Hot tub dealers today are wearing more hats than ever.

In addition to being product experts, they’re frequently called upon to collaborate on big backyard renovations. If they’re not performing some of this work in-house, then they’re at least consulting on projects, offering their expertise and guidance on how to best integrate a spa into the outdoor living area and maybe even referring customers to contractors.

Should it be installed above-ground? Or should it be dropped three-quarters down? What kind of landscaping is appropriate? These days, retailers are expected to be amateur landscape designers — that is, if they’re not actual landscape designers.

All this is well and good. However, I fear there is something being lost in these conversations: Accessories.

I’m in contact with a lot of dealers and I’m always surprised how many of them overlook this profitable product category. In my opinion, accessories enhance the spa experience, making it the crown jewel of a six-figure backyard makeover.

There are several reasons dealers don’t give accompanying products the attention they deserve: Floor space is at a premium; these products add more inventory to manage; and, frankly, many retailers are content enough to sell $12,000 to $15,000 tubs without add-ons.

But what if you could add 20 to 40% to your bottom line? Isn’t that worth a little extra inventory management?

In order to achieve that kind of return on investment, you’ll need to reconsider your approach to selling upgrades.

Auto dealerships are the masters at this. How many times do people intend to buy the base model, but end up spending a few extra dollars on options? After all, what’s $2,000 for a sunroof when you’ve already committed to a $32,000 SUV?

For that matter, what’s a $200 handrail when your customer is plunking down $14,000 on a spa? I’d argue that a handrail isn’t really an option, but a necessity. Let’s be honest: Most of our buyers are in their 50s and plan to enjoy their spas throughout their golden years. They’d benefit from a handrail.

Same is true of an umbrella. If your customers want to get the most out of their investment, an umbrella ensures that they can enjoy their spa come sun or rain.

Or how about upgrading to a hardtop spa cover — something they won’t need to replace in three to five years? And why not include a rotating table while we’re at it? We’re addicted to our devices these days, even while enjoying a relaxing soak. Should clients really risk placing their expensive iPads on the edge of the tub?

These aren’t mere add-ons, options or nice little extras, but true necessities. I like to call them necessories. They just need to be presented the right way and at the right time. All too often, however, dealers gloss past this opportunity in their rush to close the deal.

Don’t do that. Take your time to go over all the options available.

Here’s what I’ve seen discerning dealers do: They instruct their sales teams to first take customers to the accessory department, or in many cases, an accessory wall — it takes up less floor space — displaying all the spa accoutrements before completing the sale. They thoroughly go over everything the buyer might need in order to fully enjoy a new tub: Steps, umbrella, cover lifter, table, etc.

I hate to use a cliché, but some of these accompaniments practically sell themselves. Take a modular patio system. It creates a nice flat surface to place a spa. The alternative is to refer the customer to a contractor to pour a concrete pad. He’ll charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 and is booked three weeks out, further delaying delivery. For a relatively low cost, a homeowner can level the ground and snap the modular pad together himself and — voila! — instant patio. Again, not an accessory.

In discussing these products, you can employ simple sales techniques. Example: “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, because you’re buying this hot tub today, we’ll throw in this handrail, which will provide safety and convenience, at a significant discount.”

The worst that can happen is they’ll say no. But I think you’ll be surprised how many say yes.