Four hot tub pros share their stories of memorable installations.
- Must Love Spas
The new CEO brings the hot-tub expertise he garnered at Jacuzzi Hot Tubs and Sundance Spas to Bullfrog.
- Taking It to the Streets
As the economy slowly improves, hot tub retailers move their inventory off-site in pursuit of more sales.
Mom-and-pop stores have been the cornerstone of the pool and spa retail business for decades.
Until relatively recently, however, Pop was often the one to take charge of the store while Mom stayed in the back room (or at home) to manage the books.
Now, a new breed of highly educated, motivated saleswomen are flooding spa showrooms, using a unique blend of nurture and razor-sharp closing skills to move units.
Most believe that fewer than 10 percent of the spa sales force was female 20 years ago, compared to estimates of 30 percent or more today. But while many hot tub retailers have seen the value of diversifying their sales teams, not everyone has branched out.
“It’s very hard to find a good salesperson period, and then there’s the fear of bringing a woman to work in a place where it’s all guys,” says Midia DeMelo, spa manager of Dolphin Pool Supply & Service in Dallas. “They think, ‘We’re going to have to change our habits, how is she going to fit in?”
But those that have made adjustments for female co-workers are reaping the benefits of their innate strengths.
For example, when DeMelo first began working with one of her retail employers, she took charge of making sure the spas were clean, and color-coordinating them on the floor.
“They all looked at me like, ‘You are just like a woman,’” she says. “Well yes, I am — but I can also jump on a forklift and move a hot tub, too. The woman makes a house a home, and we bring that to our stores.”
While such techniques may seem frivolous to some, creating a comfortable, attractive environment is key when wooing customers.
Another misconception about female salespeople is that they are not as knowledgeable regarding the technical side of the product. However, many women bring their natural attention to detail behind the scenes as well, learning as much about the inner workings of a hot tub as any man.
“When I first started [in spa sales], I would always bring in the technician to open up the spa and teach me the technical aspects of the product,” says Nathalie Gregoire, sale representative at Piscines Rive-Nord in Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada.
Oftentimes, women surprising male clients with their unexpected knowledge helps finalize the sale.
Although men may be the tougher customers, perhaps the most important aspect of hiring saleswomen is that females are widely recognized to have the greatest purchasing power when it comes to hot tubs. Some industry experts estimate that up to 85 percent of spa sales decisions are made by the woman of the household — and naturally, women in the field may be better able to speak to their concerns.
“When I know a customer has young children, I will bring in advice about safe temperatures, proper depth, that sort of thing,” Gregoire says. “A lot of times that will bring us closer because I care about their kids.”