Green Industry Articles

Greening Your RE Business: Lead Green, Build Your Business

By Toni Guy, GREEN

Growing up in New Zealand, clotheslines were not something homeowners' associations needed to be protected from. They were everywhere. Living sustainably is the norm in my birth country, so when I heard about the GREEN designation, I was one of the first in my adopted state of California to sign up. I decided it was time to start preaching what I practice. Equipped with my GREEN designation, I set out to make my mark.

When my son's progressive elementary school was recruiting for PTA committees, organizing Ventura's Earth Day Celebration came up. The next thing I knew, I was co-chair of the committee.

Green Networking Heaven

In a split second, I had signed on to the best self-marketing promotion I could have imagined. My committee, made up of parent  volunteers, included like-minded people ranging from Patagonia employees, to green architects, to Amgen scientists and environmental project managers. GREEN networking heaven!

I served as liaison with City of Ventura officials, environmental service providers and community outreach coordinators. Local eco-friendly businesses and nonprofits became event vendors, exhibitors and sponsors. The local recycling and trash company became a sponsor, along with earth-friendly carpet cleaners and local green magazines.

Through one of these contacts, I discovered an amazing, eco-friendly networking group called Green Drinks. Made up of about 50 green-minded business people, it meets up to twice a month in our area, rotating the task of hosting the gathering, and providing beer and wine. (Check Facebook, Google or for a Green Drinks near you – or start one of your own.)

The day of the event I had my own real estate booth, with my GREEN designation proudly displayed. It was an instant conversation starter, along with the "Green Home Starter Kit" I raffled off that day. It included a reusable water bottle and coffee mug, reusable shopping bags, green home booklet, CFL light bulbs, a power strip, and vinegar and baking soda with a reusable squirt bottle.

A green info and signup sheet allowed me to collect people's contact information. The majority freely signed up, impressed that I did not believe in handouts. I followed up with an email link to my website and my article, 30 Easy, Eco-Friendly Tips to Help Save the Earth, Your Money and Your Health. Mentioning that I was one of the organizers added instant trust and rapport with
the people I met.

Benefits Galore

The rewards from my participation were many. I was quoted in local newspapers, discovered a wonderful green networking group, expanded and proved to my sphere of influence that I am a professional they can trust, created a database of potential "eco-conscious" clients, helped raise thousands of dollars for my son's school, and reminded my entire community of the importance of sustainable living.

Having a GREEN designation shows in one powerful word what is important to you personally. It automatically personalizes you and sends a positive message to your clients and our community. What you do with it is only limited by your imagination.

Toni Guy is a GREEN Designee and GRI Realtor for Prudential California Realty, in Montecito, CA, serving Santa Barbara & Ventura counties. Reach her at 805-570-0265 or visit her website at

Green REsource Council Newsletter, June 2009