After the explosive growth the hot tub industry experienced over the last couple of years, the market is finally beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. We began to see sales calm earlier this year, and this trend continues as the year progresses.
The retail hot tub market is not the only industry that is seeing numbers dip below what they were in 2019, pre-pandemic. With companies and cities fully re-opened for business and travel, consumers are focusing their discretionary dollars elsewhere. However, this simply means it’s time for dealers to shift their focus back to driving demand. This means getting back into advertising, ensuring leads are being worked through successfully proven methods, and refreshing sales associates on the art of the sales presentation.
Here are a few ways you, as a dealer, can get back into the groove of driving demand.
Don’t Forget the Past
Just because it’s in the past, doesn’t mean it’s not still relevant! What your dealership experienced, learned, implemented, changed, and adapted over the last two years is important and as relevant as ever. However, the sales-driving methods you used pre-pandemic are still relevant and necessary. If you haven’t revived those strategies, now is the time to consider delving back in and evaluating what methods still align with the current marketing conditions, and what strategies make sense to be updated.
The consumer continues to evolve in the way they shop and purchase, and your company should be doing everything in your power to keep up with this evolution and, if possible, stay at the front of it.
Participate in Events
Participating in fairs, tent events, and other programs can be a great way to add incremental sales to your business and build your customer base by exposing your business to new clientele. These events create a solid opportunity for high exposure to customers who might not necessarily come into a store location.
The more consumers are exposed to a product, the better success dealers will have in growing sales. The idea of these events is an opportunity to take the product to the people. State and County fairs, festivals, parking lot sales, and Costco or home improvement events usually produce great results and can be an excellent form of advertising and market placement. This is your opportunity to educate consumers about how a hot tub might really improve their life, how simple water care can be, and the financing programs that can be fit to their budget and make purchasing a spa affordable.
In most cases, these tent events are relatively low-cost for the amount of exposure gained, and they are a great opportunity for salespersons to improve their sales presentation skills and proficiencies.
A good example of this is the Bullfrog Spas Costco program. The program is an excellent way for your business to be exposed to thousands of new customers and referrals for all retail categories. It creates opportunities to sell spas, as well as chemicals and accessories, and can bring in referrals for thousands of potential sales, with little or no overhead cost to you.
Re-Engage in Marketing Strategies
While demand has been high, many retailers paused their marketing efforts simply because they already struggled to keep up with demand. Now that demand is slowing down, it’s essential to re-engage in the marketing activities that will continue to drive sales.
But the marketing climate has changed over the last few years. More than ever before, retail marketing focuses should be diversified, beginning with a significant amount of focus aimed on casting a wide net through broadcast and TV, and then supporting those efforts with a strong emphasis on targeted mail, paid search, and social ads.
Some areas where dealers often struggle are keeping their website up to date, updating Google listings, and following up on leads. All these areas have become extremely important. In many cases, the website and Google listings are a customer’s first impression of your business. Keeping up with the digital age is imperative to your bottom line.
At a minimum, dealers should be utilizing the Bullfrog Spas annual promotional plan, as well as creating one of their own. Consumers want and need a reason to purchase from specific dealerships, and having a sale or some type of monthly savings opportunity is both a plus and a necessity in today’s retail world.
Leads are generated through a variety of sources, such as your website contact form, your social media presence, and online corporate sources. Bullfrog Spas assists your business by providing leads through the Design Studio spa configurator website and our lead nurture programs. Your response to leads needs to be fast. Consumer expectations have changed. When someone submits information, they often expect to get a response right away.
It’s important to engage with your leads right away, without making them feel like you’re pushing them into a sale they aren’t ready to make. The goal is to gather information about the customer’s wants, needs, and concerns.
By working these leads immediately, opportunities for more sales open up because even when a potential customer is “just looking,” establishing a dialogue gives your salespeople the chance to explain what differentiates Bullfrog Spas from other brands and why the customer should purchase from your dealership rather than elsewhere.
Focus on customer reviews
If you’ve ever purchased something large from an online giant like Amazon, you probably sifted through several versions of that product and then read at least one or two reviews before making that purchase. When it comes to investment-type purchases (like hot tubs) the retailer’s reputation matters.
According to Finances Online, 68% of customers make purchasing decisions based on positive reviews, 40% will not deal with a company based on negative reviews.
Companies with strong reputations demonstrate more value, which gives them an edge when it comes to charging a premium price for their products. When a company has a strong reputation, customers tend to be loyal, sticking around to purchase more products and services. Brand reputation matters, which is why it’s crucial to find ways to get your customers to leave reviews when and wherever possible.
Whether you send a gentle reminder to leave a review, or offer a thank you discount or other gift for leaving one, gathering those reviews can be an important investment in the future of your retail success.
Send your sales associates to our Sales Excellence training
It’s not a secret that not all successful salespeople are born—most are trained, work hard, and built from the ground up. During times when sales aren’t quite as hot, or even when they are, it’s always worth the money and time to invest in your employees. The more they learn about presentation, lead follow-up, upselling, and customer service, the better your bottom line.
The Bullfrog Spas Sales Excellence training program is a great way to give your associates an edge in the industry. This training offers an opportunity for extended networking with sales mentors and tips and tricks on how to make the most of a sales presentation using tried and true methods that are constantly and consistently honed. Class participants start with a Bullfrog Spas factory tour and end by taking home a printed manual that they can refer back to as often as they’d like.
Update Your Showroom
Most dealers have been selling from an empty showroom for the past two years. It’s now time to update branding and consumer messaging and restock the showroom models. Keeping your showroom updated and fresh, with different models displayed on a regular basis, will ensure that your customers stay interested in your displays and updates, and it helps build trust because your prospective customers will feel confident that you are consistent in your efforts to always offer the newest models and the most updated accessories, chemical packages, and other programs.
If you offer patio furniture at your location, updating those pieces seasonally will ensure that there is always something new for your regular customers to see and look at and it creates the opportunity to generate more long-term sales down the road. The trick is to ensure that your showroom updates remain, as they always should be, focused on the customer experience. Keep it clean, uncluttered, and easy to navigate, so customers will come in and automatically feel that peaceful vibe we work so hard to convey.
There’s Always More to Do
No matter where you land in all of these areas, there is always some room for improvement that will help drive growth for your business. Now is the time to get back to the basics of sales by re-evaluating strategies and dialing in your marketing activities. You can always refer to the Bullfrog Spas Power Per Square Foot Guide, dealer programs, and your seasoned regional managers for additional support.
We’d love to hear about what you’re doing to boost sales and how it’s working for you. If you’ve got great ideas to share, please reach out to your regional manager. We’d love to hear them!