How To Make Your Pool Marketing and Sales Better
We Are The #1 Pool Builder Marketing Firm in the World!
How To Make Your Pool Marketing and Sales Better
About The Authors:
Scott is a pool and landscape designer with 20+ years of experience. He’s worked in three different regions of the country – New England (SSG), Austin TX (Austin Water Designs), and Arizona (BYOP). He is currently a landscape designer for ZEN Associates, a global boutique landscape and interior design firm in Boston, MA.
Kelly is a career marketer notably in the pool industry at SSG Pools. Aside from SSG, Kelly also served in marketing roles at Thrasio and Fiber Optic Center.
Kelly and Scott founded Backyard Assist, a media site designed to help homeowners navigate tough questions in their backyard.
Pool builders face steep competition in nearly every major market. We wish that pool building was as simple as the best pool builder winning the lion’s share of projects. However, that’s not true.
Oftentimes it’s the pool builder with the best sales and marketing that wins. Therefore, even if you are a great pool builder, you need to make sure that your sales and marketing are not only good individually, but that they can work well together, too.
This article was written by a former pool salesman and pool marketer. Combined, we have over 30 years of experience operating in pool sales and marketing. We’ve seen great and poor operations of both. In this article, we break down where sales and marketing often miss and how the best pool sales and marketing look.
What Bad Pool Sales And Marketing Looks Like
Half of having good pool sales and marketing is knowing what not to do. We outlined a few things we saw in our past that derailed great pool builders.
Quantity Over Quality
First, when marketing is solely focused on quantity and not enough on quality. Some marketers want to drive the most leads possible. When marketing doesn’t qualify leads, you can end up with 1,000 leads in the queue, but most of them are unqualified folks who either want a pool for $8,000 or only are interested in vinyl liner pools when you’re a gunite builder.
Marketers need to look beyond the number of leads that generate. You can consider working with your marketer to aim for a specific conversion rate as well as a number of leads. After all, wouldn’t you rather have 70 great leads than 120 bad ones? Having a large pipeline also slows down your salespeople’s productivity, which will eventually harm the relationship between your sales and marketing teams.
Over Promise, Under Deliver
As a marketer, it’s tough to resist falling victim to running “too good to be true” ads. When you run an ad promising a low price or quick build time, you’ll get lots of leads. Although, if you can’t quite live up to the claims in your ad, you’re just setting yourself up for lost sales or worse, poor reviews when you finish a job.
Avoid over-promising things like unrealistic prices, short lead times, or free estimates. These tactics will bring in the wrong clients for your business. Instead, advertise things like your quality, completed project pictures, and customer testimonials.
What Good Pool Sales And Marketing Looks Like
Here are a few things sales and marketing need to do together to be effective.
Communicate Early And Often
Pool sales and marketing need to always be in sync with each other’s challenges. It’s impressive and unique for a pool company to be transparent and accurate with advertising time-to-build estimates. If your sales and marketing teams are talking once a week, marketing can advertise “currently building pools to be ready for Memorial Day” or will know when to change up those campaigns when they become no longer relevant.
Another reason to communicate is about the pools themselves. Pool pricing always changes, so advertising “pools starting at $70,000” might be accurate one year and completely false the next. Make sure that marketing is aware of any major changes going on with selling.
Find Your Handoff Balance
Pool sales and marketing aren’t always balanced operations. Sometimes sales need to take on more of the lead process and other times, marketing needs to lend a hand.
For example, if your sales pipeline is slammed and marketing is being told to decrease ads and leads, maybe marketing can step in and help further qualify homeowners in the queue. If you don’t ask questions about pricing, timeline or design desires initially, have your marketers re-engage the lead before sales can handle them. It makes the customer feel heard again and also helps a salesperson sell quicker when they do become available.
In the opposite sense, when marketing is busy trying to get leads and sales are eagerly waiting to sell, consider practicing a warm transfer. This is when the receptionist or marketer sends new leads directly to a salesperson. This is easiest to do with calls but can be done with web chat, too. For this, you need a salesperson on call or on web chats each day, but the results are incredible. When someone calls you and gets an answer and starts their quote right away, you immediately stand out against the competition.
Marketing: How To Get More Leads
Next up we’ll walk through the marketing strategy we’ve done in the past to get more quality leads. Before we get too far, it’s important to have a balance of organic and paid marketing.
Organic is simple, you’ll need a really good Google page that is easy to maintain and grows automatically when you get customers to review you. Paid is more complicated, and while we’ve run ads ourselves, it’s much better to outsource this effort unless you want to hire a big team.
Find A Reliable Ads Partner
Launching ads on Google and Facebook are the fastest way to grow your leads and business. It’s also the most difficult. Rather than spend $25,000 to learn that you’re a great pool builder and awful paid marketer, it’s better to find a reliable ads partner.
In our combined 30 years in the pool industry, we have worked with many ad agencies. PBLR was our best experience. This may seem biased coming from their website, but we highly encourage you to contact us regarding our partnership with PBLR. They’ve been instrumental in our ability to grow SSG Pool’s leads by over 300% in 2 ½ years.
Anyways, as you look for a reliable ads partner, you should ask some critical questions to help you choose. First, ensure that the ad agency works with pool builders. That may seem obvious, but pools are harder to do paid marketing for than other industries. Next, make sure the team has experience with both Google and Facebook. These are the two larger platforms for advertising and you’ll need to balance both to be successful.
Finally, talk to some of their customers (like us) to make sure they are legitimate.
If you’re already advertising and not getting great results, talk to your ad partner or consider a switch. Most of the time, ads take a while to be successful as it takes time for Google/Facebook to learn and identify your ideal customer. Consider increasing your ad spend to get faster learning.
Improve Your Google My Business Page
Google is the first place people turn to when they want a pool. Even if you’re running ads, you won’t get all of the leads possible if you’re only paying for placement. Many homeowners don’t trust ads, so they’ll scroll further down to the organic or map listings.
When you look to improve your Google page, there are a few things you should do. First, make sure your basic information is correct. Is your website connected? Is your phone number correct? No matter how successful your Google page is, you won’t get leads with this being right.
After the basics are confirmed, make sure you’ve added your best project pictures to your Google page. This is likely what’s going to pull in the homeowner. Lastly, to prove that you’re reliable and high quality, get as many Google reviews as you can. Google ranks businesses based on the quantity and quality of your reviews. You should be asking every satisfied customer for a Google review after each project. Getting more good reviews can easily double your monthly leads.
Consider Web Chat
Not everyone has the patience to fill out forms. Sometimes customers are in a hurry and just want a single question answered. With web chat, you can grab a customer’s phone number and initial question, then follow up when you have time.
In our experience, web chat increased our total leads from our website by 40% year-over-year. We used a web chat provider called Broadly. For a few thousand bucks a year, Broadly allowed us to get more leads and answer more questions that eventually led to sales.
Homeowners will feel like they’re being heard long before you have time to reply. Broadly confirms people’s details (name, phone, email) and then ask them for their questions or project idea. The customer then gives that answer and you can text or email them back whenever you’d like. In our experience, we found that roughly 50% of our website leads come in via web chat now, and the other 50% by form. Broadly takes little to no get running and whoever manages your website should be proficient enough to complete the setup.
Sales: Ways To Close/Sell More Projects
Now we’ll talk about good sales tactics. While sales aren’t hard science or math, it can be difficult. You need good soft skills to be successful. We’ve outlined a few tips for pool salesmen.
Maintain Your Integrity When Times Are Good
It may sound long-term, but when things are busy, it’s incredibly important to maintain your integrity. Being honest and having good communication is an easy way to do that. When things are busy, communicate timelines and give people design estimates back on time. While this sounds simple, it’s incredibly hard to execute when pool sales are at an all-time high.
Think of every lead as a possible multiplier. If you’re late on designs and don’t respond quickly, that person will tell their 5 friends not to trust you with their pool project. If you delight the customer, chances are if you offer service or renovations, they’ll come back to you and they’ll be sure to tell their 5 friends that you built a wonderful pool. Word of mouth is a game of compound interest and you need to be on the right side.
Listen More, Talk Less
It’s generally a good idea to listen more than you talk. Asking a homeowner a question and then really listening to what they say does wonder. Salespeople usually love to talk but the reverse is actually what will help you sell better.
Call With Bad News, Don’t Text Or Email
Sometimes, the bad news is unavoidable. When you’re unable to keep a promise to a customer, even if it’s another department’s fault, always call the customer. Be upfront with them that you’re not going to get the task done in time and then tell them what you’re going to do about it. People usually just want to know what’s going on with their pool/backyard.