Seven companies in the pool and spa market have joined forces to sponsor a series of sales training seminars.

Paramount Pool & Spa Systems, Pebble Tec International, Pentair Aquatic Systems, Pool Cover Specialists, PoolCorp, Structure Studios and Wet Edge Technologies together are sponsoring the two-day programs.

“The single most important thing our industry needs to do is to have more qualified, professional, trained salespeople selling our product,” said Buzz Ghiz, president of Chandler, Ariz.,-based, Paramount. Competition from other sectors, including boats, RVs and vacation sites, was one reason Ghiz and other manufacturers chose to kickstart pool industry sales efforts with these seminars.

It’s a first that so many manufacturers from different segments of the pool industry have joined to promote and finance sales training seminars. “It’s very rare that an industry will get such diverse and well-known companies to fund training,” Ghiz said. “The goal is to make the industry as professional as possible.” 

The seminars, titled “Blueprint to Higher Pool Sales,” are scheduled for Dallas, March 18-19; Houston, March 21-22; Orlando, Fla., March 25-26; Sacramento, Calif., March 28-29; and Phoenix, April 1-2. The events have been deliberately scheduled around the pool shows. “The shows are so valuable to the industry that the last thing we want to do is hinder those,” said Mario Rossetti, the 30-year pool industry veteran who will be conducting the training.

The cost of each seminar is $299, but with an invitation from one of the seven corporate sponsors, attendees can get a $100 discount.

“Doing this helps my company grow in a down economy,” said Bruce Grogg, CEO of Pool Cover Specialists, based in West Jordan, Utah.

The seminars will cover time management, presentations, the language of sales and handling objections. “Everything we do will be value-centered,” Rossetti said. “We’ll talk about value vs. price.” According to Rossetti, customers “buy” the salesperson before they purchase the product, particularly with large-ticket items. “We have to convince salespeople that it is value that people are most interested in, not price. We teach them how to create value,” he said.

Ghiz has had success with sales training seminars before, so he was enthusiastic about the opportunity to team with other pool companies to sponsor this series.

“Paramount has done this on our own several times,” Ghiz said. “We knew the need was there. When we brought [all the manufacturers] together, we all said, ‘Yeah, we get it!’ All this can do is benefit all of us; we all win. It was one of those no-brainers that this industry desperately needs.

“Our experience shows that this is going to be overwhelmingly successful,” he said.

This series will probably not be the last sales seminars put on by this group. “Our goal is about 100 persons per seminar,” said Bob Haning, executive vice president for sales and marketing at Pebble Tec International, a pool finish company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. “If we’re successful, we’re going to expand the offering throughout the season.”

Those interested may sign up by going to the website set up for the events, www.internationalpoolsalesinstitute.com.