Before the economic crash, I’d have thought the pool industry would dry up completely without any financing.
But while this has indeed proved to be a huge problem, there are certainly consumers out there who want pools now and can afford them without bank assistance. We just have to tap into that market.
Currently, there is pent-up demand for pools among certain demographics. One group to consider is those who have substantial savings.
These potential customers are characteristically higher educated, with successful careers and a sound understanding of business. They weren’t a big presence on the buying front over the last couple of years because they were being careful, paying down debt and getting their overall affairs in order. In fact, we are seeing that the finances of customers who pay cash these days are even more secure than before the economy collapsed.
Now that these astute savers are seeing great deals in the marketplace, they’re finally ready to open their wallets. But how do you get their business?
To begin, you must understand your customer. Sending direct-mail marketing pieces to areas where gainfully employed people live and spend discretionary income is always good, and we have been doing a lot of that this year. But when handling leads, a more specific approach is needed.
We have found that these kinds of clients typically (though not always) fall into two categories. One includes couples in their mid-30s to 40s with an income of approximately $75,000 a year, a minimum of two kids, and one spouse who is college educated. The other group is made up of single, childless buyers who have a bit of extra cash.
The families are typically living in the second home they’ve owned, which means that they are more prepared to settle down and make their house a long-term setting in which their children will grow up. For this type of client, it’s important to emphasize that they likely always planned to one day have a pool, and they will never get a better deal than in this buyer’s market. Another crucial selling point: Their children are growing up, and the time to make memories is now.
Recently, a couple who fit this profile came into our office. While the hard-nosed husband negotiated with the salesperson, his wife sat under an umbrella beside our pool display as their kids splashed around. I’ve never had customers bring in their own pool toys before! It did the trick, though, and the patriarch was convinced.
On the other hand, for the single homeowners who have savings, it pays to focus on their pride of ownership and desire to entertain instead. A pool is an investment in their lifestyle, and you must play to that.
For either type of client, the key is to tap into their enthusiasm. When someone knows they are going to make an exciting purchase, it shows. Even if customers try to keep their emotions under wraps, the pool salesperson’s job is to tease that excitement out of them.
In this era of price slashing, we have to keep the balance between offering deals and being taken advantage of. If the buyer shows his or her cards, it’s much easier to strike an agreement that benefits everyone.
It’s hard to turn on the TV or radio lately without hearing negative pundits reinforcing how terrible things are and making those with money feel conflicted about spending. With a proper understanding of their wants and needs, and the right methods of reaching out to these customers, we can make them feel good about contributing to the economy.