• Differentiate Or Die

    by Virginia DeMoss July 2004

    Put yourself in your customer's position for a minute. He wants to purchase something the family can enjoy together, and thinks it might be a spa. You carry several models offering a wide array of features, benefits, options and colors. Your competitor across town carries just as many models with just as many options. He touts the lowest price, while you promise the best...

  • Bells And Whistles On A Budget

    by Emily Fuger July 2004

    A couple walks into your pool and spa store one afternoon pondering the possibility of purchasing a hot tub. Although the spa with the stereo, television, DVD player and all the perks piques their interest, the fully-loaded hot tub just doesn't fit their budget, like a lot of consumers, they want all the extras that make their purchase seem more of a luxury. Should you...

  • Spa Broker Benchmark

    by Reid Creager July 2004

    Your business isn't in a great location. It doesn't have much product diversity. Your attempts at expansion haven't worked out so well, and you don't plan on trying it again.

    Sound like a struggling business? Not if you're the Spa Broker in Chico, Calif., which recently celebrated its 25th year in business and did $1.3 million in sales last year while selling 224...

  • Beating The Big Box

    by Scott Webb July 2004

    Mass merchants are considered the bane of the pool dealer's business, but there is much to be learned from the big box about selling pool chemicals — particularly the problem solvers. The lessons taken can help shore up your own store's competitive approach.

    Yes, even with no actual understanding of the product, mass merchants sell problem-solving chemicals....

  • In Praise Of Plastic

    by Phillip M. Perry June 2004

    On sales counters everywhere, gift cards are popping up like mushrooms. And no wonder: They are great vehicles for generating cash and attracting new customers.

    Retailers also benefit from the third-party endorsement implicit in every gift card purchase. "Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful ways for retailers to extend their brands," says David Ehrlich, president of Track Marketing Group, an Alexandria, Va.-based consulting firm....

  • A Sale For All Seasons

    by Elissa Sard Pollack June 2004

    Ask anyone who sells a lot of winter safety covers when the best time to sell them is, and the answer will be "anytime." Sure, some companies promote end-of-season purchases, while others push them when pools are being opened in the spring. But the truth is, you can sell a safety cover any day of any month.

    For builders, this might mean including a cover...

  • Enclosure Exposure

    by Karen Erstad June 2004

    Gazebos provide protection and privacy in an aesthetically pleasing package. But perhaps the best benefit of gazebos — at least from a dealer's point of view — is that you can make good money selling them. They're not spa accessories that get "thrown in" with the purchase of a hot tub. In fact, the margin on some gazebos is as much as the spa it's...

  • Get Smart

    by Barrett Kilmer June 2004

    In theory, selling water testing products and chemicals should be a breeze. Your customers need them and you carry them. But both you and your customers know many of those products can be purchased for less elsewhere — whether that's at the cut-rate pool dealer across town, or worse, at the Home Depot on the edge of town.

    The temptation to buy from places like...

  • What's The Plan?

    by David Cohn June 2004

    So you realize that you need a buy/sell agreement. You want to make sure that your spa and pool business carries on to your second and third generations without any hitches. That's a noble gesture, but have you done all the prep work necessary to draft a useful buy/sell. If creating a buy/sell agreement is like writing a novel, then most businesses write just the final chapter and hope that the foregoing chapters will just be understood. In other words, partners...

  • Spreading Sunshine

    by Reid Creager May 2004

    The pool and spa industry is one of new frontiers: Ever-evolving technology and equipment that make for quicker installation, convenience and easier upkeep. Lavish landscape creations that virtually replicate nature, whether majestic waterfalls or complex rock formations. Futuristic computer technology that allows precise and nearly instantaneous design while...