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As we all know, the life of a pool guy isn't always the easiest these days. Between the economy, the election uncertainties, and the housing market, I'm sure most of us are having a rough time selling the number of pools we need to in order to experience success. Where I'm located in Virginia, leads for new pool construction have dropped drastically in the past couple of months. This lack of leads has also forced our company to look at this winter and ask ourselves a variety of questions, with the main one being something along the lines of, "How do we not lose our tails over the next 4-5 months?"......

I'm sure many of you are asking similar questions and looking for ways to combat this difficult slow-down. I feel Pool Genius is a perfect way for all of us to bounce such ideas off of each other and find strength, ideas, and even prosperity through the potential synergy that such a site can provide. Because most of my time is spent on the 'Sales/Marketing' side of the pool business, I plan on contributing occasional thoughts to my fellow 'Geniuses' ;-) on this subject.

About a week ago I was contemplating my lack of sales appts. and what I could do about it. Not wanting to drop a bunch of money on advertising, my thoughts were turned to the 500 leads I've recieved this year who had ordered our free DVD online. In order to recieve this DVD, the customer must give us their address and email information. So armed with about 500 names and emails, I decided to send an email to each one of these perspective clients explaining to them why they should purchase a pool now versus waiting until next year. I also explained that our company was offering the 'River Pools and Spas Economic Stimulus Package', and it would be well worth their financial bottom line to take advantage of such an opportunity.(Keep in mind that these emails went out the week the government bailed out the banks and the DOW was dropping like a rock)...Each email was addressed individually to the customer with their name to add a personal touch. It took some time to do it this way but I didn't want customers to feel as if they had recieved a 'mass' email.

So what have been the results? Well, my goal was to go on at least 5 qualified appts before I sent out the emails. Thus far, I have set up 6 appts and have recieved many comments from others expressing their desire to purchase a pool from our company in the Spring. From these 6 appts, I'll likely sell 3 or 4 pools, which will mean the effort was a great success considering I didn't spend a dime on advertising.

My point here is that more than ever we must all take the time to be creative and persistent with our sales and marketing efforts. When it comes down to it, we've just got to do what it takes, and we can't allow economic conditions to deter our efforts. This time period can be one of tremendous growth for all of us on a personal and business level if we diligently take the time each day to contemplate what we CAN do versus what we CAN'T do.

I hope this little blog may help each of you in some way and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on sales and maketing (and every other subject for that matter) in the future.

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Comment by PoolDraw on February 8, 2009 at 11:57am
Enjoyed your article Marcus - I also return to my existing database when my new inquiries slow down -
I have prospects that are several years old and often find that the pool builder is still thinking about design software and my call sometimes prompts action. Just yesterday I checked in with a pool builder who likes to draw by hand but has a little more interest since seeing PoolDraw while visiting over at another campany and he is logging on next week for a demo - unless those home owners have built their pool with someone else they are still in the market!!
Comment by PGN Admin on October 22, 2008 at 6:50pm
GREAT article Marcus! Recognizing your "past prospect" database is HUGE, and is a largely ignored resource. Keep the good ideas flowing, there are many who can benefit from them.
Comment by Steven Gorlin on October 22, 2008 at 5:32am
NICE.Building on your marketing plan...Produce a monthly e-zine and send it to the same group. In each issue offer FREE information that would be valuable to a prospect wanting to purchase a pool. ie 7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING A POOL, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIBERGLASS, VINYL, GUNITE, AUTOMATION, ETC Position your company as the expert in the field. The prospect would not even think of purchasing a pool until they received a proposal from you. Just some loose thoughts to go along with your campaign. Hope it helps.
Comment by Brian Suwarow on October 21, 2008 at 7:41pm
Marcus, everyone has seen a drop in business, but can you imagine starting a business 18 months ago and just when we saw things ramping, poof! Well, if no here knows by now, We are Ozone Joe's and we sell ozone generators. What we have worked out with several dealers in the SouthEast, is a buy back program. Dealers/Builders call their pervious customers in their database and offer folks with old ozone generators (or salt) a chance to swap out for a new one. We have taken all kinds of systems back. Some generators had no lamps and others were were in pieces. We offered a substantial discount to the dealer/builder (up to $150), some passed the savings on, others just kept it. Bottom line folks that have ozone generators know there was a cost savings, and people will still spend money to save money! This deal offered another avenue of sales and a chance to sell service while installing the system. It has worked well and we will probably extend it thru the end of the year.
Comment by Ray Cronise on October 21, 2008 at 12:14pm
Excellent!!! This is what we need to do to keep our companies moving forward in difficult times. No amount of reorganizations, budget cuts, or squabbles, can out do ONE well thought out and executed effort to sell. Unlike the government, we cannot solve our cash short falls by going back and asking existing customers for more money for their job, "because times are difficult." we have to grow more business and that is EXACTLY what you have done.

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