In my last post, I shared with you the first of seven marketing secrets for pool builders. The essence of secret No. 1: Buying a pool is a very big deal to the average homeowner.

While most homeowners are probably happy and excited about the idea of getting a pool, they are also filled with various levels of anxiety, fear, reluctance and distrust. So if we can address their fears, anxieties and trust issues, we’ll have a significantly better chance of getting them to choose you over of your competitors.

With that in mind, let’s move on to the next crucial marketing secret for pool builders: To the average homeowner, you look just like everybody else

This is undoubtedly the quintessential challenge for business owners and marketing consultants everywhere. How do we make the buying public recognize and appreciate the fact that you are somehow different and better than all the other pool builders out there? To put this in marketing terms: How do we change your “outside perception” to match your “inside reality?”

I think the best visual example I’ve ever found to explain “inside reality” versus “outside perception” is the much maligned Ugli fruit from Jamaica. Take a look at the photo to the left. What’s your immediate perception when you see this nasty-looking fruit? 

No doubt, the Ugli fruit (which just happens to be a natural hybrid cross between a grapefruit, a tangerine and an orange) has an undeniably unappealing skin. The ugly brown spots on the outside would instantly make you think that the inside is rotten. But that’s only because you don’t know anything about the “inside reality” of this unique fruit.

If you have the courage to cut it open and take a bite, you’ll discover it’s actually quite sweet and delicious. Definitely no hint of rottenness whatsoever. As an added bonus, it’s very easy to peel. (And very healthy for you.) So we’re talking about a fruit with an outstanding inside reality but a challenging outside perception to overcome.

So how do we fix this reality/perception issue and avoid the tragic fate of Ugli fruit?

Step 1: Kill the Platitudes.

Most marketing and advertising is filled with empty promises and hollow platitudes that are spoken as if they are significant, but really mean nothing when you stop and think about it. Here are some classic (and very real) examples of platitude in the pool industry:

  • “Driven to satisfy our customers”
  • “Fulfilling your Family’s Dreams”
  • “Built with Integrity and Experience”
  • “We are <your city’s> Premier Builder!”
  • “Experienced. Skilled. Innovative. Since 19__.”
  • “We’ll make your backyard dreams come true.”

Are these platitudes as obvious to you as they are to me?  If not, then use any of these three super-fast and super-easy “tests” to determine whether or not you’ve got platitudes. 

1. After reading the statement, ask yourself “who else can say that?” In the examples given above, the answer to this question would be anyone and everyone. (Yes, even a no-good schlock pool builder can and will say “Built with integrity and experience.”) 

2. After hearing or reading the statement, would the homeowner be inclined to say, “Well I would hope so!?” For example, if someone told me he was "driven to satisfy his customers," I would say "Well I would hope so! That's what I'm paying you for!"

3. The “Scratch-out / Write-in” test: If you can scratch out your company name and write in the name of your most-hated competitor, does the statement still sound believable? If so, you have a platitude. 

So if you got platitudes, what should you say instead?

STEP 2: “Bring in the Facts.”

The opposite of a platitude is a fact. Cold, hard, specific facts, not fluff or feel good/sound good statements. What can you say about your company that no one else can say? Until you start uncovering and exposing some of your undeniable advantages to the public, you will forever be stuck with the same outside perception as every other pool builder in town.

Here are some examples of “inside reality facts"  that would be a LOT more compelling and believable than meaningless platitudes: 

  • A+ Rating with the BBB
  • Certified Building Professional/CBP on staff
  • Certified Pool Operator on staff
  • Certified Service Professional (CSP) on staff
  • Exclusive Dealer for _________
  • Member of (Aquatech, APSP, FSPA, BBB, SWD, Genesis3 Platinum, etc.)
  • More than __% of our business comes from referrals
  • Winner of ___ International Design Awards
  • Exclusively Recommended by _____________
  • Lifetime Guarantee

This is just a starter list; obviously you’ll need to use or create whatever list is appropriate for you and your company. Ultimately, you’ve got to answer this question that is foremost in the homeowner’s mind: “Why should I choose you?”

Once you’ve found and eradicated all of your platitudes and replaced them with interesting, compelling and believable facts, you should update all of your marketing and advertising materials, sales tools, etc., to reflect these facts. Then, finally, you will begin to sound different from and better than your competition.

In our next installment, we'll talk about your online image. We'll definitely talk about your website, but we'll also talk about the 25 to 50 other online locations where information about your company may already be posted, and may even contain damaging reviews and comments about your company.  

To your success…