Below is the text version of the webinar DOE Zero Energy Ready Home High-Performance Home Sales Training Part II, presented in February 2015. Watch the presentation.

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Lindsay Parker:
Presentation cover slide:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home Sales Training Webinar Series. We're really excited that you can join us today for this session on high-performance home sales training, part II, presented by Sam Rashkin. Today's session is one in a continuing series of technical training webinars to support our partners in designing, building, and selling Zero Energy Ready Homes. My name is Lindsay Parker. I'm the coordination support for the program. I'll be covering some general notes on webinar housekeeping. All attendees are going to be in listen-only mode for the webinar. However, we do invite you to ask questions through the GoToMeeting question platform. We'll be monitoring your questions throughout the webinar and at the end of the webinar, we'll cover as many of your questions as possible. This session is being recorded and the recording will be placed on the Zero Energy Ready Home resources site after the webinar. Please allow some time for it to go through a process to be added online. This should take about one to two weeks. However, after the webinar, I will be sending out a PDF of the presentation for you to view immediately. So now I'm going to introduce Sam Rashkin. He is the chief architect of DOE's Building Technologies Office, where he leads the research program Building America and is director for the Zero Energy Ready Home program. In his prior position, he managed ENERGY STAR® for Homes since its start in 1996, which grew to more than 8,500 builder partners and over 1 million labeled homes. Mr. Rashkin was most recently awarded the 2012 Hanley Award for his work on sustainable housing. He received his bachelor's of architecture from Syracuse University, completed a master's in program planning at NYU, and is a registered architect in California and New York for over 20 years, in which he specialized in energy efficient design. He has served on the steering committees for USGBC's LEED for Homes, NAHV's Green Builder Guidelines, and EPA's WaterSense label, and has helped to develop EPA's Indoor airPLUS label. Now I'm going to hand it over to Sam to talk with you about sales training.

Sam Rashkin:
Hey, thank-you, everyone. If you notice I sound a bit different that's because I'm coming off the flu and my voice is still recovering. So thank-you for bearing with me. And also thank-you for coming to part II. This is really a heavy crammed-in session, so welcome to it.

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Now, part I, what I want to do first of all is review part I before I go into part II.

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And that's to get everyone on the same platform, in case some of you missed last week. And the thing I want to start with again is to remind everyone that training is all about providing a context for what you're selling and why you're selling it, and then giving important concepts that need to be learned, skills to apply the concepts, tools to be effective with the skills, and maybe most critically, practice. And along the practice question, we like to do a little bit of a poll. So I want to hand this off to Stacy to ask two questions of the audience.

Stacy:
Alright. So the first question we'd like to ask is, how many attendees have also attended part I?

First poll question:
We'd just like to get a sense of who's coming in, what's their previous knowledge from last week. ... Thanks, everyone, for participating in the poll. We've got 80 percent of you who've contributed. Looks like, I'm going to go ahead and stop the poll. Thanks so much.

Poll results:
It looks like 27 percent did attend last week's presentation, and 73 said they unfortunately couldn't make it. So the next poll we have is related to this.

Second poll question:
How many of attendees who attended part I practiced the skills that you learned since that class? ... OK. Great. Thank-you so much for participating. I'm going to go ahead and close the poll.

Poll results:
Looks like of the people who did attend last week's webinar, 23 percent already did practice your skills, and 77 percent haven't had a chance yet.

Sam Rashkin:
OK, thanks, everyone, for one, participating and taking a few moments to do that, but I wanted to do those questions because this is a really important point. With any training you get, it's only as good as your efforts practicing it right after it. Think of anything you did in sports -- taking a golf or tennis lesson, or a piano lesson. Anything you do, when you learn something new, unless you ingrain that skill right away, it seems to get lost. So a big thing for those of you that will need the sales skills we speak to today, that practice is a real important part.

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The other thing I want to talk about today is where our goal is in terms of being skillful and competency of the skill. And there are four levels I mentioned last week. There's one where you kind of don't have a clue what you do but you're also clueless that you don't have a clue. And then -- that's called unconsciously incompetent. And then when you finally get to Level 2, you're still kind of clueless, but at least now you know you don't know what you're doing. And that's consciously incompetent. And then Level 3 is when you can finally do it but you've got to really think hard, and people around you don't have a lot of confidence. They can tell you're really working hard to apply that skill, whether it's in sports or work or whatever. And the ultimate goal is you want to be unconsciously competent, when you don't even have to think when you apply the skill. And that's when the people around us, whether they're buyers or colleagues or family or friends -- when we're doing anything and they see we do it with such effortless ease, know you're in good hands. And this is where we have to get to. We're going to talk about a lot of skills today, but Level 4 is the goal. And with that I'm going to hand it back to Stacy for one more question, and this will be for a little bit of fun.

Stacy:
Alright. I'm going to throw up another poll. (Laughs) Launch another poll!

Third poll question:
So this one: How many people would consider that their sales skills level is at either Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, or Level 4? Do you want to talk a bit about the different levels? Level 1 is where ... yea. The highest is Level 4. Level 1 is ... OK, great. Thank-you so much for participating. I'm going to close the poll.

Poll results:
And we'll see that generally people are considering themselves at Level 3. The next one is Level 2. Level 1 and 4 we have 7 percent and 15 percent.

Sam Rashkin:
That's an incredible skill level for a class like this. I'm really impressed. So thank-you all for putting up with that. So now, continuing to review part I. Let's look at the agenda for part I.

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We covered the context, the hard trends that we think suggest Zero is around the corner. And then, in terms of concepts, skills, tools, and practice, we went into the first skill, which revolves around the concept of knowledge matters and how to be a product expert. When you do speak to a customer and they know that you are so expert in that product, their confidence is so important. Enthusiasm earns -- knowledge breeds enthusiasm and earns trust. One of those old sales axioms that's forever true. So we brought our audience last week with the last training class, the tool, the Building America Solution Center, your new best friend. And then the practice was to register for the Solution Center and practice developing customized field kits for your models and homes. And then part II, we are going to cover words matter, and the skill we're going to go into is how to translate jargon into value. The tool we'll provide you is the Building Science Translator, and we'll ask you to practice using power words and developing power word fact sheets for your homes and models. Then the next skill is questions matter. You have to be an incredibly effective detective, uncovering each and every customer's needs. And you get there with a tool we've often underused, value questions, and the practice relies on you role-playing with colleagues and sometimes friends and family. The second to last skill is clarity matters, and the skill we'll provide you is how to create contrast that makes the value you have compelling. And the tools we'll give you are comparison bar fact sheets and how to create experiences that create contrast. And the practice will be using is the point-to-sale comparison bar tool in how to create experiences. And lastly, we'll wrap up with process matters, how we translate relevant value in less than 45 seconds, knowing how difficult the sales process is, to cover benefits when the emotion of buying a house is so overwhelming, if you will. So we have a five-step process for how you can do that, and the practice will be role-playing that process with colleagues and friends. So this is the sales training part II, and part I agenda.

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In part I, we introduced context. The reason why we see Zero as so imminent is that it addresses three key factors that are really important. One is performance risk, one is captioned differentiation opportunity, and the other is being an answer to the innovation imperative.

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In terms of the specifications of Zero Energy Ready Home, we start with the fact, from an existing home we're going to an advanced enclosure, just by way of even a minimum-code home, or as many builders do, a very low HERS Index score home. And then with the Zero Energy Ready Home spec, we're going to manage risk because we're going to ensure that you have an optimized comfort system using the best available methods today. We're going to ensure that you have complete water protection, not only that your home is so much better insulated and air-sealed, has no tolerance for getting wet because it can't dry. And we've provided a comprehensive indoor air quality specification, knowing that because the home is so much more insulated and particularly airtight, it needs a greater assurance of fresh air and a way to dilute contaminants. So the Indoor airPLUS package is a critical part of our program specification. Then in terms of differentiation, one is, we're going to say, let's take the best expert guidance from some of the most amazing people in the world who know how to do housing at the highest level, and include the recommendations they have for optimizing your enclosure today. Then we're going to make sure that you have advanced technology throughout the house, with efficient components that can then address the remaining loads in your home besides heating and cooling, to further reduce the energy use of your house, and like I said, also include advanced technology. And with all that load reduction, let's also put in the solar-ready construction features that are low- or no-cost, so your house can now be positioned from a differentiation perspective, as a Zero Energy Ready house. And one of the key parts I also want to mention with the optimized enclosure, is it takes your house to the next generation of energy codes. Your house is also positioned for the future. With most homes, even a home built to the minimum Energy Star requirements, will be illegal to build in three to four years in most states. That is not the case with your differentiated Zero Energy Ready Home. This is a home to the power of Zero. This is a Zero Energy Ready Home that will be easily recognized with this logo that appears on all certified homes. So that was the context for what you're selling and why we think it's such a powerful imminent product for the housing industry. So that was the context.

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And in terms of the innovation side, we talked about a very essential point that consumers are a lot smarter. Over 250 percent more consumers over the last four or five years now go to the Web before they go visit builders.

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And therefore we're going from information asymmetry, where the consumer knows much less than the buyer, to information parity, where the buyer is becoming more and more knowledgeable with the builder, or with the seller.

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And that's going to eventually happen in the home-building industry, as well. So you said let's go to the first skill, which is based on the concept that knowledge matters.

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And we introduced you to the tool, which is the Building America Solution Center, an online tool that also has a mobile application that's fast, free, it's reliable. In fact, it's your new best friend. It's going to make you able to become the expert on your product in the most convenient, easy way possible. It's a quick access to all the content about your Zero Energy Ready Home. And in fact, if you work with ENERGY STAR certified homes, or Indoor airPLUS or WaterSense, those programs, too, are all served by the Solution Center. In the case of WaterSense, that content is coming online in the near term. But this is your way to be an expert in the quickest, most convenient way, and in the most effective way. And the guidance you'll get will really help you speak to your customers in a way that they can understand what this product is and why all the measures included are so powerful, including the consumer experience they have living in that home.

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So the interface for the Solution Center is very simple. You go to a mockup of a house with the components, the components you care about, but the one we recommend the most is by checklists. And again, you can go to ENERGY STAR, Zero Energy Ready, Indoor airPLUS, and so forth. Those checklists will pull up the items, and you'll learn item by item what's in your house. There are other ways to search the Solution Center, graphically, alphabetically, by topics, and more detailed with the Building Science Publication Search function. But essentially, the goal is to get you to these guides.

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The guides are the cornerstone of the content that you will care about. There are over 20 different guides that will make you smarter in whatever measures are relevant to the home or model or community that you're selling. Each guide is eight tabs that provide you with quick, easy information and very easy-to-understand information.

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Now most importantly, like I keep saying, the Solution Center is a customizable tool. It lets you pick only the information you need, if you register as a user and then set up your own personal field kits. One field kit per house, or model, can be whatever works for you. You can store all the guides, images, CAD drawings, whatever is of interest for each model or home, and use that as a reference either on the computer itself, from the mobile application pulling it up, you can see it in that form, or creating binders by printing out the product, the information, PDF, content. So you have a resource to become the expert.

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And the practice we asked, to use this, to do last week, and thank-you for so many of you who are actually going in and working with the Solution Center, was to register as a Solution Center user, start compiling a list of all the measures for a specific home, model, or community that you're working with, then to create a personal field kit for that home, or model, community, and populate it with the guides that are relevant to all the measures included with each home. We recommend that if you did print the guides, compile a binder to be your study binder, if you will. And then to study the guides and get yourself to Level 4, where if anyone asks you about your product, you are the expert. So that's a review of part I. I hope I didn't go too fast.

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But there's a lot of content left for part II.

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I'm going to start with the first concept, which is that words matter. And not only do they matter, they matter a lot.

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Take a concept like any products we buy and how the marketplace chooses and names the products so that we are most interested in changing our behavior and buying that product. Now, the fish industry was really interested in selling us a new fish years and years ago called the Patagonian Toothfish. And to amazing surprise, no one wanted to eat "Toothfish." And so, the industry was really frustrated, because this was a really delicious fish that no one would buy.

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So they thought about it and changed to a different word, Chilean Sea Bass. Thereafter, sales exploded and the success of that particular seafood was extraordinary. Just changing a name can change behavior. That's how powerful words are.

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We can look at this in the political arena, as well. There's one group in politics that was very frustrated with the estate tax, but the public opinion would support it, because it seemed to make sense that if you had a big estate, you should be expected to pay the tax. So to be more effective rallying public opinion to support getting rid of the estate tax, it was simply named to a different word, the death tax.

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Why should you pay taxes just because you died? Everything changes with the words we use.

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Now, what's really interesting to me in our industry, on the existing homes side, is that we persist in naming a house assessment an energy audit. I don't know any consumer in any walk of life that's waiting for an experience of an audit. Nobody wants to be audited. Everything about that term normally conveys a negative connotation to the potential customer. So why would you use that term?

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Potentially, we could go to an energy checkup, knowing that almost every consumer with a large investment in let's say something like a car, or their own bodies, appreciates a checkup as a prudent course of behavior. You bring it in to make sure your investment sustains, or in terms of your health, your health sustains. Everyone every year, all the time accepts a checkup as something you do with very a substantial investment, so why shouldn't we be selling an energy checkup for people who own a home? Words can make a difference.

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Now, take something as trivial as a transfer grill. And how would we get a consumer to even possibly be interested in it? And we'll talk more about this later, but it's much easier to sell a comfort vent, something that ensures that every time you're in your room, you can be ensured comfort with proper mixing and circulation of fresh air. And so that's an experience I can understand, and that trivial little piece of my house I would normally never pay attention to now has some value.

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And what consumer wants a ventilation system? They've never had any context or experience that conveys in their mind a value for a ventilation system. But everyone understands, they like fresh air. Whenever the house feels stuffy, you walk out for fresh air. So why would we call it ventilation system? Fresh-air system. Words make a difference.

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So we can go on and on, but you're starting to get the point that the idea is we have to move away from naming things by their technical function, when it's time to be in a public-facing, consumer-messaging situation.

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You need to start thinking about the consumer experience, and particularly, what's better about that experience.

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That's what power words is all about, to remove from technical jargon to a language of value.

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And so we set about doing just that, creating a new entire glossary of terms that are based on value-based consumer experience. And it begins first by realizing you can't just go one term at a time, but you need a kind of a taxonomy and framework for how you do this. So you have to have a consistent way of using the new terminology. So for instance, an HVAC system becomes a comfort system. HVAC means nothing to me, but I do appreciate -- I want comfort. And now comfort has to mean something more than what it used to mean, because heating and cooling is no longer enough. It's heating, cooling, and relative humidity control. Now once we embrace that HVAC systems are about comfort, everything about the HVAC system has to be tied to that terminology. So the HVAC system is a comfort system, the HVAC equipment becomes the comfort equipment, the ducts become the comfort delivery system, the terminals are comfort outlets, pressure balancing becomes comfort balancing, the transfer grill becomes a comfort vent, and the thermostat becomes a comfort control system. So now there's consistency in the terminology, and we don't confuse consumers. There's always an anchor to how we're messaging to them.

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Another example would be what do we mean when we say high-performance? It's a term we throw out so often, but I don't think a lot of us talk about what is the message that you should consistently convey to the buyer when we use the term high-performance? And what we are suggesting with this new translator glossary is that performance means both enhanced efficiency above standards and codes or business as usual, and ensured quality installation. You can't have a high-performance window if it's installed without good detailing around the (inaudible) and it's sealed properly, and without pan flashing and regular flashing around all the opening to prevent moisture from coming in. That's not a high-performance window if it doesn't have the proper installation measures, as well. That's an energy-efficient window that's installed improperly if those details are missing. So what we want to convey with high-performance is a consistent framework for that term, and it's enhanced efficiency plus ensured quality installation. So now we know what we mean by high-performance windows. It's not the window itself; it's a window plus the installation. High-performance installation is both adequate amount or quantity of installation plus the quality of how it's installed. Same with the comfort system. It's not just efficient, if it was installed properly.

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And then we need to be really careful how we throw out the word "efficiency," what we mean when we say "high" and "ultra." Sometimes people use the word "super." We made some of the expert meetings, and the best consensus, preferences, we came up with, the two categories were high-efficiency and ultra-efficient. High-efficiency means that a product is at least 15 percent or more efficient than the minimum-code standard for business as usual. And ultra-efficient should be reserved only for situations where about 50 percent or more efficient than minimum-code standard for business as usual. So now we have consistency when we use this terminology. And it can be either high-efficient or ultra-efficient insulation based on a reference to the minimum-code requirements. It could be high-efficient or ultra-efficient based on minimum code window requirements, and it can be a high-efficient or ultra-efficient refrigerator based on make or requirements. So now we have a structure, a way to consistently communicate. We have terminology that we can use.

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Then applying this -- how do we talk about quality installation? We need a term for that. Again, based on a number of expert meetings and coalescing around the best terminology, we settled on professionally installed, meaning ensured quality installation. And what that means in a little more detail is that the installation is compliant with the industry and manufacturer standards. It doesn't sound like a high bar, but in fact it really is a high bar, with the way our current installation structure is set for so many of the products that are installed in homes. So professionally installed is the terminology for that. It can be a professionally installed insulation, window, comfort system, or comfort delivery system, and now it always means a consistent message to the buyer.

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And maybe the most revolutionary concept is the fact that you don't need just one term per measure. In fact, you have a number of alternate terms tied to the various consumer experiences and value that each measure that goes into a high-performance home can deliver. And let me explain further. Take for instance a Low-E window. If I care about efficiency, I'm going to call it a high- or ultra-efficient window, pinned on what it earns by its performance to a buyer. I know a buyer that's really concerned about comfort, based on where they last lived, that having comfort. Or talk about the fact that our homes have advanced comfort windows. I'm talking about a buyer who really cares about the indoor environment. Talk about a quiet window. I'm talking about a buyer who's really focused on technology. It's advanced window technology. If the buyer had durability issues in the last home, we now have a sun protection window. But that same exact measure, in this case it's five different names. And the power word I would use from the glossary for the individual buyer would depend on what that buyer cares most about. What are their needs, and how do I address their needs with words that will resonate most effectively in that particular communication? That is the big revolutionary concept with the glossary, many terms for each measure.

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So I've taken one first page of the glossary, which is many pages long. This is what it looks like. There's a current name in the left column, first column, that's the old building science jargon name. There's a name we'll probably use most commonly for the power word, the new building science terminology. And then there's all the alternative options for how we can use that -- you can speak about that measure, based on different value propositions. If you need comfort, healthful environment, ultra-efficient, technology, quality built, and enhanced durability. So I go to the high-R or Low-E window example we just mentioned before, there you see all the alternative terminology in our glossary about how to speak about a high-R window or Low-E window. And if I collect all the measures that are in my house for a specific attribute, and I know a homebuyer cares about that attribute, now I have a compelling list of innovations in my home for something that buyer really cares about. It may be health, then I collect all the health terminology and can combine that into a single list of innovations that we feature to improve health, using words that are based on experience instead of jargon. And that is the concept of the building science translator, so that it can ultimately produce these kinds of power lists of measures using words that really resonate. A fresh-air system. A quiet house. Moisture control, and so forth. All listing innovations that address what that buyer would care about. We'll talk more later about how these would be generated automatically as the Building Science Translator reaches its ultimate format in the Building America Solution Center.

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So here's the Building America Solution Center. This is an artist's rendering of what it will produce once you use a new ninth tab for the translator. It will generate content in how to convert the technical term, in this case, a transfer grill to a comfort vent. It will have a short description that's really useful for presenting to consumers, and then a sales message that conveys it in a way that makes a very strong case, when there's a relevant benefit and a mini-close about wouldn't you care about this measure. So this will be a format for how we provide the content on the Building America Solution Center.

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In addition, there'll be in the Solution Center a way to create sales tools that will easily let you go by listing measures or specific value propositions quickly and easily that in a very short few minutes create tools based again, on this content.

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And essentially you will have point-of-sale material generated automatically with your name, your logo, your contact information, Zero Energy Ready Home branding, and then innovation lists by value proposition about your home. Look at the 50 innovations we've added to our home to protect the health of you and your family. Now when you and your children are using inhalers every day, wouldn't you agree, this is an amazing list of improvements to have in any new home? Here are the engineered comfort features we have, so you no longer will have that cold bedroom up in the west side of the home, or that cold second floor, or cold basement. And here are all the things that make our house ultra-efficient, 50 different innovations that take our house to the next level, in fact so efficient you can offset most or all energy with renewable energy. Or here's all the technology throughout the house that reflects how we are on the cutting-edge of taking homes with the best that we can do for new innovations. Or, we have fact sheets about how our homes are quality built, or how our homes are designed for enhanced durability. All of those will be generated in minutes, based on your home, your specific measures, and for your Zero Energy Ready package. This is forthcoming on the Building America Solution Center, so we'll talk more about what to do there, here in this practice.

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First, get the list of measures for your home or model. Two for your practice, find the Building Science Translator Glossary on the Zero Ready Home website. Look for that in the next one or two weeks to be posted. Then, print out the glossary. Highlight all the measures from your home or model in the glossary. And then prepare value sheets manually for your home, in terms of all the innovations that make it more healthful, more comfortable, more efficient, and so forth. And then study and learn the power words, so they flow, so that the automatic first term you use whenever you speak to a buyer. And practice replacing that jargon until you're at Level 4. You shouldn't have to think when you use these terms. And then lastly, that Building America Solution Center is going to make it so much easier to prepare these innovation sheets about your specific home. So look for the release of the Solution Center, next upgrade with the Building Science Translator, in June, and right away we'll feature a training class, how to use that to generate those innovation fact sheets for your home. Practice matters.

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OK, now moving on to the next skill, based on the concept that questions matter.

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You have to learn to ask questions that uncover needs. And often questions that uncover commonalities. People know you came from the same home, or went to the same school, or you both have two or three children, whatever it may be that starts creating a platform for really getting people comfortable with you. Starting to ask the other kinds of questions you need to ask to uncover what they really care about. The first question, of course, is the most important. Getting permission to ask questions. "You know, I really see you are interested in our home or models. Do you mind if I asked you a few questions so I can better explain to you what's in these homes that you might care about?" So it's getting permission first; it really sets your customers at ease. A really important thing to do. And then once you start asking questions, the second part means that you're really looking for emotions, for people's eyes to open up. There'll be certain things that give you that quick sign that you're in a hot zone where they really care about something. And you really have to figure out how they live in their home. Until you know how they live in their home, the things they do every day, the things they care about, you can't begin to start positioning. And it's that simple. You just have to keep asking questions, keep finding those key points, the emotions of how they live. Questions have to be easy to answer. They have to be interesting, and not like they're going through a hard questionnaire. And they have to encourage them. They want to talk about those questions and answers. Those are their problems and desires. And the key thing here is the 90/10 rule. You're the salesperson, but you're supposed to be listening 90 percent of the time and talking 10 percent. Your 10 percent will be really effective, but only after you've listened 90 percent and truly have uncovered the needs for each buyer.

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And some sample starter questions I'll throw out here, because this is a tough one to do on a webinar format. But things like, what do you like least living in your existing home or apartment? Help me understand what you're trying to improve and make better in your life. What do you most like living in your existing home or apartment? Maybe we can build on that and you can start creating a better experience in your next new home. Why are you shopping for a home? It's going to reveal a whole array of points to start asking further questions. How do you envision living in your next new home? Really will start cutting to what they care about, what they're emotional about. Do you have any concerns or special needs for your family members in selecting a new home? Are they really concerned about kids, again, with inhalers? Are they concerned about never being comfortable in their past homes? Things like this will crop up. And do you have any must-have features that we need to know about to again, make sure we address your needs? You get the point. You start with these kind of questions, and then it's being detective thereafter. Normally in a sales training workshop we do, we start breaking into practice sessions. You will need to do this yourself.

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You're going to have to practice this skill, because research shows it's still a very significantly lacking Level 4 skill in the marketplace. Gordon Cook's research from years ago was really revealing. I think he went to 30 to 50 different production builders with these mystery shopping teams. And they all were trained to find out just how the sales process worked. And the amazing conclusion about how little questioning happened to uncover needs, was very, very revealing. And my personal mystery shopping on projects representing thousands of homes suggests that's still the case. So we have to practice developing questions that can uncover the needs of your buyers. Find a partner at your company, in your house, friends, I don't care, but then set up a situation where your partner is hypothetically at that point looking for a home, and practice asking questions to uncover needs. Based on their response to those questions, see if you can identify at least three critical needs that are matched to the value -- special value you can deliver with Zero Energy Ready Home that we talked about in part I. And then practice every week with questions until you're at Level 4 skill. If there's nothing else you do, in terms of practice, this one may be the most important. You've got to be good at asking questions.

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OK, next skill is clarity matters.

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I've picked up a lot of the finer points on this from a recent read for me, Daniel Pink's "To Sell is Human." It really reinforced a lot of my thinking and added to it in such a special way. I would recommend that one look at this.

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But clarity is so important, and it depends on contrast. We often understand something better when we see it in comparison to something else, than when we see it in isolation. Every high-performance home is more comfortable, more healthy, more safe, more durable, more efficient. What's the difference between an ENERGY STAR home, a Zero Energy Ready Home, a U.S. Green Building LEED for Home? Every one has virtually the same message: We're healthy, comfortable, safe, durable. It just doesn't mean anything because there's no contrast.

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So we have to find a way to do that. And that's what we did for you, the partners in the Zero Energy Ready Home program. We have one thing to do. Everyone must start at ENERGY STAR to be considered for Zero Energy Ready Home. It's a prerequisite. So what we have to convince the builder to do is invest another three to eight thousand dollars to make your home a Zero Energy Ready. And so we don't have clarity about what's in it for them to do that. What's in it for their buyers? How can we possibly convey that? An ENERGY STAR home is more healthy, comfortable, safe, and durable. So is ours. What's the difference? So that was really the focus of what we had to do. And in addition, we felt we wanted them to show the amazing difference between a used home or existing home and a Zero Energy Ready Home. So we created a point-of-sale contrast tool for clarity. It has a set of bars assigned to each of the different value propositions we talked about earlier. And then shows contrast for how it works. Now before I go into this more, the most important thing to know is that it's based on a very, very robust analysis that's published and transparent on the Zero Energy Ready Home website.

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We've sent it out for review to other groups like ENERGY STAR for Homes team, and for others outside. It's promoted. It's on our website, and it shows all the quantification and analysis done to calibrate and develop the bars that you see on this tool.

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So the way it works, basically, is you've done your questioning, you know Mr. and Mrs. Smith really care about health, you take out your big marker -- not your pen, your big marker, big lines -- and circle: "By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, I have this fact sheet about our homes, and let me pull this out and give it to you, because I know you care about health. Let me circle how much different our homes are with health."

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And when you circle this, let me show you the power of this set of bars with each and every value proposition. When you go and focus on these bars, look at what you can now say with clarity: "Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the leading authority on health in housing and buildings in our nation, has a set of recommendations they believe should be in all new homes constructed today. A used home has only a small number or amount of these improvements. An ENERGY STAR has about half of these improvements, based on their minimum requirements. The Zero Energy Ready Home has all of these recommendations for improved health by the nation's leading authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wouldn't you agree, knowing how important health is to you and your family, that every new home should have all of these recommendations?" What happens all of a sudden, now there's a consequence to my decision to buy or not buy your Zero Energy Ready Home, because now there is a relevant benefit they care about, health, and now there's a difference they can understand. It's not just more healthful and something they can dismiss. It's a benefit that either they get hardly any, half, or all. And now you make a much, much more effective case for changing behavior in buying your house. Clarity is everything.

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And consistency of clarity is everything. So if you go to the Zero Energy Ready Home brochure and look at the messaging there, it's the exact same framework. We're building off those same comparison bars for clarity with a little more detail. So in the case of handing out the brochure instead of the fact sheet, you would take that marker out and you'd circle "Healthful environment" with the same message: "Wouldn't you agree, every new home should have these improvements, especially for a family like yours where your children have to use inhalers?" It's just such a powerful way to score an important benefit relevant to that buyer. By the way, early on we talked about value propositions about visionary and about exclusivity, and where those are not addressed by the six main sets of bars, the brochure addresses them right up here. If I had a new home buyer that was really nervous they were buying a product that was good for them as a first-time buyer, that was a home that would retain its value and be forward-looking, I would say circle the "Future of housing today." "Wouldn't you agree, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, this is the first house you're buying. A home built to future specifications, ready for the marketplace where it is the next four, five, six years, is so important as you consider moving up to your next new house, at that time?" Or if you have a buyer who's really nervous because it's their first home, you can at the same juncture when you circle this, point out that only a select group of the builders in the country -- less than 1 percent -- meet the extraordinary levels of excellence and quality specified in the Zero Energy Ready Home guidelines by the U.S. Department of Energy. "Wouldn't you agree, for your first home, when you're assured of this kind of excellence, it's such an amazing comfort and peace of mind?" Again, the clarity enhances your message.

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So sales rules are so important. People retain 10 percent of what they hear, 90 percent of what they experience. So also can we create experiences, because they matter so much, and then make sure those experiences dramatize contrast. Because if they dramatize contrast, it will be emotion. And people make decisions on emotion and justify with the facts. So we really have to get great experiences, because that's what people retain. And we need to make them based on contrast.

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For contrast, billboards like this all over, where all builders basically have to say, it's price and location. Virtually, if you look at a million different ads or billboards from builders, this is effectively the message. Come to our homes, from only 200s, the low 100s, 300s at this location, and our name. Trust us, we're a builder. It's them saying to you that message. In contrast, compare that to a Zero Energy Ready Home builder like Garbett Homes, national billboard message: "My power bill is $5. What's yours? - Heather Robbins, Garbett home owner." Amazing contrast to be this builder versus the other builders. Not only do you have something amazing to say, you're not saying it. Your buyer is saying that. There's so much contrast between this message and every other builder that's an amazing powerful differentiator and market position to be in.

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And you'll see it over and over as more and more builders figure this out. This is a builder from Fresno, California: "My cool mom's August electric bill was -$60. What was yours?" Very powerful messages.

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And I've heard so many times, at least five or six times, actual reports of people living in homes able to throw away their inhaler. If you have a homeowner who has an experience like that, you need to harvest that. That's an amazing contrast, between having to use an inhaler and not using an inhaler. What is the price on that value to that homeowner who has that experience? Remember, one out of 10 children use inhalers. If the average family has two children, maybe one out of five or close to that percentage of buyers coming to you as families would really benefit from this message. "Our daughter couldn't breathe without discomfort for years. Within months of moving into our new home, we threw away the inhaler. That was priceless." You have to harvest these kinds of testimonial statements, because they will create contrasts that are amazingly powerful in the sales process. Another way to create contrast is to show what's hard to see. Who knew that, in fact, when you buy high-performance homes, it adds up to over $90,000 in savings over 30 years, by living in that home? An amazing contrast. Back to that simple little device, the transfer grill, and how inconsequential it can be in our home. But if you had someone who, in questioning, told you their bedrooms weren't very comfortable, they were too humid or too cold, you can mention to them, "By the way, every one of our homes comes with something called a comfort vent, that allows the air to go from the bedroom to the hallway, so there's full mixing and delivery of comfort at all times. Let me close the door to show you what happens to our bedrooms without a comfort vent. And I'm going to blow up this balloon to make the case. When the door is shut, the room becomes like a balloon. ...

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And when the system can get air in initially, it eventually can't get the dehumidification and heating and cooling, and so without the comfort vent, your home winds up being uncomfortable. Wouldn't you agree, such a simple innovation is so important to have in every new home to ensure your comfort?" This experience, now I understand how something so inconsequential now is meaningful to me, and how respectful I am of the builder who knows to improve his home with these kinds of details.

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Or show the difference between what you include in your homes versus standard construction. Any consumer can see new versus obsolescence. This is how we used to build homes on the right. Compare that to the advanced walls we do today in our homes. Six different layers of innovation that transform your experience inside your home. "Wouldn't you agree, when you have one chance to get it right, and then it's locked in for 200 years, that this is the kind of innovation you want in your next new home?" Again, simple displays make the difference.

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Here's one again. If I know a homeowner is coming from a house where they're really frustrated by all the noise from whatever activity was going on outside, whether it was traffic or kids playing or construction, I would simply pull out the insulation bucket experience. "This bucket mimics the complete insulation system we put in our house. Not just a lot of insulation, but how it was installed, in a way that provides a thermal blanket, like nothing you've experienced. Let me show you the effect of this kind of insulation system. This bucket is just like the system that we used. I have this panic alarm. Excuse me, I'm going to pull it. It's going to be an amazing noise." You pull it, and it almost drives everyone's ears to distraction with such serious noise. You drop it in the bucket, you put it in the insulated. The room goes completely quiet. And you say "Wouldn't you agree, every new home should have an insulation system that defines this kind of comfort and quiet?" And the impact of that experience, seeing a room go from shrieking a harsh noise to complete quiet, that is an experience I want.

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Now we also require in Zero Energy Ready Home that all the ducts are inside the conditioned space. So them, their ducts are outside, versus us, our ducts are inside. But how do you make that an experience? And this is what I struggle with quite a bit.

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And this is where I've come to right now, what I would do. I would simply make sure my oven was on at 140 or 130 degrees. As I'm walking around the house, let it heat up, show them other things. But if I know that comfort is really important to them, or not wasting energy is really important to this particular buyer, what I would simply do is say, "By the way, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I want to show you something. We do things that are so hard to explain and to show you. But let me try to do it with this little demonstration. This oven right now is set to the same temperature as your attic would be in the summer. And here's a piece of duct that would be running your 55-degree chilled air for your comfort and cooling in the summer. What our competitors do is they put their ducts in an attic at this temperature, just like this. I'm going to close the door and wouldn't you agree, it's so foolish to put air- conditioned air in an oven? We do, and that's why we build every home with our cooling ducts inside our conditioned space." And it's a very effective way to explain something that otherwise is very complicated. It's an experience I understand that conveys the value.

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Again, I can go on and on with these. You can show used homes versus new homes, in terms of infrared imaging, which are amazing at conveying the difference in quality construction.

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You can show the difference between Brand X and better moisture protection for your home, by showing one type of moisture protection in a jar and a lid, and turn the water over, and it trips out, and you show after you put a nail in it. Then show the moisture protection you use in your house, put a nail in it, turn it upside down, and no water comes out. "Wouldn't you agree, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it's such a great investment to protect my home from moisture damage with better materials?"

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It's just all these contrasts make a difference. You know, every house is required to have a fabric filter wrapped tile drain around the perimeter. This is just a moisture protected foundation, as far as the consumer will know, with a power word term. But essentially, to drive home this point, you show them, this is the typical drain tile, or again, moisture protection system, that goes around the foundation, after seven or eight years. They all look like this because the units for the water get clogged with sediment over seven or eight years. Yet this home will be around for hundreds of years. "We know better. We only use drain tile or we only use a foundation protection system, moisture protection system, that's protected with a layer that doesn't let the sediment in and never clogs. Wouldn't you agree, this kind of protection that's otherwise cost-prohibitive to fix should be in every new home?" Contrast, and I get the value.

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And us versus them, you can again provide the lists of all the innovations that go in your home.

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So clarity matters, and we have to practice. And so we want you to prepare Zero Energy Ready Home points-of-sale fact sheets for your home or models and then learn to present those. And those are the comparison bar fact sheets. So customize them for your business, because every point-of-sale fact sheet is a customizable tool that can have your company name, contact information, and logo. So customize the point-of-sale fact sheet and / or brochure, and practice presenting those comparison bars clearly and succinctly with colleagues, friends, and family, every week until the close of Level 4. If people see you straining to get out the message about the difference in the bars, you'll lose them. And develop point-of-sale experiences. I showed you a whole array to give you lots of good ideas. But you have to develop and then practice presenting them, so people see with clear contrast the benefits of your house.

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OK, moving on to the last concept and skill, process matters. And what we're going to talk about here for a short stretch is the five-step 45-second sales process. And we know where a lot of the high-performance improvements in a home stand relative to the other interests people have when they're walking through and looking at a new home. The emotion is completely driven by the architecture, the layouts, the kitchens, the master suites. We know all those amazing things you can touch and feel, the granite counters, are what's driving the emotion. But it doesn't mean you don't have low times when you can insert power messages and provide the facts to justify the emotion and enable the purchase.

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And so the five-step process to insert those key, really compelling points about your home that are relevant, starting with figuring out which features to talk about. Again, you've asked questions. Now you have some features to talk about. And so based on the Building Science Translator, you're going to use the power words that matter. So you're going to have a feature -- maybe we'll talk about how many in a moment -- you have a feature, you use the power word to say, "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, our home comes with a complete thermal protection system." Step No. 2: You tell its advantage in a simple, quick way, based on the knowledge you obtained by studying the Building America Solution Center. "A complete thermal protection system means that your house not only has enough insulation, it means it was installed so professionally, you'll have an experience inside your home like you've never had before." Then, based on the questions, you can now explain it in terms of a benefit that's relevant to that buyer. "What that means to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, is that you no longer will have an upstairs that's always cold in the winter, but it will always have every floor, every room, equally comfortable." And to demonstrate that difference, you then pull out your infrared image contrast, or you might pull out the insulation bucket and say, "Look at how a standard construction is built, versus existing? Isn't it amazing to look at the amount of defects that show up and heat going out of a home, compared to new construction built with the latest technology for thermal protection?" Then, key Step No. 5: "Wouldn't you agree, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, when you have one chance to get it right, and you're buying the biggest purchase of a lifetime, this kind of innovation, that complete thermal protection system, should be in every new home you consider?" Forty-five seconds. I know they care about always being cold upstairs. I pulled out a feature that will help solve that issue for them. I gave them an experience, to look at the difference with visual imaging. It's frightening how bad it can be without the complete insulation system. And then I asked for a mini-close. And I can do this with any of the measures. We talked about the comfort realm, which was comfort vent -- which was the transfer grill. "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, every one of our homes comes with comfort vents in each and every bedroom. The advantage of a comfort vent: It means now, in our homes, all the air in bedrooms can now circulate to the central return and completely mix and ensure comfort at all times in the bedroom. What this means to you is, unlike in the past, when you've had bedrooms that were clammy in the hot summer days, or were humid and too cold in the winter, you will always be comfortable, because there always will be mixing. And just to show you what's going on, let me close the door and show you what happens when the air can't get out of the room, just like with this balloon. Let me blow it up. At a certain point there's no more ability for me to deliver air in the balloon, just like your comfort system can't do in your bedrooms. What this means to you is that you'll always have comfort at all times. Wouldn't you agree, it's silly to no longer have all your rooms feel great, and provide the comfort you deserve with such simple effect of technology available to builders today?" Very simple, 45 seconds. I haven't disrupted all the other emotional process. I just keep inserting facts that drive home the emotion. If I've done my other job right, providing good designs, good layouts, good locations, this is the kind of the close, because it applies all the other skills that we've talked about today, in part II. How many features might you do this for? Probably three at most. It's possible you can get up to five. But three to five features is probably the most that you'll identify through your questioning process. But again, this is why all the skills are important. You've got to get to a point where you're Level 4, where you don't think, you just do this naturally. And you just are getting three-, four-, five-minute closes on top of the emotional experience. If you've done good designs, and good layouts, and good communities.

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So process matters. You've got to practice. This is one of the hardest to learn. When I do the sales training classes with builders, I know this one we spend the most amount of time. And effectively, this one is going to take many, many iterations of practice. You find a partner, set up a practice with a partner who's hypothetically looking for a home. Again, practice asking the questions to get their needs, and then based on those questions, you have the three to five needs that you're going to target with the 45-second five-step process. Then practice delivering that process. It's going to be awkward. It's going to be hesitant. It's going to be more than 45 seconds. But use your power words. Use your knowledge. Use your experiences that you've developed. And make sure to finish with a mini-close at the end. And practice every week until you get to Level 4. This is going to be imperative before you become Level 4.

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So, I'm going to wrap up right now.

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We ran a little bit long. But one of the things I love at the end of the Daniel Pink book "To Sell is Human" is, he puts forward his theory that we're going from constantly up-selling and losing customers as lifelong customers and just putting them in situations where they know they're up-sold, or they didn't get something of real value, to, in the age of like, informed buyers, up-serving. And the goal of the sales process is going to be, is my up-serving versus up-selling. And he believes there are two questions at the core of this service of up-serving consumers. If the person you're selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? And when your -- No. 2 -- when your interaction is over, will the world be a better place than when you began? And how great is it to know that when you sell Zero Energy Ready Homes, you'll be up-serving at the highest level. You will be changing the entire experience of people's lives in homes. They've never had a consumer experience like they've had living in zero-ready homes. And the fact that these homes are so good for themselves, their communities, the planet, for our economy. In every way these homes are making the world a better place. So at the highest level, selling Zero Energy Ready Homes is truly up-serving all of your buyers.

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With that message, I'll let Lindsay kind of wrap up with the questions that came in, if people want to stick around for a little extra time, and the wrap-up.

Lindsay Parker:
Thank-you, Sam, again for another wonderful, very informative presentation. We did have a few questions come in. I tried to facilitate several that were coming in as you asked them. But there's one question specifically on the sales tool, for example: Will the sales tool be available to all contractors, or only contractors that commit to the Zero Energy Ready pledge?

Sam Rashkin:
When the question is referring to the sales tool, I'm assuming it's about two things. It could be the point-of-sale tool for having a fact sheet with the bars comparing the value performance of Zero Energy Ready to ENERGY STAR, to an existing home. Or the brochures, for that matter. Or there's a sales tool that generates the long list of innovations that are featured in your home for each of the value propositions, which is based on the Building America Solution Center platform. So the point-of-sale fact sheet and the Zero Energy Ready Home brochure are available today, are both customizable with your name, logo, and contact information, but they're only accessible if you're a Zero Energy Ready Home partner. Now you can pull them up without being customized, but if you want to use them in the customized format, you get a password once you're a partner and then you can use it for that purpose. Regarding the Building America Solution Center, that's available to anybody from any program who first registers as a user to the Building America Solution Center. And the sales tool, as I mentioned, should be up and running on a June timeframe. So the upgrade to the Solution Center will come out. We'll have training classes for it. But if you're building -- if you're an ENERGY STAR for Homes partner, a LEED for Homes builder or contractor, if you're in any program, the NHB, the Builder Guidelines, any program you're doing, you can use that sales tool to create the long list of innovations in your homes. But the Zero Energy Ready Home comparison bars are unique to that program, our program, and therefore they are tied to being a partner in our program.

Lindsay Parker:
We have time for one more question. I think we have time for one question. Are there any plans to introduce Zero Energy Ready Homes for HUD homes or modular builders?

Sam Rashkin:
The bigger question is just, will HUD and HUD-code homes and other HUD projects or modular builders simply build to our program specifications? We hope they do, because we believe this is the most affordable housing solution for homeowners. You take the second largest cost of home ownership, utility bills, and you position them to go down to zero or close to zero. You're getting rid of an amazing expense, the second greatest expense of home ownership for families. But in the case of affordable-home owners, where a typical homeowner may spend 6 percent of their income for a utility bill, the affordable-home owner or household spends up to 20 percent or more for the utility bill. So this is, in our minds, an incredibly cost-effective way to take housing and make it more manageable for low-income households. So we hope HUD does this. HUD-code homes are able to participate in this program. And any modular builder that wants to work with Zero Energy Ready Home, all they have to do is simply join the program like any other builder partner.

Lindsay Parker:
OK, real quick, there's one more question, Sam. In addition to Daniel Pink's book, do you recommend other books and materials that would assist in improving skills necessary for successful sites?

Sam Rashkin:
I've read too many, and I've listened to too many seminars on tape to tell you that there's just so much out there. More than I can possibly name. Except to just, if you Google and look for sales training, there's so many names that will appear over and over again, because they've established such great content and training on the basics of sales. So rather than highlight any one of them -- I know with the Daniel Pink book I risk listing one particular piece of content, but it's so new and relevant and it's so uniquely tied, particularly with the up-serving concepts that I mentioned, to what we do, I thought it would be OK to feature that particular content. But do just go look at normal search results for sales training, and very quickly you'll find there's just so many good resources. It's a skill we don't practice enough. I was very interested in the beginning, when we had people self-assess what level they are, that so many put themselves at Level 3. You know, I'm always reluctant to put myself above 3 after practicing for years and years. But it just -- there's so much to learn. And there's so much that we need to know. And I'm hopeful that, hopefully today, most people who attended the webinar will appreciate maybe more than they did before attending this webinar, that there's a lot more to go. So thank-you very much; Lindsay, wrap up. And we really look forward to many of you working with the Zero Energy Ready Home program.

Lindsay Parker:
Alright. Thank-you, everyone, for joining the webinar. We really appreciate your time and hope that you took some information away with this. If you want some more information on Zero Energy Ready Home, please go see our website, where we have upcoming events listed. There you can find our partner locator to see what partners and raters are in your area. There we also list the webinar recordings, and it is most recently updated that the part I recording is now available on the resources site. As well as check out our Solution Center at basc.pnnl.gov, where you can find all the information Sam was talking about today. In addition, I will be sending out a PDF of the presentation afterward, so you can have that for review while the recording is being edited and will be up online in the next couple of weeks. So thank-you again, and we look forward to working with you in the future.