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Builders – Trust Your Wives. (They’ll help you be a better marketer.)

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

It’s the dawn of the new year, so I SHOULD be talking about “What you should focus on in 2012.”  But I think I covered that back in November, with my “Winter Marketing Checklist” newsletter. (As I’ve said repeatedly, if you’ll just focus on (1) your website, (2) your search engine rankings, (3) automating your follow-up, and (4) getting a return on investment, you’ll be fine.)

Today, I want to help you with a FIFTH item that was in that newsletter– one that I don’t talk about quite as often. I want to show you how “paying attention to your wife,” and trusting her style and intuition will help you sell more pools. (I’m totally serious.)

Some years ago, I was smacked in the head with a shovel (figuratively speaking) when I “jumped on the bandwagon” of updating a client’s website with a new “slideshow” style photo gallery. These were the newest, coolest thing out there, and I wanted to stay on the cutting-edge of “pool builder website development.” It looked something like this:

Pretty sexy, huh? Well, it was a disaster.

It was March of 2008; Dallas Texas. Lead flow and website inquiries that time of year is always good and strong. But the instant we changed from his old-style photo gallery to the “slideshow” method shown above, his web-based inquiries plummeted from 10 a week to barely one a week. After two weeks, he called me in a panic. After some thorough analysis, we figured out what happened.

(If only we’d paid attention to the advice of your wife!)

Now let me interrupt this TRUE story to tell you a FICTITIOUS one. I’ve told this story repeatedly at seminars, and with new clients, to drive home the glaring significance of this issue.

Once upon a time, your wife goes to lunch with a friend. She notices her friend has a beautiful new purse. Where did you get that? she asks. “Oh, at this brand-new store over at the mall,” says her friend. It’s called ‘Creative Purses.’ You should check it out!

A few days later, your wife is in the mall, and she notices the sign for Creative Purses. Naturally, she heads over and walks in. She is instantly struck by the unusual nature of this store. There are no purses on the shelves. No purses on the walls. No purses on the racks. Just one purse, sitting on the checkout counter, behind which stands the clerk. “Hello, and welcome to Creative Purses,” says the clerk. “Can I help you?

Your wife is somewhat taken aback. (“Where are all the purses???” she’s wondering.) “Umm, yes, I’m looking for a purse.

Okay, great. How about this one?

Um, well, that’s not exactly what I was looking for.

Okay, hang on a second.” The clerk promptly goes back to the back and returns in a jiffy with another purse. “How about this one?

Raise your hand if you think that ANY woman, including your wife, is going to stand at the counter of an empty store, look at a grand total of two new purses, and then happily make a buying decision.

Raise your other hand if you more realistically imagine that after about 45 seconds of this, your wife is going to be OUT of that store, vowing never to return.

Forgive me if any of this sounds sexist. But the facts are that (1) women and men shop differently, and (2) most women like to see LOTS of choices, styles and options before they make a final purchase decision.  If a woman can spend a half an hour to a half a day shopping for a purse, how much MORE time is she going to spend in her search for the perfect pool?

Which brings us back to the point: Your website gallery is just like a purse store. If you hide all of your beautiful swimming pool photographs behind one of those cool-looking but actually annoying “flash galleries” shown above, the women are going to abandon your website even faster than they abandoned the fictitious “Creative Purses” store described above.

BOTTOM LINE: Women don’t want to be limited to looking at
just one option at a time.
They want to see HUNDREDS of
different options, choices and selections.

Don’t make it harder for them. They will punish you by purchasing from someone else.

Now let’s get back to my client up in Dallas. As I said, he called me in a panic, stating emphatically that “SOMETHING’S WRONG!” We concluded that the only major change we’d made was the switch to the “slideshow” gallery. So we immediately switched back to the old-style “HTML” gallery.  And within one week, he had another 10 leads coming in through the website. And life has been good ever since. We learned a valuable lesson, and vowed never to make that mistake again.

Which is why it breaks my heart anytime I see a pool builder making the same mistake I did back in 2008. THE LESSON: If you’re currently using a flash gallery like the one shown above, you need to fix it immediately! (And yes, we can provide that service. If your website person can’t fix this for you right away, give us a call. It doesn’t take very long, and it’s not very expensive at all.)

To your success,

Brett

 

PS – If you’re currently using “Lightbox” for your website photo galleries, you have a similar problem. It’s not as bad as the slideshow galleries, but it still has a negative impact, and drives people away, for the same reasons described above. Take a look at the screenshot below. Basically an empty white square on a dark background. That, my friends, is exactly what your website visitors and potential pool buyers have to sit through every time they try to look at a photo. Not very flattering or helpful in promoting your pool projects, is it?

 

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