Business

10 sales tips for landscape and swimming pool contractors

Too many in the industry still rely on dated sales processes. Learn how pool builder software and a little marketing know-how make all the difference.

Pool Builders

Too many great swimming pool contractors still rely on dated sales processes. On the job site, they’ll insist on cutting-edge professionalism – crafting exquisite infinity pools, shaping natural stone and bringing the most amazing outdoor living spaces to life. But when it comes to delivering that same wow factor to the sales experience, something different happens. They’ll try the same old proposals on repeat, changing only the scope of the work and the name of a prospect.

That’s the thing about rapidly growing industries like outdoor living: Not every aspect of doing business grows at the same rate. It’s inevitable that some, like sales and marketing, lag behind. Meanwhile, others, like design and field tech, leap ahead.

But as the industry gets more cutthroat and competitive, swimming pool contractors no longer have an excuse to run an old-school sales process. As the demand for larger projects increases, so do customer expectations. So, what are the expectations of luxury consumers researching a pool or landscape project? They expect, among other things, faster communication; show-stopping proposals; consistent, timely communication; and a sales experience that makes them feel appreciated and catered to.

How do outdoor living pros deliver this amazing sales experience while balancing all the moving parts of a successful business? By first prioritizing the change and automating processes with pool builder software. Leaders in the industry are increasingly rethinking their sales processes to deliver “wow” from the first hello.

With that goal in mind, let’s take a closer look at 10 ways landscape and swimming pool contractors can improve their sales at each stage in the funnel.

Use content throughout the sales process

Content is a shockingly powerful sales tool. Through blog posts, showstopping project photography and engaging video, pros can provide answers to potential clients’ most common questions and soften their concerns along the way.

Imagine a prospect emails you a few quick questions about an upcoming project. Yes, simply emailing them back a timely response is a solid experience. But, remember, we are looking for “wow.” What if you were able to send them a link to an article your company penned addressing some of those questions? What if, for someone asking about the details of your design process, you were able to share a video case study from a similar project? That’s how you win the project over stiff competition.

Don’t neglect your complete brand

Don’t think of your brand as just a logo. Think of it as a signal in the noise – a signal you can use to show people what your firm is all about. From employee uniforms and truck designs to Google reviews and email signatures, anything that represents your company is your brand. That includes the very projects you design week in and week out.

How you present your finished body of work correlates directly to the quality of your brand. If you’re not reinforcing that brand throughout the sales process, then you’re not emitting a strong enough signal. Take a hard look at what exactly a prospect’s experience is from the first interaction. And remember, that interaction almost always starts with your online brand, long before they ever call you.

Use pool builder software

Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions. Don’t shy away from technology to help keep your digital clutter at bay. With solutions from Buildertrend, you can create and keep track of all your estimates and proposals, automate email follow-up campaigns and gather your leads in one convenient location. Map out which prospects are likely to lead to the kinds of projects you want your brand to be known for and direct your resources accordingly.

With your website synced to the Buildertrend CRM tool, each new sales lead is automatically added from a website form so the sales team can use tech as a central hub. This level of tech-driven organization will save time, reduce errors, increase brand impact and, most importantly, lead to increased close rates.

Articulate why you’re different

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client: Maybe you’ve found a builder in your research. They claim to be the best. Why? Because – drum roll please – they “care about quality.” That’s a claim almost all swimming pool contractors hope to make.

Instead consider what makes your company actually different? What can you do that no one else can do? What is your story? And is that story represented in top-notch copywriting and impactful, to-the-point messaging before and after the first engagement? This will take time and likely some deep soul-searching about why you actually do what you do for a living. But the return on your investment will be massive.

Keep the conversation going

After the first sales interaction, you need to follow up with your leads so you stay top-of-mind while they research other companies. With email marketing and pool builder software, you can keep your prospects engaged while providing specific, tailor-made content that speaks to their stage in the sales process. Did they just fill out a website form? Send them an introduction. Have you met with them once and are about to enter the design phase? Send them content relevant to design and planning. Content at this stage is crucial for keeping prospects curious and interested in your brand. And, with a good CRM, the process is surprisingly simple.

Include reassurances

A new pool or landscaping project is no small purchase. It’s natural that your prospects will have reservations about the money involved and whether they’re choosing the best professional for the job. Client testimonials – whether in sales proposals, brochures, webpages or automated sales emails – can help calm nerves and overcome those objections. Better yet, capture your client feedback in a professional video and include it in the project case study.

Don’t neglect print

Your company needs printed material – yes, even in this digital age. A physical brochure is like an ambassador for your brand. It helps keep your company in focus during a customer’s purchase decision, which is usually made without any sales rep present.

A well-designed, magazine-style brochure can also speak to any objections your prospect may be harboring while greatly elevating the perceived value of your company. Please, do not use the sales brochure as a place to list every service your company has ever provided for the last 20 years. They’ve already brought you to their house – they know! Rather, use this brochure as your best leave-behind sales rep, speaking to culture, expertise and values. Trust sells.

Know how to sell

At the end of the day, sales skills are real. As mature and sophisticated as the sales process has become in recent years, there’s still quite a bit of craft involved. Great salespeople can anticipate objections with responses that invert the problem at hand. If a customer is worried about the budget, for example, a salesperson should reframe the concern as a question of value. If a customer is worried about change, the sales rep should illustrate the risk of not changing. Investing in proper training for leadership and sales staff can make a huge difference to team morale and the bottom line.

Create a great proposal

The quality and depth of a sales proposal needs to reflect the value and cost of the pool or landscape you’re selling. Clients who are willing to drop $200,000 on a new backyard (rightfully) expect show-stopping proposals. Including images of your best projects, stellar reviews from clients and super-helpful written content about things to look for when deciding on a contractor – all embedded in the digital proposal experience right before the signature line – that’s next level.

Leading pros in the industry are delivering proposals like this every day – a bit different than the old-fashioned proposals many pros still spit out. Buildertrend’s Proposal tool empowers your team to do this, too.

Rockstar follow-up

People are busy. Following up properly not only shows that your company cares about the possible future project, but also that you care about your clients’ needs. At this stage, after you’ve (hopefully) hit the proposal out of the park, email automation through Buildertrend’s Email Marketing too can help keep the conversation going and the pipeline warm. Layer targeted social advertising that actively retargets your pipeline with reassuring content, and you’ve got a powerful digital follow-up combination.

But you also need to include personal touches. Digital can feel … cold and, well, automated. So, wherever you can, take the time to personalize things. Mailing off a hand-written card explaining how excited you are to be considered for their upcoming project can go a long way in making future automated communications feel a bit warmer. However you make it happen, remember that connections and relationships sell.

Sell smarter, not harder, with software

Pool builder software like Buildertrend will have your business swimming laps around the competition. With tools like CRM, Proposals and Email Marketing, Buildertrend is the one tool that will help you build pools, build your business and build your confidence all at once.

To dive in, demo Buildertrend and see what the leading tech can do for you.

About The Author

Corey Halstead

Corey Halstead Born into the landscape and pool industry, Corey worked his way from installation crew member, to project manager and design/sales roles, eventually switching to the product side of the industry. Settling into sales and marketing responsibilities in latter roles, Corey combines his hands-on industry experience, with the unique understanding of both the B2B and B2C channels in the business. With over 8 years driving marketing ROI for leading landscape and pool contractors, dealers, and building product manufacturers, Corey heads up sales, marketing, and education at HALSTEAD.

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