Sales techniques, tricks and tactics.
by a former successful Spa and Hot Tub Salesman.
Before you read on... I have had a number
of complaints from people who sell spas
tubs about the content of this page. Let me first say "Not all spa/hot
tub sales people are evil!" In fact I have a number of very close
friends who sell hot tubs and spas for a living, that I would trust
"with my life" as the saying goes.
But with that said it is only fair that I
do not believe that you can get proper direction from a "floor
person" at a big box store like the Depot. So find a real spa dealer
you are comfortable with and buy from a pro, it can make all the
difference in the world in your long term happiness.
The SALES PITCH
There are many angles to selling spas. When you are
given a presentation on a spa, generally you will hear all about the horse
power of the tub. You will hear about the fancy filtering systems. You
will hear about the special jets,
and the unique features that no other spa manufacturer has. You will hear
about open celled foam and closed cell foam. You will hear about the
benefits to having an air blower
and the problems with having an air blower. Fact is what you are hearing
is a sales pitch! I have yet to meet a sales person who did not have the
best product available. I think a few really believed it, too.
What you need to do is listen to all
the sales presentations in your area. Do not buy on impulse!!! A deal
today will be a deal tomorrow, with very few exceptions!
The best recommendation I can give to keep 'em
video tape the sales presentation if the sales person tells you
that you cannot tape their presentation, for any reason, walk away and go
to the next dealership.
There is a chance that they will think you are a competitor, if you
believe they think this you can usually get them over it by giving them a
Other than that there is no reason for them not to give you their
presentation while you tape them.
I had a customer do it to me and ever since I video tape any sales
presentation for a large purchase.
This method of "keeping them honest" saved my father a little
over $20,000. He had a pool sales person come to his house and refuse to
be video taped.
My Dad asked him to leave.
Two months later the company that this sales person was representing was
on the news for ripping off their customers.
So if the idea of bringing a video camera with you makes you squeamish,
remember it could save you thousands!
Just tell the sales man you are taping them so you can review all the
information later at home.
This should satisfy them and give you a chance to review the information
later without any pressure.
As a footnote: I have received "HATE
emails" because of this suggestion.. so keep on taping them!
When in doubt get an outside opinion. That is one of the
objectives of this web site.
(see the link to our forum below for questions)
For most people this is a large purchase,
you owe it to yourself to do the leg work.
Widgets and the Sale of a hot tub.
There are three common ways to sell a spa,
it is a mater of breaking the sales presentation down to its basic
elements to figure out which you are hearing. Granted there are variations
from the examples I am about to give, and some sales people will combine
elements of two or more of these styles. The trick is sorting our the
"widgets" from the things that matter.
Example one: "The (nice) Purple
Spa store "A" uses the purple
widget method. This is where they pick out the one, two, or twelve things
that there spa has that the competition does not have and tries to make
you feel like you need their "Purple Widgets" or you will be
buying an inferior product.
It sounds like this, "Our product uses
a 1000 sq' Purple Widget filter, and we are the only ones in town, the
industry, the world, that use this feature, and we both know you do not
want to sit in dirty, scummy, nasty, unclean, unhealthy, spa water, and
the only way you can guarantee that you do not have this kind of pond scum
in your tub is if you have our Exclusive 1000 ' sq Purple Widget Filter
System. You don't want nasty water when you family gets into the tub do
you? Then you need our spa, let's write it up."
Example two: "The (evil) Blue
Spa store "B" uses the blue
widget method. This is where they pick out something, anything on the
competitions tub that they don't offer and make it sound terrible to
purchase any tub that uses a "Blue Widget"
It sounds like this, "So you have seen
"X" brand of tubs, did you notice that they are using the
infamous, out dated, inferior method of "Blue Widgets" any spa
that uses "Blue Widgets" is obviously made by a company that
just does not care about quality, safety, water clarity, structure, etc.
Why, I heard of a tub that had a "Blue Widget" that when the tub
owner's friends came over to use the tub, exploded! leveled six city
blocks and turned all the survivors into wear-wolves! You look like an
intelligent person, you don't want to buy an inferior, dangerous, ugly tub
with a "Blue Widget" do you? Then you want my tub, lets write it
Example three "My Widgets, their
Widgets an Education"
Spa store "C" uses the My Widgets
vs. Their Widgets method. This is where the spa dealer, salesperson, has
taken the time to learn the benefits of all the things that their tub
offers and is willing to do a comparison of features and benefits for you.
If they are truly educating you they are doing you a service, sometimes
they will make up this stuff, so do your homework. And a wet test
is always a good idea too.
This method sounds like, "Did you
notice that our spa has widgets located in key areas? Like the foot,
wrist, and left pre-motor cortex area, where spa "Y" only has
widgets in the foot area. Also our tub has an available Widget filter
system, that helps keep the water as clean and clear as possible,
"Y" tub has a filter but not the Widget that is so important in
keeping your water its' freshest. And on and on, they will try to show how
their widgets are beneficial over the widgets of the competition. If you
have listened to the competition too, you may be able to sort out which
"Widgets" are important to you and which are not.
If you have done your homework, method
three will be the most useful, but keep in mind, the goal of a sales
presentation is to make a sale. So go back to the basics.
Do Your Homework, learn about each
spa that is available in your area, and each dealer's reputation.
Wet test any and all spas that
you are seriously considering buying. A tub will feel much different
when wet. And comfort and relaxation are key.
If you follow these simple guidelines along
with the other consumer suggestions contained in this website you should
get an honest education about the tubs in your area. Then make your
"A wise man waits where fools rush
Common Myths in Spa Sales.
Open Cell Foam vs. Closed Cell Foam;
I have heard many spa salesmen over the years say
"Our tub is different, because we use closed cell foam
insulation." The truth is everyone who uses foam insulation in the
spa industry uses closed cell polyurethane foam. The difference between
open cell foam and closed cell foam is this; Open cell polyurethane foam
is what is commonly called "foam rubber", great for cushions,
not used in insulating spas. Closed cell foam is the stuff you see used in
many insulating situations. The reason is simple, closed cell foam traps
dead air, and it is that air that gives you your insulation. Another myth
associated with foam insulation is that the higher the density of the foam
the higher the R factor or insulating properties. This is not true either.
It is the air that is trapped in the foam that gives you your insulation.
Density is higher in foam with less air and more polyurethane. The most
common densities of foam used in insulating hot tubs are 1.5# and 2#,
while densities as high as 60# have been used to form a seal on the bottom
of some spas.
When closed cell foam is exposed to the chemically
treated water of a spa, in many instances the foam's cells can
"open" and allow water saturation. This can lead to a spa that
weighs significantly more following a leak, and when the "dead
air" inside the foam is replaced by water, a lowering of your spas
"R factor" occurs.
09/27/01 HOLD THE PRESSES!
Now I have seen everything today I went
to see a line of spas I had never seen before and much to my amusement
they were using .5lb OPEN CELL poly foam for insulation. (remember the
idea behind insulation was to trap the air... how do you do this with open
foam?) The salesman said, it is also water soluble what a plus? I think?
Then (because I have known him a while) he said... well we needed to do
SOMETHING different, and it fits into our pitch. So with my grain of salt
and a grin I said "Thanks for the tour... good luck."
Horsepower equals performance?
I have seen pumps
that are rated at 2 horsepower and 5 horsepower that are identical. Many
spa companies use what is called "marketing horsepower" when
listing the horsepower of their pumps. And though I have asked a couple
pump manufactures how they get the ratings for their pumps, I have yet to
get a sensible answer. What really matters when evaluating a pump's
performance is the "head" of the pump, a rating that has more to
do with flow than actual horsepower. But as a consumer getting a straight
answer about "head" from a spa sales person can be near
impossible, mostly because the head of a particular pump is not general
knowledge that is shared with the sales staff. So the best way I can think
of to see how a spa performs is to see it running, and put your hands, or
preferably your whole body in front of the jets (wet test). Then
you will have a feel for the tub's jet flow as opposed to some numbers a
sales guy spouts to you.
Then amongst the number of things you need to be weary of,
are the financing terms.
Many in the spa business do not have any idea of how there financing
So out of ignorance will give you the wrong information.
I have seen a salesperson quote monthly payments as much as $100 high and
as much as $125 low, and rates off by as much as 6 percentage points.
Another thing to watch for is where you put your signature.
I have seen a Sales Manager ask someone with a questionable credit history
to "sign a credit application to see if they could get financed, with
no obligation." Then when the couple got financed the dealer told
them the "good news" that they "Had to take the tub"
that whet they had signed was a "binding contract"
The best way to avoid this potential confusion is to finance through your
own Banking institution.
In many cases you will not only talk to someone who knows what your
payments will be, you will also get a lower finance rate.
If you are thinking about adding a deck, porch, or other improvement at
the same time speak to your lender about the possibility of a Home
Improvement loan and the potential tax benefits.
Spas that are equally equipped, with equal insulation,
and an equal cover will generally operate at equal costs. The largest
consideration when figuring you cost of operation is "how often is
the spa in use?" Most spa users will use their tub more in the first
90 days than they will at anytime afterward, due to its newness. Keeping
this in mind your first couple months electrical bill may be much higher
than your average will be. Also months that have a water change in them
can be significantly higher, due to the increased need for electricity at
the first heat up. If a dealer "guarantees" an electrical cost,
get it in writing, and also get in writing what your recourse is if it is
higher than stated. Also find out what is necessary to prove electrical
consumption by the tub. In some cases the dealer / manufacturer can ask
that you place a meter on the tub for up to one year, to find the average.
Generally speaking, higher priced tubs, will have lower
costs of operation, due to higher quality components being used in their
manufacturer. This is not always true though, so if possible get a list of
people that own similar tubs and pole them about usage and costs.
A little Math *Amps x Volts = Watts,
if you know the amperage used by an appliance and the volts that it runs
on you can figure out how many watts it takes, take this figure and
multiply it by the number of hours it will be used in a month and voila'
you know the cost to operate that appliance.
115V 2.0 HP motor
@ 3.6 amps draw
@ .10 per kWh and 8 Hrs filtration $ .3312
per day or $ 9.93 per 30 day month
So if the sales guy said "This
tub will only run you $10 a month in electricity"... he
fibbed. It is $10/month in electricity to filter, plus, the cost to heat,
plus any additional pumps, blowers, etc.
(*Actually this gives you VA or Volt amps but for this comparison the
math works well enough.
Note from a reader:
Great info regarding the power draw for circ vs main pump power draw, have
wondered that for a while as pumps always run more efficiently when they
are running underrated. One thing I will pick up on though is your
math's is slightly out - doesn't matter though because the calculations
are the same with each pump so comparatively it works out correct.
Volts times Amps on an AC system give you VA (volt amps), not watts, if it
were a dc motor then the calculation would be correct. Anything with
inductance (coils of wire) has a power factor which you multiply by the VA
to get power in watts. What happens if you were to graph the current
vs the voltage, is they are out of sync, the current lags the voltage, so
although the current peaks, the voltage may for example be only 3/4 it's
peak. An electric motor is generally taken as having a power factor
of 0.8 so for your 2.4kWhr per day it's actually 1.9kWhr per day.
Not a huge difference - but I'm just a bit anal about things like that.
Fluorescent lights are about the worst for power factor with a PF of
From the webmaster, Brandon
that was well said, better than I could do, thank you.)
Most spa warranties have exclusions for chemical damage,
sunlight damage, and other abuse situations. Some have other exclusions
regarding serviceable parts. I recommend that you read the fine print
before buying any spa. This can include lights, stereos, speakers, DVD
systems, Televisions, jets, filters, pump seals and any number of other
READ A COPY OF THE WARRANTY!
In the event that your dealer and then the Manufacturer
will not provide you with a written example of the warranty, find another
tub to buy.
Did you know that some manufacturers can ask you to pay
freight (each way) if your spa needs to be serviced at the factory? This
can add up to almost as much as a new tub, if you purchased a cheap one.
Jets are different than injectors and should not be
confused with each other or counted with each other. Some sales persons
will count them together to make the overall numbers of the spa seem
impressive. It is like saying "This car has 11 windows and
tires." Remember injectors just put air into the tub and add a little
agitation to the water, jets are where you get your massage.
Another thing to keep in mind: Number of jets and/or
injectors does not amount to a "hill of beans" if the contours
of the seats and jet placement are not right for your body.
Number of Motors;
Some times spas that are described as having "four
pumps" really have three water pumps and an air blower, and in many
instances one of the three actual pumps will be a very small circulation
pump that contributes nothing to the overall jet performance of the
hot tub. Variations of this can be said about two and three motor systems.
Ask what each of the motors does, and get it in writing. This technique of
grouping anything under the hot tub's cabinet that resembles a motor in
the "pump" category is a way of skewing the perception of
performance of the spa / hot tub. And as described elsewhere in this site,
the numbers a salesman pops at you don't mean a lot when it comes to
(did I already say this?)
There are a thousand others, if you have a
question about something a sales person has said, post your question to
the message board and I will do my best to sort it out.
Post any questions to the
message board below
and Hot Tubs FORUM
Hosted by Robert's
Do you like this page?
Do you have a website?
Please consider using the code in the box below to paste a link to this
site on yours.
about hot tubs and spas!
From Hot Tub Information Central.
The link should look
like this and will open in another window, so you don't loose your surfer.
feel free to modify it as you see fit to conform with the layout or design
of your page.
Why not make
this year fantastic!
Finally a Do it Your Self (DIY) Spa / Hot Tub That can
truly add beauty and function to your home.
click here. For Custom Built Spas .com
Go see Custom Built Spas, what I consider
to be the BEST D.I.Y. spa out there.
What have you got to lose?