Part One: List the benefits to prove a swim spa meets the customer’s needs
By Sean Hunsinger
Swim spas have changed the landscape of the hot tub industry — so much so that some business plans have been implemented to focus on this unique product. Celebrity endorsers get paid handsomely for touting their benefits. Without question, swim spas transcend industries — part pool, part hot tub, some even incorporating exercise equipment to round out the multifaceted machine, which is still one of the hottest items in our industry. Since swim spas are unique, the approach to selling these high-ticket items must be commensurate with their uniqueness. Sales professionals must provide peace of mind for the customer in order to make the sale. Discard the traditional laundry list of qualifying questions we all use to gauge interest in a spa. These are two different beasts; treat them as such. Do not lose an opportunity to sell the price equivalent of three spas. Below is the first of five steps to turn a consumer into your swim spa customer.
First, find out their motivation. Ask your client, “Why a swim spa?” and then listen. What is said next will give you all the information you need to close the sale when the time comes. Think about it: You have asked customers to sell themselves on the product. Be attentive, as usually the customer will verbalize what is most important first. Then, they will validate their desire for the product with ancillary reasoning. These smaller benefits add up to making the product worth the price, so they’re important too. Everything is relative. The internal question customers must answer is if the product is worth enough to purchase at the price offered. The more reasons it is means the more benefits it possesses therefore it is worth the money. Make a mental note of the hot buttons and the secondary items the consumer states. How you proceed with the presentation lies in if they want a pool or spa. Rarely is it a question of hot tub versus swim spa. More often than not, I hear the customer start our conversation with “It is either this or a pool.” Translated into sales lingo, this means, “If a swim spa can make me as happy as a pool I would purchase it.” Now it is up to the sales professional to present enough value in the swim spa that it makes sense.
The attraction of the swim spa lies in its duality. It is two products neatly wrapped into one. As long as the customer believes he will receive all the benefits of ownership with a swim spa that he would a pool, it remains a viable alternative. Understand this: The underlying motivation is price. Budget is part of every purchasing decision. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average pool price is $39,000. A quality swim spa can be installed for under $25,000 including electrical and foundation. Now you have the customer’s attention. If we can demonstrate how our swim spa fulfills their needs and wants, we win. Additionally, if we demonstrate the pool is not worth the additional money, we also win. Do your homework and research pool costs in your market by type and size. Have documentation to back it up. If the customer perceives he can get a pool cheaper, however, the following exercise is worthless.
The Benjamin Franklin Technique is one way to build value in your product. Franklin was known for tackling hard decisions by comparing the two choices on paper, granting the one with the longer list of
positives victorious. After listening to the customer and his answers as to why he wants a swim spa, take
out a sheet of paper and draw a line through the middle, creating two columns. Write “Swim Spa” and “Pool” at the top of each column. Reiterate what was important to the customer and write it ALL down in the appropriate columns. Whether it is exercise, stress relief, aesthetics, cooling off or whatever the case may be, no matter how small you think it is. Do not interject your opinion at this time. If it is important to the customer it adds value to the product. Any other feature will add price (not benefit) to the item. When finished, the swim spa column should overpower the pool column. If not, now is the time to point out omissions that benefit the customer. Make certain the customer agrees with the benefit before writing it down. Lastly, write down the two prices at the bottom and present it to the customer. Say nothing. He who speaks first loses.
If done correctly, the swim spa column will have proven to be the logical choice in benefits alone. The difference in savings is more than enough to persuade any hard-working individual to keep his money. After all, he is getting everything he wants for less. Listing the buying motives in a side-by-side comparison has given visual confirmation of what direction to choose. It is extremely effective due to its author; after all, the items listed are reasons the customer stated out loud that matter to them. To see it on paper validates the conclusion. You have successfully overcome the main objection in selling a swim spa by proving swim spas are the better value. Now you can move on to isolating the proper model, size and shape.