Jimmi Smith Photography

Regal Pools has long worked in the high end. By the pandemic’s end, it had been veering toward the ultra-high-end market for some time. As it became clear that pool sales across the industry would be slowing, Managing Partners Josh Buzzell and Edwin Escobar decided to more actively pursue projects of $200,000 and more in their Houston, Texas-area market.

Josh Buzzell - Managing Partner, Regal Pools
Josh Buzzell - Managing Partner, Regal Pools

“Those types of clients don’t struggle in economic times,” Buzzell says. “A lot of times they don’t go to a bank for financing, and if they do, they’re borrowing against their own money.”

Key to working with this clientele, Buzzell believed, was establishing and maintaining a personal connection. This also would help Regal gain the customer referrals needed in this market. Additionally, the company was dealing with a relatively new sales team. Buzzell and Escobar needed to position the new sales associates to provide the service and, more importantly, the connection approperiate to this echelon of clientele.

Back to basics

To accomplish these goals, the company got back to basics, setting aside some of the automated or less personal communication strategies that helped manage historic demand in 2020 and 2021, moving in favor of those that seem more immediate and personal.

“I’m really getting away from emails,” Buzzell says. “They’re great in certain situations but, in sales, they’re very stale, and they don’t ‘taste’ as good as a text message, a call, a FaceTime and really getting to know the client.”

But we’re still living in the 21st Century, so the team has focused on a platform that fits its goals: the social media site Instagram. A Regal staffer posts twice daily as one of their duties, while salespeople and project managers help with the content.

Among the goals in using Instagram: Familiarizing followers with the new sales associates. They video record themselves by way of introduction to share a little bit about themselves or a recent job. To show off the company’s work, project managers now video each project with a smartphone issued by the company. This replaces the set of still photos they used to take for documentation. The staffer who manages social media then edits and posts the videos to the company’s page.

“When we do a video on Instagram, it’s to either introduce you to ourselves, show you a project, or teach you something that you don’t know,” Buzzell explains.

If you’re going to try this, Buzzell recommends posting consistently above all else. “Instagram is like a race car,” he says. “You have to keep putting the jet fuel in it if you want to keep it going.”

And don’t overthink the videos. With today's higher-end smart phones, it’s easier to produce quality recordings. The goal is to create a personal connection. “And nobody thinks you’re a Hollywood director,” he adds.

He has begun using this capability for the company’s email newsletters, for which Buzzell videotapes himself addressing customers for a more personal touch.

The long game

Regal wanted to maintain customer relationships even after the pool is built, hoping to keep the company top-of-mind for referrals.

Once a pool is sold, Regal now employs a months-long routine to show its appreciation. It begins right when the pool is finished. Escobar visits the customer to check if there’s anything else the company can do, anything else the customer needs.

Three months later, the designers send a hand-written letter expressing their appreciation and encouraging the customer to reach out if they need anything. “Sometimes we’ll have their kids write on it: ‘Hey, thanks for trusting my dad to build your swimming pool,’” Buzzell says.

After six months, the customer receives a substantial gift card for a popular, local steak house. And at the year anniversary, the customer receives a personalized bottle of champagne or wine to display.

“It’s a conversation piece in their house, and I’m in their house forever,” Buzzell says.

He hopes the relatively new program will help customers remember why they hired Regal Pools. “You’re recaptivating and initiating more sales,” he says. “... If I sell 100 pools and get 100 referrals, that starts to really change our business and allows us to scale even further.”