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Secret #2 of Pool Builder Marketing:

You Look Like Everybody Else.

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

Last week, I shared with you the first of “7 Crucial Marketing Secrets for Pool Builders.” The essence of secret #1 is that “Buying a pool is a very big deal to the average homeowner.” While they’re probably happy and excited about the idea of getting a pool, they are also filled with various levels of ANXIETY, FEAR, RELUCTANCE and DISTRUST. So if we can address their fears, anxieties, and trust issues, then we’ll have a significantly better chance of getting them to choose YOU over of your competitors.

With that in mind, let’s move on to the NEXT crucial marketing secret for pool builders.

Marketing Secret #2:
“To the Average Homeowner,
You Look Just like Everybody Else.”

This is undoubtedly the quintessential challenge for every business owner (as well as for every marketing consultant in the world). How do we make the buying public recognize and appreciate the fact that you are somehow different and better than all the other pool builders out there? To put this in marketing terms:

How do we change your “Outside Perception”
to match your “Inside Reality”?

I think the best visual example I’ve ever found to explain “inside reality” versus “outside perception” is the much maligned “UGLI® fruit” from Jamaica. Take a look at the photo below. What’s your immediate perception when you see this nasty-looking fruit? UGLI Fruit (whole)No doubt, the UGLI® fruit (which just happens to be a natural hybrid cross between a grapefruit, a tangerine and an orange) has an undeniably unappealing skin.  The ugly brown spots on the outside would instantly make you think that “the inside must be rotten.” But that’s only because you don’t know anything about the “inside reality” of this unique fruit.

UGLI Fruit (cut)

If you have the courage to cut it open and take a bite, you’ll discover it’s actually quite sweet and delicious. Definitely no hint of “rottenness” whatsoever. As an added bonus, it’s very easy to peel. And also very healthy for you. So we’re talking about a fruit with an outstanding “inside reality,” and an undeniably challenging “outside perception” to overcome.

(As a tragic side note, I talked about this amazing fruit to a room full of more than 100 pool builders last month in Las Vegas.  And not one person in the room had ever heard of it.  I discovered it way back in the 70s.  So that tells me that the marketing agency who’s in charge of promoting UGLI® fruit is obviously failing miserably.)

So how do we fix this reality/perception issue,
and avoid the tragic fate of UGLI® fruit?

STEP 1: “Kill the Platitudes.”

Most marketing and advertising is filled with “empty promises” and “hollow platitudes” that are spoken as if they are significant, but really mean nothing when you stop and think about it.  Here are some classic (and very real) examples of platitudes:

  • “Quality Custom Pools”
  • “Driven to satisfy our customers”
  • “Fulfilling your Family’s Dreams”
  • “Built with Integrity and Experience”
  • “We are <your city’s> Premier Builder!”
  • “Experienced. Skilled. Innovative. Since 19__.”
  • “We’ll make your backyard dreams come true.”

Are these platitudes is obvious to you as they are to me?  If not, here are several super-fast and super-easy “tests” you can perform to determine whether or not you’ve got platitudes. Just read any of the above statements, and/or any similar statements on your website, and ask yourself this question:

“Who else can say that?”

In the examples given above, the answer to this question would be ANYONE and EVERYONE.  (Yes, even a no-good schlock pool builder can and will say “Built with Integrity and Experience.”) Here’s another quick and easy test for platitudes. Would your bold statement ever make the homeowners say “Well I Would Hope So!”?

If your “bold claim” statement such as
“Driven to Satisfy Our Customers”
would cause a homeowner to say

“Well I Would Hope So!”,

Then you’ve got platitudes.

Here’s one more quick and easy test– the “Scratch-out / Write-in” test. If you can scratch out your company name, and write in the name of your most-hated competitor, and it still sounds believable, then you’ve got platitudes.

So what SHOULD you say instead?

STEP 2: “Bring in the Facts.”

The opposite of “platitudes” is “facts.”  Cold, hard, specific facts. Not “fluff.”  Not “feel good/sound good” statements.  What can you say about your company that no one else can say? Until you start uncovering and exposing some of your undeniable “inside reality” advantages to the public, you will forever be stuck with the same “outside perception” as every other pool builder in town.

Here are some examples of inside reality FACTS you might say in lieu of PLATITUDES:

  • A+ Rating with the BBB
  • Winner of ___ International Design Awards
  • Certified Building Professional® / CBP® on staff
  • Certified Pool Operator® on staff
  • Certified Service Professional® (CSP®) on staff
  • Exclusive Dealer for _________
  • More than __% of our business comes from referrals
  • Exclusively Recommended by _____________
  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Member of (Aquatech, APSP, FSPA, BBB, SWD, Genesis3 Platinum, etc.)

This is just a “starter” list; obviously you’ll need to use or create whatever list is appropriate for you.  Ultimately, you’ve got to answer the question in the homeowner’s mind: “Why should I choose you?”

Once you’ve found and eradicated all of your platitudes, and replaced them with interesting, compelling and believable facts, you should update all of your marketing and advertising materials, sales tools, etc., to reflect these BELIEVABLE FACTS instead of the empty hollow platitudes. THEN you will begin to sound different from and better than your competition.

Next week we’ll talk about “your online image.”  But this is not just about your website. I’ll show you how to locate the 25 to 50 OTHER online locations where information about your company is already posted (whether you know it or not), and where (potentially negative) conversations about your company may be taking place completely without your knowledge.

To your success…

©2014 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin, Inc. May not be used without permission.

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