Overlooking Aftermarket

Keep your customers excited after the sale

Portable spas have been sold for more than 40 years, and there are thousands in homes all over North America. And yet, the industry seems to be more focused on the next big thing rather then capitalizing on existing spas.

Aftermarket sales of accessories and upgrades are not anywhere near what other industries are and what ours could be, and we are at fault. We, the retailers, don’t sell aftermarket or upgrades as much as we should. Waiting five to 10 years for a customer to buy their next spa from us means we miss out on selling add-on products (many are not manufactured for older models). If we market anything, it’s another backyard product like a firepit or a grill that has nothing to do with their spa.

This is yet another reason to use your service department as a sales tool. When customers buy a spa, it seems we actually hope we don’t hear from them for awhile because it means they are happy and nothing is broken. They need to hear from us.

Spas can often be like exercise equipment that becomes a place to hang clothes in your room. People buy them and then don’t use them nearly as much as they thought. They get busy. The water isn’t clean. The spa is too far from their door. They don’t want to go out in the weather.

Americans have a love affair with TV, and the media knows. We are hooked on American Idol, The Voice and American Ninja Warrior because we are invested in the outcome. Get them hooked on their spas instead and they can be involved in their family relationships.

Have the service department call the customer right after delivery, and ask scary questions like, “How is everything?” “Is your water staying clean?” “Are all the jets working?” Can you imagine being a buyer, getting your spa and the service rep calls to introduce themselves and enter a relationship with customer before something breaks? Just imagine, they liked their salesperson enough to buy from them but now they find they have another contact, another person to like at your company. It takes away the fear of “What if something breaks?”

If you were to discover they aren’t doing water maintenance correctly and became their “spa mentor,” they remain excited about their purchase. You don’t just want to be the person who points out a broken heater, or the one they call when their kid gets pseudomonas infection and they no longer trust their spa.

How about a monthly call, text or email that requires an honest response asking them how things are? Better yet, start out monthly then go quarterly. Send them “spa date” ideas and packages with a local liquor store or coffee grinder, and give discount certificates for special occasions so customers think of the spa as part of every occasion. If you’re always on top of how they feel about that spa and can keep them loving it, you earn the right to talk with them about accessories or upgrades, and you get to ask for referrals.

We’ve all had cars we loved, cars we put up with and cars we hated. I would be hard pressed to put cheap tires or cheap accessories on my Ram 1500 Laramie. My old, ugly F150 had just what I needed to keep it going, and I bought most of my tires used on Craigslist, but not my Ram that my salesman calls me about at least once a month to point me to a new article on it or get me on another forum for it. I bought a $1,100 Tonneau cover to keep the bed dry and clean. I’d had my truck for a little over a month and shelled out $3,500 in accessories because I was excited about it. Do you think customers using their spa every night would do the same thing?

Imagine that next time there’s a hailstorm, your customer spends $2,000 for a more permanent cover, or a backyard gazebo or a Covana that will take care of a cover, lifter and gazebo in one product.

If we maintain our relationship with the customer, who is working to maintain their relationship with their spa, we will create the need for new products.

If you own a 1966 Mustang, there are 20 to 30 companies selling aftermarket parts for it. An old Jeep? Probably close to the same amount. Dealers back then created a relationship between the customer, the dealership and the car. We can do the same thing and find a revenue stream we didn’t know existed.

Robert Stuart
Robert Stuart has been in the spa industry for more than 20 years as a technician, store manager, factory representative, salesman and business owner.