photo of swimming pool ledge
Before you try to sell your customer a pool, consider this: It's a big, scary purchase.

On Tuesday, we announced a new series from Brett Lloyd Abbott, "7 Marketing Secrets Every Pool Builder Should Know." Abbott is the president of MYM Austin, a firm that assists pool builders with their marketing efforts, and he's learned a lot along the way. He'll reveal his secrets on the AQUA site every other Thursday, so keep coming back for more. Without further ado, the first post of the series: 

I don’t want to insult your intelligence here, because everyone knows that buying a pool is a “big deal.”  But I doubt you realize — especially from a marketing perspective — how incredibly rare and unique this marketing challenge is. Of the 100 million different things you or I could potentially purchase today, can you think of anything that is as uniquely challenging and unusual as a swimming pool? 

1.  A pool is a large purchase. (As in “high-dollar”)That immediately narrows it down to just a handful of similar high-dollar items, such as homes, automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles and maybe a super high-end home entertainment system. Because of that, everything you know about selling or buying the other 99+ million items doesn’t apply here.

2.  A pool is a rare purchase.Think “piano” here. Buying a pool isn’t like purchasing a car or home (or for some people, a boat) which most people will experience five to 10 times or more in their lifetime.  t’s more like buying a really nice piano. You have little to no experience at it. Most people never buy a pool, and those who do rarely do it more than once in their lifetime.

3.  A pool is totally unique and custom.I love the description of a pool offered by the National Plasterers Council: “It’s a handcrafted product installed in an uncontrolled environment.” And that’s for experts like you who know what you're doing! Imagine what it’s like for the typical homeowner who doesn’t have a freaking clue regarding the latest features, options and technology on a modern pool? (And knows even less about “tensile strength” versus “compressive strength,” and any number of a hundred other things related to the pool construction process.) It’s a lot like finding and commissioning an unknown artist to custom-build a unique and very expensive work of art.

4.  It’s pretty much a permanent decision.If you buy a car, boat or RV that you hate, it’s really not that difficult to sell it or trade it in for another. In fact, even if you purchase a house that you hate, it’s not terribly difficult to get rid of it. Not so with an in-ground swimming pool. If you love your house but hate your pool, you pretty much have to sell both. (Or “remove and replace,” which of course is even more expensive.) 

So let’s recap here, from the homeowner’s perspective: 

“I’m buying something that’s very expensive, I don’t know much about it, I’ve never done it before, and if I make a mistake, I’m going to have to sell my home.” 

Not exactly an ideal selling environment, is it?

Of course, let’s be realistic.  We know it’s not an impossible sale, because you’ve been selling pools for years. But at the same time, we’ve got to recognize that even though Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner are excited about getting a swimming pool, they are most likely also filled with some level of anxiety, fear, reluctance and distrust.

Yes, showing them “pretty swimming pools” is important. But if we can also address their anxieties, fears and trust issues, then we will have a much better chance of getting them to choose you over your competitors. And in future posts, I’ll address how to do just that.