By Brett Lloyd Abbott
For any pool industry contractor who is frustrated with failed efforts to grow the business, this message is for you.
Every day I talk to pool builders who are spending more and more on advertising, but are not impressed with the results. So tell me if this sounds like you.
Your pay per click (PPC) ads aren’t performing as well as they used to. You complain to your PPC ad agency, and they keep telling you to “increase the budget.” But at this rate, you’re slowly bleeding dry. It seemed a lot easier just a few years ago, but now nothing seems to work. Your people are good, and your product is good, but competition is increasing, and you’re just not getting your fair share of the business.
You’ve fallen victim to the company-crushing killers of traditional marketing.
It may seem odd for a marketing consultant to tell you that “marketing” is killing your business, but the truth is there is a lot of bad marketing out there. And if you don’t uncover it and eradicate it, it will slowly choke your business to death.
That’s why we’ve created this series called Pool Industry Marketing Killers – to show you exactly what these evils are, and where they lurk, and how to permanently eradicate them from your business.
A case of the platitudes
Let’s start with traditional marketing company-killer number: platitudes.
“Highest Quality!” “Best Service!” “Built with honesty and integrity!” “We’ll make your backyard dreams come true.”
Did your eyes glaze over, and your ears and brain tune out? Yeah, so did your customers’. Platitudes like these are so rampant that no one sees or hears them anymore. Every marketing and advertising campaign says the same thing. But these empty claims are like the chips that come with your meal – just empty calories to fill up the plate. Not a reason to order the meal.
And much like chips, the empty calories of platitudes are seriously bad for you. Your customer, bombarded with similar hollow claims from everywhere, begins to assume that the companies making these claims are all the same.
In the absence of any reasonable distinguishing information, they have little choice but to base their decisions on price alone, disregarding any unique value your company has to offer.
If you find yourself frequently fighting on price, now you know why. You’ve got platitudes.
What’s worse is the fact that you’re paying for all these empty calories. Advertising and marketing consultants are more than happy to take your money and fill their ad space with your empty platitudes. Why should they waste time trying to identify the qualities that make your company unique? They don’t know what’s so special about you, so they’re depriving your prospects of the information they need, thus leaving you stuck in a price fight.
And that’s the last place you want to be.
How to kill the empty calories of platitudes
Bring in the facts!
“Built with honesty and integrity!” isn’t telling your prospects anything. (In fact, isn’t that exactly what a dishonest contractor would say?)
To defeat this enemy, you need to replace the empty platitudes with real information and evidence that proves your claims.
The opposite of platitudes is facts. Cold, hard, specific facts. Not fluff. Not feel good/sound good statements. What can you say about your company that no one else can say?
Until you start uncovering and exposing some of your undeniable “inside reality” advantages to the public, you will forever be stuck with the same “outside perception” as every other pool builder in town.
Here are some examples of “inside reality” facts that would be a lot more compelling and believable than meaningless platitudes:
• 167 5-star reviews with Google
• Cert III or Cert IV staff
• Member of SPASA etc
• More than 63 per cent of our business comes from referrals
• Winner of 87 design awards
• Exclusive dealer for _________
• Exclusively recommended by _____________
• Lifetime warranty/guarantee
Tell your prospects specifically why they should go with your company. Highlight what makes you stand out above the competition. Are you the leading authority in your field? Do you have evidence to share, such as your on-time delivery, your project completion rate, your customer service rating, your record of on-budget completion, or how much longer your product lasts?
These are sound, fact-based reasons a prospect should choose your company. These are the antidote to platitudes.
No-one knows your business better than you do. You understand your market, your history and your competition. Sit down with your team and get down on paper the quantifiable, measurable reasons you stand out in a crowded market. This is the bedrock of many aspects of the sales cycle, and one of your main weapons in this fight.