Help Your Customer Buy Your Pool

photo of dollar signOffering a financing option to pool customers is not a new concept in the swimming pool industry; however, it’s often an afterthought or entirely overlooked by many pool builders. This is a mission-critical component to growing sales, increasing your market share, managing your customers’ expectations and implementing an effective marketing plan.

Though some pool builders feel intimidated by financing — they’re more comfortable with more tangible aspects of the construction business — helping customers get the money for a pool does not need to be a complicated part of your trade.

Let’s start with why financing is so important. I often like to use a very easy-to-understand analogy to illustrate why you would be handicapping your sales efforts by not offering a financing solution when selling a new pool:

Look at the auto industry. A new car is likely to cost $20,000 to $30,000 — similar in price to a new swimming pool. How many people buy a new car by paying cash?

What effect on sales would the car dealer see if there were no financing options presented at the car dealership and everyone had to plunk down the money on the spot? The point is that for every cash buyer, there are many more that want, need or prefer a financing option to help him or her purchase a big-ticket item such as a new swimming pool. Many customers even have the means to pay cash but prefer to take advantage of financing to help spread out the payments and manage their monthly budget. Don’t neglect these customers.

Offering a pool financing solution is not complicated. Spend a few minutes learning about types of loans (unsecured, secured and zero percent card products), current rates and the terms available (length of the loan) and you will know 98 percent of what will be asked of you by your customer.

Some simple tools can make this easy as well, such as an online pool loan calculator. You simply have to make sure you and your sales staff are up-to-date with these terms and tools and are able to direct them to a pool loan website. There are financing programs for every type of product and service that you might sell. Pool covers, heaters, pumps and other smaller ticket items are typically a better fit for a zero percent card program, whereas custom-built, fiberglass and vinyl pools are usually a better fit for longer term unsecured loans. Your pool financing company will help you and your customer find the best program for each product or service.

The most important piece of the puzzle is advertising that you offer a financing program. This should be a consistent message in all of your marketing, including your website, postcards, newsletters, social media, home shows, TV and radio ads. The goal is to make sure that the potential customer knows there are favorable financing terms available to them should they want to pay for a pool over time. This can potentially make your website more “sticky,” turn tire-kickers into buyers and get the fence-sitters off the fence. It can stimulate sales and make your advertising efforts more effective. Most pool builders who advertise financing usually include phrases like “100 percent financing available” and “contact us today for more information” on their marketing pieces. This is a simple call to action that may be the difference between them calling you over your competition.

There is no need to be apprehensive about pool financing. It is very simple to partner with a pool financing company that can completely handle the loan after a simple referral. Pool financing companies are experienced at working with the customer, overcoming their concerns and objections and finding the best solution for their personal situation. This way you can focus on what you do best: designing and building beautiful pools for your customers.

If you look at the largest pool builders in the industry you will see that offering an effective financing solution for their customers is an integral part of their business plan and one of the reasons they are so successful. They offer financing for every product and service that they sell — not just for the big-ticket items. Without financing, you are missing a huge opportunity to generate more business and grow your market share.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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