New inground swimming pool is part of many homeowners’ dreams. What was once seen as the height of luxury is now commonplace enough that many homeowners are certain they can significantly upgrade their backyard experience with an investment comfortably within their budget. There’s a huge problem with that assumption, though. Most have no idea what a pool build really costs.
A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup Research and initiated by APSP found that 85 percent of respondents were confident they knew the price of a new inground pool. But a follow-up question proved they were mistaken. Fifty-six percent believed a new pool install would run them $30,000 or less. Thirty percent thought the maximum investment was $20,000, and an amazing 7% figured $10,000 was the most they’d be asked to spend.
With such wild underestimations rampant among potential pool-buyers, sales staff must be prepared to guide clients over the significant hurdles they plainly didn’t see when they first stepped onto the buying track.
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There are a few key strategies that can be employed to help the customer adjust to the higher cost they’re staring down, according to Brett Lloyd Abott, owner of Pool Builder Marketing, a consulting company that works exclusively in the swimming pool industry.
“Everyone always pays more than they were planning to, but they never pay more than they want to,” says Abbott. “People still buy new swimming pools every day.”
To help buyers get to the point where they are happy and satisfied in making that major purchase, Abbott offers a few simple tips.
1. DON’T WASTE TIME TALKING ABOUT BUDGET
“The most important thing is to first find out what they really want,” Abbott says. “Explore deeply, ask questions and offer up options.” It’s unlikely a customer has initiated the process on a mere whim, so it stands to reason that they have put at least some thought into what they want and how they want it to look. It’s good to ask questions that can help get a sense of the scope of the project: How often do they expect they’ll use the pool and associated space? How many people do they think they’d expect the pool area to accommodate at its peak usage?
Make the initial conversation about every goal and hope except the final price tag.
2. WIN THE CUSTOMER OVER ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT PRICE
When it comes to pool installations, no business is likely to win a job on price alone. And the variables from provider to provider are generally negligible enough that the consumer is more likely to give greater weight to factors other than the bite the project will take out of their bank account. Be the pool professional that really listens to what the customer wants and demonstrates a commitment to making the dream come true. “Everyone is going to have the price challenge, so the customer is going to turn to the person they like most and trust most,” says Abbott.
3. HELP THE CUSTOMER VISUALIZE THE FINISHED PRODUCT
As the customer lays out all aspects of the pool and backyard area they have in mind, use your experience and knowledge to vividly fill in the details. Help transform the pool in their mind from a rough abstraction to an image that’s as clear as the colorful spread on a high-end flyer. “When they see it mentally, the price just isn’t nearly as important,” explains Abbott.
4. OPENLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE EXPENSE
There’s no point running away from it. New pool installs are expensive propositions, and a big part of earning the trust of the customer is demonstrating recognition of that fact. It doesn’t need to be dwelled upon, of course, but simply affirming the significant size of the investment will earn a lot of points in the customer’s eyes. And it allows for an easy transition back to the significant benefits they’ll get from having the pool. Yes, it costs a lot, but it will be worth it.
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“It’s the duty of the salesperson to help the customer over that hurdle,” says Abbott. If someone has put the effort into exploring a pool purchase, it’s surely a change they actively want to make in their recreation life. And it might be expensive, but it’s not going to be cheaper one month, one year, or five years from now, so every delay is simply lost time and opportunity to live out their backyard aspirations.
The final tally is always going to leave the customer a little shook. Knowing that means knowing the impediment must be overcome. With the right approach, the prospective client will turn into a full-fledged pool owner, and the sticker shock will be a distant memory as they lounge in their backyard oasis.