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A Dirt-Cheap Way to Class up Your Office or Showroom…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune of visiting many a pool builder’s office or showroom. And my, oh my, do they run the gamut. Riverbend Sandler in Dallas has a phenomenal facility with multiple in-ground pools, and a semi-self-guided tour of how a pool is built. Chuck Baumann and countless others, on the other hand, extol the virtues of working out of a home office (Pool & Spa News, May 29, 2009). And then of course there’s everyone else in between.

But here’s my personal shocker – Regardless of size, and regardless of the talent behind the companies I visit, I’ve seen and felt a huge difference when I walk through the door. Some of these places are pristine and shiny, while some of these places look downright nasty.  Worn carpet, old plaques and hardware on the floor; dirt and dust covering everything.

Please don’t be offended – I’m not criticizing anyone. (My office isn’t always pristine either.) I’m just offering an honest commentary on what your prospects see and feel when they visit your facility. And I’ve recently discovered a great low-cost way to class up any facility in a hurry.

I know there are plenty of pool designers who can sit down with a homeowner and close the deal in one visit.  I applaud you, and say “don’t change what you’re doing.” For everyone else, the closing typically takes one or more follow-up calls.  If your second visit is not at your facility, then I want to strongly encourage you to rethink that strategy.  The reasons for bringing the prospect to your facility, great or small, should be obvious:

  • Your prospect will trust you more. (Now they know that you’re not working out of the back of a pickup truck, and not likely to skip town with their money.)
  • Your prospect will respect you more. Your facility is an undeniable symbol of your accomplishments. It’s also a great place to show off your awards, your creations, your publicity, and your charitable donations to the local Little League.
  • Your prospect will play closer attention. No distractions with the phone ringing, or kids demanding food or other attention.
  • It differentiates you from your competition. To most homeowners, you pool designers all kind of look the same – like a stranger in their home who’s trying to sell them something.  Get them over to your facility, and suddenly they remember you a whole lot differently than the other guys.
  • Your prospect will be more inclined to buy. The mere act of driving to your facility will mentally bring your prospects one step closer to buying.  When they see themselves making this level of commitment, it creates a certain momentum that works in your favor.

Everyone likes better closing ratios.  Now let’s talk about that quick-and-easy, low-cost way to put a new shine on your facility, regardless of size.

I recently helped one of my clients move into a brand-new state-of-the-art design center. We knew we wanted lots of photographs on the walls (like in the neighborhood of 50), but we shuddered at the thought of paying $100-$300 each. So I did a little research on the Web, and found an unbelievable deal: 11″ x 14″ full-color photographs, fully framed behind glass, for less than $10 each!

Here’s how we did it:

Nations Photo Lab ( You have to download their slightly awkward ROES software system, but then you can get 11″ x 14″ photographs for only $5.50 each. (Last month they ran a special, and these cost us less than $3.00 each.)

Frame USA ( Good-quality wooden frames with hanger and glass for only $6.15 each. Lots of colors and styles available.

May I remind you that the single most powerful piece of evidence you can offer a prospect is a photograph of your work? Bigger is better.  And more is better too.

Invariably, the pool builder facilities that have impressed me the most are those with the best looking photos on the wall. For just a few hundred dollars, you could make a huge difference to the look of your place, and to your closing ratios.

Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to break out that vacuum cleaner, and maybe do a little dusting too…

Till next time,

2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc.  May not be used without permission.

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