After 28 years of leading APSP’s efforts developing technical standards, Carvin DiGiovanni has...
In a win for brick-and-mortar retailers nationwide, the Supreme Court of the United States...
It’s an idea that could potentially change how people regard the aquatic design profession —...
Marketing guru Seth Godin says we live in the “connection economy” — a new reality that is forcing business owners to make the switch from taking orders to becoming trusted authorities.
As Godin wrote in a recent blog post, “the traveling salesman, the carnival barker and the old-time businessman can hit and run. Make the sale, cut your costs, move on.”
In that old-school transactional selling model, there’s no relationship past the immediate purchase. Maybe customers remember you and call you next season, or maybe they call the guys down the road. It makes no difference to them; your business is just one of many and the bottom line is generally price or availability.
While transactional selling may be working for your company now, it doesn’t leave the door open for long-term growth in an industry like ours. Instead of growing your business, you spend a hefty chunk of your time and efforts regaining customers you already thought you had and struggle to stand out in a big pool of competitors.
What would it mean to your business if customers sought you out, instead of the other way around? What if people called you because they heard about you from a friend or saw your post on Facebook?
In my own experience as owner of Legendary Escapes, it changes everything.
We used spend a lot of time on our outbound marketing: postcards, flyers, advertising. We started building an online presence around 2007, connecting with customers, friends and prospects and building great relationships with folks online. We based it on a friendly “Pool Guy” character, and started publishing content with the theme of “Ask the Pool Guy.”
We focused creating useful and fun content, like how-to videos, informative blog posts, photos of our favorite projects — all aimed at helping pool owners get more out of their backyards. By establishing a fun and professional presence in our blog, Facebook page and video channel, we started to make the switch from transactional selling to relationship selling.
This kind of outreach makes all the difference in our sales process. Research proves that social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and the like) and user reviews are the two fastest growing consumer sources for influencing purchase decisions, so having a solid presence online gives us a huge boost.
By the time customer calls us, they feel like they know me already from my online presence, they know my work and how I go about the job. So the hard part of the sale — building trust — is already done by the time I sit down with them face to face.
The giant bald-headed caricature of me as The Pool Guy splashed across the side of the company vans doesn’t hurt either. And it’s a blast when I meet a new customer and they give me a big handshake, a slap on the back and say, “Hey, Pool Guy!” like they’ve known me for years.
In any field, you’ve got to find a way to make yourself stand out. You can have the best service, the best products, but if nobody can tell you apart from the other guys, what’s the point?
If you aren’t building an authoritative presence online, where customers and prospects can find you, connect with you and begin to build a relationship with you, you are stuck in a transactional economy where price becomes the determining factor and brand loyalty is nonexistent.
Al Curtis is the designer and builder for Legendary Escapes Pools. He has pioneered the hybrid vinyl liner/gunite swimming pool, and is known for his unique and innovative custom designs. Also known online as @askthepoolguy, he blogs, does video, training, and events for the pool loving public and fellow industry professionals. He can be found online at www.AskthePoolGuy.com.
Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail email@example.com.
We always say that pool construction tracks closely with housing starts, and historically that has always been the case. But is that still true? And are there other economic indicators that are as correlative with the state of the pool industry?
Indeed, pools have tracked with housing starts. But then, in 2011, things began to change. Starts stopped prompting pools. Moreover, two new indicators began to explain a lot of things about the floundering pool business.
Here at AQUA, we spend a lot of time discussing the in's and outs of your work life, but what about life outside of work? On our Facebook page, we asked you to tell us about the hobbies and passions you enjoy off the clock. We got a wave of responses that included everything from motorcycling to music to statue making!
Have a hobby you'd like to share? Send photos to read more
For landscape lighting designer Scott Armusewicz, Jr., it's all about discovering possibilities after the sun goes down. As lead lighting designer with Hamptons Landscape Lighting (Southampton, N.Y.), Armusewicz says he's always on the lookout for opportunities to create unique effects while also being sensitive to the client's needs.
"It's all about finding that unique piece that will give the client something special, but at the same time give them exactly what they're looking...
As the concept of outdoor living continues to gain momentum among homeowners worldwide, some of the designs and products emerging to meet the growing demand can take on rather interesting creative twists. That's...