that no salesperson or agent was tailing them as they went from room to room.

Carolyn Carter, right, and her son review information on brochures and an iPad presentation Saturday in the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.

“It’s less intimidating,” she said.

Carter is in the process of renovating her Atlanta home, built in the 1920s. She was spending the weekend at Serenbe as a getaway when she heard about the open house and figured to get some ideas that might make the restoration result in more efficiencies.

She picked up brochures about moisture management, asked for a demonstration about the benefits of ceramic paint pigments on metal roofs and examined artwork illustrating how leaks in the average American home equate to having a hole in an exterior wall about as wide as the opening of a 50-gallon drum.

“It’s nice to wander and pick up material,” Carter said. “There’s information here that can be applicable to things other than this home.”

The passive approach in the Proud Green Home was driven by home builders and businesses that have seen success with non-threatening sales tactics and feedback from focus groups conducted by that identified pressure pitches as relatively ineffective.

Placards on the second floor of the Proud Green Home allows visitors to learn on their own about the different environmentally conscience methods and approaches used in the project. wanted to feature product models that weren’t overwhelming in size or that absent of giant logos. The different approach forced a number of featured manufacturers to develop new communication aides from scratch.

“If you’re a builder, how you communicate your home versus the standard home in the marketplace might help create a commercial difference for you,” said Bob Fincher, publisher and CEO of

The setup inside the home, which can easily be replicated in any structure, is intended to enable visitors to visualize and understand various building aspects and methods in an approachable way.

Fincher highlighted the effectiveness of Garbett Homes, which uses a similar non-pressure approach to consistently outsell its competitors in Utah. Rather than setting up a typical furnished model home, they leave them unfurnished during open house events so potential buyers aren’t distracted by amenities with no bearing on performance.

Where the passive technique proves effective, Fincher said, is in putting the focus squarely on the home.

“So many people walk into a home, and they’re evaluated by how many rooms, how many baths, what is the square footage,” he said. “To be commercially viable just to build the home is wonderful. It’s how is this home communicated in way that inspires people and compels people to want to buy it?”

Read more about the Proud Green Home at Serenbe.

Topics: Proud Green Home at Serenbe, Sustainability Trends & Statistics, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Products, Trends / Statistics

Companies:, Southface Energy Institute, Kohler, BASF Corporation, PPG Pittsburgh Paints, Kleendeck, LLC, Serenbe Sustainable Community, LG Squared, Inc., The Imery Group, Benjamin Obdyke, Zehnder America, SmartBIM, Huber Engineered Woods, Wood-Mode, Inc.

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