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Pool Builder Marketing Recommendations for 2018 – What’s CHANGED…

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.                                Marketing Recommendations

This is my favorite article to write every year. I pause from the daily grind to look back over the last few years, and identify any shifts or trends that require changes in marketing strategies or tactics for pool builders.

Up till now, my recommendations have been fairly consistent:

  • Maintain a cutting-edge website.
  • Make sure people find that website, through PPC, SEO, and other online tactics.
  • Put a “low risk offer” on your website (such as a free report or DVD) so that “future buyers” will give you their contact info.
  • Enter every interested prospect into an automated follow-up system that will “drip, drip, drip” on them (via email and/or postcards) “Until they buy or until they die.
  • Make sure that in ALL of your marketing – verbal, online, print and more – you tell an interesting and compelling story” about why people should buy from you.
  • And of course, strive to make your clients so happy that referrals just come naturally to you.

This year, I’ve got
TWO NEW recommendations for you.


FIRST, you’ve GOT to stay on top of your online reviews.

Research (mine and others) shows over and over again that the quantity and quality of your online reviews at Google, Facebook, Yelp and Houzz will have a HUGE impact on the likelihood of people contacting you and/or looking at your website. Here’s why:

  • It doesn’t matter if your website is beautiful.
  • It doesn’t matter if you tell a great story.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have a great auto follow up system.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are spending $5,000 a month on PPC.

If your competitors’ Google reviews are closer to “five-star” than yours,
then THEY will get more phone calls and business than you.

That’s why you’ve got to:

  1. Do everything you can to get as many five-star reviews as possible.
  2. Be exceptionally speedy and diplomatic in responding to any and all negative reviews online.

We’ve had terrific success with both Survey Local and Birdeye. (Each has its own unique advantages.) Call us if you want some advice of which one would be best for you.(And if you ask, we can probably get you a discount.)


SECOND, you’ll need to focus on SALESMANSHIP.

Let’s enjoy the fact that the extended economic downturn of 2008 to 2013 is finally over. Let’s enjoy the fact that – for most of us – sales are up, revenues are up, and the phone is ringing more than ever.

If you’re like most builders, your biggest problem NOW is
FINDING TALENT to handle the increase in business.
 

That’s why going into 2018 and beyond, I believe salesmanship will be more important than ever. Because:

  • With more leads coming in, it’s easier (if not downright habitual) for your salespeople to get picky, choosy and lazy about which leads they will aggressively pursue.
  • Basically everyone is looking for new salespeople, so it’s easy and tempting for your salesperson to “jump ship.”
  • A struggling salesperson will often believe the problem is YOU (the owner/the company), not them. ESPECIALLY when they see OTHER salespeople being more successful. So for them, the obvious solution is to abandon you and go work for someone else.

Now I’ll admit that if you have a mediocre/struggling salesperson, you might prefer to have them go work for the competition. And in fact, if you think they can’t be helped, you should probably cut your losses now, and let them go.

On the other hand, if you want to save yourself the hassle of (1) searching for a new, better salesperson in a highly competitive market, and (2) spend the next several months on-boarding and training the new salesperson – all the while, knowing that there’s a 50-50 chance they won’t be any better than the person you fired – then you should seriously think about helping your existing salespeople improve their sales skills.

Here are some options you may not have considered in the past: 

  • Your local equipment rep (Jandy/Hayward/Pentair/etc.) will usually be delighted to arrange some valuable equipment training for your salespeople (and others) in your company.
  • There is almost always some good sales training at the regional and national shows, and most of it is free.
  • The Genesis classes are expensive, but worth every penny in my opinion, and will certainly build confidence, and elevate your salespeople/designers to a higher level. (And these are offered in many places beyond the regional and national shows. Go to Genesis3.com for more info.)
  • Larger companies with a team of salespeople may want to bring in one of the better-known pool industry sales training experts, such as Lew Akins or Mario Rossetti for an all-day or multi-day session.
  • And while I’ve kept this on the down-low, I’ve also been providing one-on-one sales coaching for struggling salespeople for many years. Contact me if you’re interested in this.

So there you go… For 2018, (1) keep doing what I’ve been telling you to do for all these years, PLUS (2) pay close attention to your online reviews, and (3) pay CLOSER attention to your salespeople, to make sure they are getting “equal to or more than” their fair share of the business.

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