Ahhh Springtime!

A time for renewal and growth, the changing of the clocks, the weather, the length of daylight…

And if you happen to be a swimming pool owner…the opening of your pool.

We are opening our pool as I write this… a little early this year because we are listing our house for sale in a few weeks.

So it’s also time for some upgrades, and overhauls of pumps and electronics, to really get the pool up to speed and ready for the new owners.

With the crazy supply chain issues of the last few years, we also decided to upgrade to salt water. Chlorine (when you can get it) has quadrupled in price in the last few years.

Enter Leslie Pools.

Leslie is one of the largest pool care retailers in the U.S. They were also one of the few companies that had any capacity to handle our service work and upgrades, so we hired them to replace pumps, do the upgrades, install new heaters and switch us over to saltwater.

They promised the saltwater pool was much easier to maintain, and with a “robot” we could probably get rid of our weekly pool service and do it ourselves…

Probably mostly true… except there is a lot to getting the chemistry right in the beginning—a task we didn’t really pay attention to when we had a “pool guy”.

But now we are the “pool guy”…!!

And this is where it gets interesting…

Leslie has been pretty mediocre overall, nothing terrible, nothing great… but they do one thing that I think, as a strategy move, is absolutely brilliant, so I thought I would share:

Leslie tests your pool water for free—any time you want. Just show up with a sample at any Leslie Pool retail store and they will run a full analysis on your pool water.

Pretty cool, right?

It’s a nice value-add service. It saves us from putting in tablets and looking at colors on a chart and trying to figure out too much this, not enough that… nope they do all that for you.

In fact, you get a beautiful 3-page report complete with recommendations on what EXACTLY you need to do!

Is your pH too high??  …add this.

Oooh your potassium is low?? …add this!

Uh oh, your alkalinity is way out of whack and could damage your pump?? …you better add this ASAP!!

And guess who sells all the “this and that” from the report that you need to add?? Well, you’re in luck, we have it right here in the store!!

So here we have a retail store, about the size of a mom and pop dry cleaner, providing a “FREE” value-add service that not only drives traffic to the store, but then tells you EXACTLY what to buy, and in what quantity.

And who am I to argue that we need 4.73 gallons of muriatic acid, added 64oz at a time every 4 hours for the next 3 days?? It says it right there on the report!

And potash, and salt, and shock, and pick up a few pool toys while you are there. Oh, you want to heat your pool? Add this stuff that slows down evaporation. Oooh and look, an inflatable beer pong raftwe have to get that!

$513 and 4 visits later and we are almost there… just a little more reduction in pH, and a small rise in the parts per million of salt and we are there!!!

See you tomorrow Leslie, we’ll have a new sample for you to measure FOR FREE… hope that giant inflatable swan I’ve had my eye on is still in stock… after all, I’M A POOL GUY NOW!!

So what’s the lesson here?

Ask yourself:

What is the “free water test” in your business that:

A) adds value for your customers,

B) gets them in your “store” (or into “buying mode”), and

C) helps them understand exactly what they need, and why they need it?

I am convinced this opportunity exists in every business!!

That’s strategy


Founder of the align5 Companies,  CEO of Scaling Up Coaches, and Serial Entrepreneur

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