Upselling Builds Customers For Life

Don’t let fear, laziness or pride keep you from increasing your bottom line

Have you ever had one of those “aha moments” when you learn something new and kick yourself for not recognizing the opportunity sooner? Sometimes we get in a rut, and it becomes challenging to explore new ways of running our businesses. For some, even pride can get in the
way of success.

We interview and visit hundreds of retailers each year, and we can conclude that the No. 1 characteristic separating good retailers from exceptional ones are margins. Yes, employees are key and a great location helps keep the lights on, but margins will make you rich.

I know you understand the power of margins, but you may be surprised to learn a very simple way to add 8 to 12 percent to your bottom line (see page 43). I’m not talking about some massive transformation; just refine and train your sales staff to upsell accessories and services around the customer’s initial hot tub purchase. That’s it. If you think about it, this transaction should be the most important sale your store makes.

For years, our industry has worked diligently to compare our spas to boats, RVs and other high-end appliances. These competitive products use upsell models, and consumers don’t think twice about dealer add-ons. Why should spas be any different? After 19 years in the industry, I’m still surprised how many sales professionals get spooked that suggesting accessories and services may jeopardize the base hot tub sale.

If the upsell is unaggressive, you will complement your customer’s hot tub purchase with products that will add to the overall enjoyment of their spa when he or she is most willing to spend money. Steps make it easier to get in and out; covers keep energy costs lower; innovative chemical systems keep maintenance easy. The list goes on. Developing this trust early will build goodwill and make your clients a walking testimonial.

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A botched upsell, or worse — not even addressing the most common ownership pitfalls — will make repeat sales more difficult. Making matters worse, you will leave hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the table with missed upgrades over the life of the spa.

Upselling accessories and services should be win-win for both you and your customer. Your customers know this already; we just need to get our sales teams on board.


David Wood
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher