Pool & Spa News checks in with some past winners in the spa category of our Masters of Design contest.
- The New Spa Shopper
Hot tub dealers must understand how consumers have changed in recent years, and how to adapt.
- Top of Their Game
Award-winning dealers share success stories.
Though spa sales are improving in some areas, most experts agree that the market will not be at pre-recession levels for quite some time. As a result, many successful hot tub retailers are revisiting the idea of who exactly is best suited to sell hot tubs.
By looking outside the industry for people that possess the qualities needed for portable spa sales, but not necessarily the product knowledge, these dealers have enjoyed a great return. While technical information can be taught, assets such as people skills, enthusiasm and instinct are much more difficult to find. Some of those joining the hot tub business from other fields have previously worked in electronics sales, the health industry and even as bartenders.
“If you poach a guy from another industry, they can bring new ideas on how to pitch [the product],” says Danielle Lavallee Wasson, international sales director for Bullfrog Spas in Bluffdale, Utah. “They don’t have the burden of knowledge that happens when you sell a spa over and over again, where you are in danger of becoming blasé or losing the customer with industry jargon.”
There are several ways to find these fresh, energized salespeople. Following are a few common types of converts to hot tub sales, and what they may be able to bring to your business.
Food for thought
Because face-to-face interaction and customer service are their bread and butter, restaurant workers can make excellent additions to a spa dealer’s sales team. If you have noticed a staff member at your favorite establishment that always goes above and beyond, think about what they may offer as a spa salesperson.
Also, since their hours are often during and after dinner time, waiters and bartenders may be eager to find a day job to supplement their income.
“When I had my own retail store, I would stop in restaurants and say, ‘You work at night, I have a great daytime position for you,’” says Midia DeMelo, spa manager of Dolphin Pool Supply & Service in Dallas. “Commissions on spas can be very attractive.”
Many retailers especially like hiring bartenders because they typically have engaging personalities, can relate to a wide spectrum of people, and know how to make clients feel comfortable.
Lap of luxury
Consumers often see hot tubs as a luxury item, so it can be helpful to hire salespeople who have experience with more expensive, discretionary products such as high-end electronics or luxury cars. These individuals should already know how to counteract concerns from shoppers who may feel they don’t need the product in question.
These potential hires are often well versed in describing the technical aspects of a product to clients, which translates well to explaining the inner workings of a hot tub.
However, when scouting for possible salespeople, beware of individuals who may appear too aggressive. Instead, look for those who are firm when asking for the close, but are also personable and low-pressure, and maintain a positive attitude. These are the values the industry wants the public to associate with hot tubs.
Lavallee Wasson recently found someone that fit the bill in a Best Buy.
At your service
Of all the outside-the-box salespeople who may be considered, those in the hospitality and health industries are perhaps the most obvious. These professionals make their living ensuring others are comfortable and satisfied — a good fit for selling spas.
“Whenever I travel, I look for the occasional gem,” Lavallee Wasson says. “You go to a hotel and one staff member just stands out by going the extra mile and smiling all the time.”
Other dealers have found great hires in the health industry, particularly with people who have experience selling expensive, high-tech items that are also designed to promote personal well-being.