When it comes to successfully upselling variable-speed pumps, pool professionals need to understand their customer as well as the technology they’re selling.
“Oftentimes, especially with new salespeople, there’s a tendency to go straight to all the wonderful features and benefits of the product,” says James Roberts, aftermarket upsell program manager for Pentair. “They then immediately walk the consumer through charts and calculators without even knowing what is important to [them].”
However, in many situations the decision to purchase a product is first and foremost an emotional one. “If you find yourself in a conversation with a customer regarding their pool pump there’s a reason,” Roberts explains. “Initially we emotionally ‘decide’ to purchase the product, then the logical part of our brain rationalizes and justifies the decision with the features and benefits.” Pool professionals need to ask a few questions at the outset of the conversation with the client to find their motivating factor. Only then can the benefits of the variable-speed pool pump help close the sale.
The Latest and Greatest Motivator
Many customers are interested in the newest technologies. Pool pros’ most tech-savvy customers may have just dropped $1,000 on a new smartphone when there was nothing wrong with the one they had.
“There are definitely customers who want to replace their pool pump just because it’s not the latest and greatest, not because it’s broken,” says Jessica Norton, owner of Aquatic Solutions in Manteca, California. Norton has customers replace their pump as well as the entire equipment pad just because it looks old, even though the equipment works perfectly. “Customers assume they are missing out on the benefits of newer equipment,” Norton adds. Closing the sale with these customers should be swift and easy.
Similarly, customers looking to automate their pools will likely want the newest variable-speed pool pump, too. Dan Hansen of JB Pools in Upland, California, says he often works with these customers. “If they really want complete automation, adding a programmable, variable-speed pool pump becomes a required piece of equipment,” he says.
Hansen finds himself frequently selling a second variable-speed pump to these same clients who have elaborate water features on their pool, like a slide, bubbler or laminar jets. “I have replaced brand-new, single-speed pool pumps that were installed to control a slide and bubbler because a single-speed pump doesn’t allow the customer to adjust the flow of these other features,” Hansen explains. Being able to control the flow so you don’t have water gushing down the slide or a huge geyser coming out of your bubbler is very important to customers who want the latest technology, he says.
Sell The Best
Other customers are only interested in the best: They buy the best car, the best grill and they will buy the best pump if you refer to it as such. A confident statement referencing the product as the “best on the market” may be all that is required to tilt the client toward the purchase of a variable-speed pump.
“As more people spend time at home, investing in and upgrading the backyard is something a lot of customers are doing,” Roberts says. Clients who are committed to investing in their pool want to get all the benefits associated with the pool. “Just like when you buy a new car, you want to maximize your purchase by including all the potential add-on features to get the greatest benefit from the purchase, which goes for the pool as well,” Hansen says.
Cost may be a deterrent for customers, but often it is neither the primary nor deciding factor in the purchase. “Sometimes we get so worried about price when discussing variable-speed upgrades that we want to address it right at the outset,” Norton says. However, a few comments regarding the advanced technology of the pump may be all this customer needs to hear.
Know the numbers — money savings, utility rebates, cost calculators — and how to communicate them effectively and simply in your sales conversation. For example, having the Pentair cost-calculator on display allows staff to quickly show clients the financial savings of switching over to variable-speed pool pumps. Explaining that the monthly electrical savings combined with rebates from local utilities can make the investment less sizeable, might also help close the sale. However, save this information for the end, after you know the customer’s emotional motivation. Doing so will help you close more sales.
Pool professionals tend to invest time and resources into product knowledge and technical training to resolve customer issues as fast as possible. But, Roberts explains, it is just as important to invest in sales training for your staff. “Companies that receive sales coaching for three hours per month have proven to exceed their sales goals by 7%, increase revenue by 25% and increase their closing rate by 70%,” he says. “If you want to grow, spend time developing your sales and marketing skills.” It is important to take the time to understand customers’ buying motivation in order to swiftly move them toward the purchase of new pool equipment. As a consequence, it will make your selling conversations more natural, give consumers the sense that you know what they want, and make the purchase experience more satisfying.