The Pond Digger®
It doesn’t take a major market analysis to realize it’s harder to separate the typical POND BUYER from their money than in years past, wouldn’t you agree? The real question is: Have you taken the time to evaluate today’s pond buyer and more importantly identify their buying behaviors? Today’s typical Pond Buyer has changed.
Once you distinguish these buying behaviors it is important that you “EVOLVE” your sales approach to communicate with this specific buyer because believe it or not there is a trend here! This is incredibly difficult to do until you identify exactly who the buyer is.
Think about this. For the last decade we’ve been selling ponds, pond construction supplies, disappearing waterfalls, pond this and pond that primarily to IMPULSE BUYERS! It’s really simple and I hate to break it to you but just about anyone with a nice looking product and a pulse can sell to an Impulse Buyer! It’s not that hard to do! During the last five years, the Impulse Buyer has been around in mass.
However, today the majority of IMPULSE Buyers are in hibernation, waiting for the economy to allow them to shop again. Now I say this with all due respect! Don’t get upset if you fall into this description. I’m absolutely guilty myself of buying on impulse myself on more than ten occasions! Ask my office manager or wife, they’ll both tell you! No, I take that back. Don’t ask my office manager!
Let me get back to the point and help you profile who I believe today’s primary pond buyer is. Let’s call them – the DISCERNING Buyer. A Discerning Buyer is not quite as easy to sell as the Impulse Buyer. If you are struggling to sell a pond in today’s market there is a strong possibility your sales approach is tailored towards the Impulse Buyer! For example, do you tout about how fast you can build their pond? How fast you can build a pond is an extremely effective sales approach on an Impulse Buyer, but NOT a Discerning Buyer! Do you feel me?
The Discerning Buyer will not fall for the typical sales techniques used to sell the Impulse Buyer. The Impulse Buyer will be ready to “ink the deal” on a construction contract or walk out your store with equipment to build their own pond, way before small details are finalized. You can work those details out when you’re on the job or the do-it-yourself impulse buyer will just come back to the store with installation questions once they break ground, right!?
The Discerning Buyer on the other hand will hold ground until they have a firm grip on every single, minute detail. In fact the Discerning Buyer will 9 times out of 10 need several meetings with you before they are ready to commit.
The Discerning Buyer wants more information, proof of insurance, and more time to make a decision. The Discerning Buyer wants to understand technology options, warranty comparisons, need more explanation, more options, and more references while seeking out the most VALUE!
Money is usually not the “OBJECT” for the Discerning Buyer; VALUE is! The Discerning Buyer is smart and does research before purchasing. That research is done on the Internet. The Discerning Buyer is the consumer that has the money, resources or just packs their lunch everyday and brews their own coffee instead of going to Starbuck’s in order to save up enough money to get exactly what they want! Discerning Buyers can write you a check or pay you cash and more likely pull the money from under a mattress!
Repetition is the Mother of skill so let me remind you, The Discerning Shopper is wise, often frugal, and cautious, not necessarily RICH. They buy on VALUE, not impulse. The Impulse Shopper does not care about monthly expense and just wants a waterfall and koi pond bigger and better than the Jones‚!
The Discerning Buyer wants to know how much it will cost to run that waterfall annually and what pump options are available to save on his electric bill. Discerning buyers don’t buy vehicles based on a monthly payment. They don’t make foolish buying decisions based on emotions. They buy on (Say it with me) “VALUE”!
Do you see where I’m coming from? I know you see this happening in your market place but have you truly identified this and adapted to it, instead of complaining about it? Just what the heck are you doing about it besides blaming the economy and the President of the United States?
Most Impulse Buyers are limited to only spending money on pond supplies right now but only on the bare necessities! There is good news; the Discerning Buyer is still spending PLENTY of money on new pond construction, pond upgrades & pond supplies! Figure out the Discerning Buyer, adapt your approach and you will see your closure rate percentage on consultations jump & your overall sales will increase.
Discerning Buyer Habits
Here are five important habits of the Discerning Buyer you will need to recognize and understand in order to communicate with them effectively.
1. The Discerning Buyer RESEARCHES their purchases on the Internet.
2. The Discerning Buyer will have a lot of QUESTIONS.
3. The Discerning Buyer is incredibly PATIENT.
4. The Discerning Buyer is a THINKER.
5. The Discerning Buyer will likely get MULTIPLE BIDS.
Tips to Sell the Discerning Buyer
Once you recognize and understand the behaviors and habits of the Discerning Buyer it is imperative that you modify your sales approach and tailor to their needs to restore your sales and consultation closing rates. Here are five things you MUST do in order to sell the Discerning Buyer.
Yeah you! Research! The Discerning Buyer is researching so I suggest you do the same. You think you know enough about ponds already that you don’t need to learn more? I guarantee you will lose the Discerning Buyer if they want to talk to you about say “bottom drains” for instance and you can’t carry on a quality conversation about them. There is constantly new technology and new experiences being tossed into the scene, so stay on top of it and be proactive! From new aquatic plants to settlement tanks, Sieve Filters to UV flow rates, External pond pumps vs. Submersible pumps, water treatments and fish foods, fish grow out contests, gravity fed bottom drains and the list goes on and on!
This is HUGE. When you ask quality questions to the Discerning Buyer about their plans, goals, and expectations of their water feature it goes over really, really big. This gives them the sense you understand their need to be “In the know” and they need to be comfortable asking questions. It’s very likely the last person they spoke to about their project was short with them because they asked so many questions!
If you have closed a lot of deals selling ponds in the past you likely HAD things down to a science. The Discerning Buyer is extremely PATIENT, so closing the deal will take longer than in your past successes, sometimes over the course of several visits. Don’t be impatient and come to the conclusion that the Discerning Buyer is a tire kicker and wasting your time! They WILL buy, but you have to understand they do not rush into things like the Impulse Buyers you are accustomed to. It’s okay; don’t be too hard on yourself, now you know!
Give thought to what your sales approach is, or was, and make some adaptations to communicate effectively with the Discerning Buyer. They want VALUE and won’t fall for the LIFESTYLE sales approach! Think it over and figure out how to give them value in monthly savings on electrical, easy maintenance procedures, and other services that you may offer.
Give Multiple Bids!
Back when I was cool I would roll into a sales consultation and go off my gut, reading into the buyer just how much they budgeted towards their new water feature. I’d spend some time with them (Impulse Buyer that is) walk the yard and on the same visit then give them ONE solid bid in less than an hour! Not anymore! I give on average three bids and three different technologies to every buyer in today’s market. I figure they’ll want three bids, so why not give’em three bids!
I hope you’re up for the challenge! You can’t just sit back with your current sales strategy and wait for the Impulse Buyer to be bailed out! You need to adapt and evolve like you have been built to do! I took on the challenge of figuring out the Rubik’s Cube with my nine-year-old son over the Christmas break and had a blast doing it! Trust me when I say; The Discerning Buyer is way easier to figure out! Educate them, listen to them, inspire them and win the Discerning Buyer over.
About the Author
Eric Triplett owns and operates The Pond Digger, Waterscape Design and Construction Company, based in Redlands, California. The Pond Digger specializes in ‘Touching Peoples Lives With Water’ with ecologically friendly, low-maintenance, waterscapes for fish and aquatic plants, but more importantly, for people!