It seems our industry is solar powered, but how efficient are we being?

The sun shines and we all go into overdrive. But are we all so busy ‘doing business’ that we miss opportunities to grow our business?

Up to 25º C. How cool is that?

Under a blue sky and a warm sun, these last few weeks have seen pools being opened and spas flying out the doors.

Now the sun is out, we’re ‘making hay’ with servicing, chemicals and consumables.

Of course, that good weather is waking up all of our customers at the same time. Everyone wants to be swimming today; in fact, yesterday would have been good. Tomorrow? They can’t possibly wait until tomorrow.

And that means that your vans are on the road from early morning till late in the evening. That means the phone is always ringing. That means that your service engineers are juggling appointments like air traffic controllers stacking planes above a busy airport.

Urgency is the name of the game and you end each day tired with another hectic schedule to look forward to tomorrow.

And the tills are ringing and there is money coming in, so that’s all good, isn’t it?

Don’t forget the marketing while you are making the sale.

So here we are, rushed off our feet and far too busy to do anything but work.

And yet, this is just about the best marketing opportunity of the year. All those customers that we have been trying to get in touch with throughout the year are actually ringing us up. They are coming into the showroom, asking our advice and booking in work.

And they are in a buying mood.

‘Up selling’ and ‘cross selling’ are two of the most powerful ways to grow your profits and this is the perfect opportunity. You just have to be ready to take it.

Say someone comes in for spa chemicals. They are looking forward to using their spa, inviting their friends around perhaps.

Wouldn’t a cover lifter or a nice set of spa steps make their hot tub that bit easier to enjoy? Perhaps the cover needs replacing? Maybe they are ready for a whole, brand new, spa?

The trick is to see past what the person asks for and glimpse the opportunity of what they might want or need. You don’t have to be ‘pushy’, just hand them a brochure or ask them a few questions. Just take the time to find out if there is anything else you can do for them.

They’ll appreciate it. They may well buy.

The same is true for pool customers. When your engineers are opening a pool get them into the habit of looking around and seeing what retrofit products could improve that pool.

Perhaps a new pool cover; technology and design have come on in leaps and bounds. What about an automatic pool cleaner? A heat pump?

If they have come into your showroom for chemicals, then that’s the perfect moment to point out that a Triogen UV treatment system will mean they need a lot less chemicals.

Your inclination might be to rush on to the next job, but an extra five or ten minutes spent with the customer can result in a big ticket sale. That’s time well spent.

To help you with all this, we’ve put together a Retrofit Products Brochure that explains all the advantages of these products in language that the customer can understand.

Why not get in touch with us about having some of these brochures printed up with your business name and logo on them.

Planting the seeds for next year’s crop.

Something that’s often easy to overlook is what they call ‘customer lifetime value’. Rather obviously, what it means is the amount of money a customer will spend with your business over the whole period of time that they remain doing business with you.

Why it’s important to bear in mind is because it doesn’t always start with a very big amount.

A new customer pops in for some chemicals or a replacement cartridge; they spend just a few pounds. You might think little of it, but it is the start of a relationship between that customer and your business and, like all relationships, it can grow.

As that customer comes back again and again, he or she learns to trust your business and to like it. Those things are important and so, when they are looking to make a big purchase, maybe a pool refurbishment or perhaps they want to buy a sauna, it’s you they come to.

It may sound obvious, but it’s worth repeating, that a chance to build trust and a friendship with any potential customer is too valuable to ever pass up.

And that leads me to our old friend, the Internet, and a phenomena that started in the States but is becoming much more common here. Showrooming.

What’s ‘showrooming’?

Showrooming is when someone comes into your shop or show room, finds the product that they are looking for and then looks to see if they can get it at a cheaper price if they shop online.

Now, people have probably been doing this for quite a long time but the growth of the mobile web, accessing the Internet from a smart phone or tablet, has made it much more obvious because people might actually stand in your shop, right in front of you, and surf the web to see if they can beat your prices.

People in our industry react to this in different ways but essentially the best advice seems to be, don’t see it as a threat, see it as an opportunity.

The Internet sellers have to compete on price because they find it hard, or impossible, to offer advice, personal service and support. Those are all things that people value, and they are surprisingly effective in closing a sale even if it means that the customer pays that little bit more.