11 Tips for Better Sauna Sales

Cailley Hammel Headshot
Photo courtesy of Finlandia.
Photo courtesy of Finlandia.
There are 3 million saunas for 5 million people in Finland — that's a sauna in every household. While saunas haven't quite reached those numbers here in the U.S., manufacturers say sales are on the rise — so much so that they're back to pre-recession levels.

Want to bring up your sauna sales? We went straight to the manufacturers and asked for their best advice. Here's what they told us, in 11 tips.

1. Education

"Education is critical for the sale of saunas. Too often, a dealer does not know what a sauna is or what it does. The health benefits of traditional sauna use are substantial and well documented, and this information needs to be communicated to the consumer." Rick Mouw | President | Almost Heaven Saunas

"Get your employees to regional sales training camps to better understand the category and properly sell the benefits of the product." Mark Raisanen | National Sales Manager | Finnleo

2. Displays, Displays, Displays

"Most important is having proper displays. You need to show it to sell it and you need more than just one or two to be successful in the category." Mark Raisanen

"The [display] sauna should be attractive. If older and worn-looking, the wood aroma may also be lost, so the dealer should sell it at a good price and buy a new one. Customers love the fresh smell of the wood — sand the wood every now and then with a fine-grain sand paper to bring back the aroma and color." Marilyn Tarkiainen | Vice President | Finlandia Sauna

3. Offer Try-Outs

"We get countless numbers of calls each day from people looking for places to try saunas and experience the benefits, so I would recommend a private showroom where one can try it out." Logan Ross | Director of Business Development | Health Mate

4. Remember the Finer Details

"Other little things like getting the word 'sauna' on your building, vehicles and business cards can make a difference." Mark Raisanen

5. Keep Seasonality in Mind

"Sauna sales are seasonal; fall and winter are the biggest months. Use the slower time to focus on other products such as hot tubs and pools." Dan Jung | Owner, President | Northern Lights Cedar Tubs & Saunas

6. Think Outside the Store

"Just like with hot tubs 20 years ago, bringing saunas to home shows and fairs works. Why do you think you see the dog-and-pony show sauna companies come in with their portable saunas to these shows? Because they're selling product at the shows. The same goes for our dealers — the dealers attending home shows and fairs are selling saunas." Mark Raisanen

7. Try it Yourself

"It will be hard for someone who has never taken a sauna to sell one. Forget about the fancy brochures and nice display, these are secondary. If the salesperson has never experienced taking a sauna regularly, you will only be reacting to a small percentage of inbound customers who already want one.

I would recommend that you and your staff take saunas at least once a week for a period of three months so you can feel the difference. If you don't have a sauna on display, find a local health club that has one. Once you feel the sauna difference, the talking points will come." Beatriz von Ungern-Sternberg | President | Scandia Manufacturing

8. Offer Variety

"You need to be in both categories of sauna. If you're doing only infrared or only traditional, you are missing out on a big chunk of the market. And each person will fit best in one style or the other, but in some cases customers like both styles, which are also available as combination two-in-one units." Mark Raisanen

9. Capitalize on Trends

"Hot yoga sauna rooms are becoming very popular. Offer a sauna layout that has less seat room and more exercise room." Dan Jung

10. Emphasize Certifications

"I cannot stress enough how a UL-recognized heater is the benchmark certification the sauna industry, and to never really trust anything with out a UL mark." Logan Ross | Director of Business Development | Health Mate

11. Focus on Energy

"Compared to spas and pools, the sauna is very economical to use as it only has to be preheated for 30 minutes and it is using electricity only when being used. Little use of electricity, minimal maintenance, no chemicals, excellent health benefits, no service required if used properly are all great things to keep in mind." Marilyn Tarkiainen

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