Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Just for FUN: How NOT to Sell a Pool

Several months ago I put this video together, mostly to test a new tiny video camera I had bought for Skype calls, but also to deliver a John Spence “Rant” on terrible sales technique! I hope you’ll enjoy this short video — and find value in the sales advice I offer at the end.

My next blog will be a very important piece on the need for Disciplined Execution!

Hope this video gave you a little laugh with some solid sales advice. Take good care – John


  1. As a resident of Gainesville, when is the kick-off pool party? 2010? 2011?

  2. Great story, John, and reminder on what is truly important. It is all about what the customer is wanting not what we think they want. Great video.

  3. John:
    good video. I unfortunately had the same experience recently while shopping for a new car. Salesperson was not listening to my wife and I as we were telling him what we were interested in buying. He was only interested in selling us what he wanted to sell. As it turns out he also made comments to us that were sexist, ageist, insulting about the trade in’s value, my apparent lack of knowledge about the price of cars now-a-days and how they had to make some money. Needless to say, we did not buy a car that day from that dealership. Think how much business folks could do if they only listened to their customers.

    • johnspen says:

      The last sentence of your comment is priceless!!!!! “Think how much business folks could do if they only listened to their customers.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

  4. John Kichton says:

    Great John! As always, you hit the proverbial nail on the head. I would like to add; Once you have met your clients needs, remember there is always the opportunity to up-sell. With the basics covered in all areas required, you can also bring with you an options list. For example, perhaps the buyer wanted pebble- tek and once you show them the price, you can also offer tile. One light, 3 lights, lights that change color with your mood. Many times in my past I have come up with a complete package for a prospective client, and found with a little explaining left with more money in my pocket! Boats, cars, airplanes or pools, it’s all the same. Fill their needs, and see if there is something they either missed or thought they could not afford. A true salesperson will always fulfill the customers needs, and also give them the option to upgrade. The true skill is doing so without making them feel pressured into buying “your pool”.

    • johnspen says:

      Superb advice — I have very often bought additional or upgraded items — once I TRUSTED the sales person and felt that they were making suggestions that would truly enhance my purchasing and owning experience. Customers do not always know what they really want — or event what is possible — so solid up-selling skills benefit the seller AND the buyer! Thanks for the comment John!

  5. John,
    great video thanks.
    what always is an anonomly to me is just how many sales people are trapped into this way of thinking and selling. Is is a personality trait of the people or just poor training , coaching and company metrics driving the wrong behavior

  6. Paula James says:


    Your right on the money! A great salesperson is one who has mastered the ability to listen prior to speaking. I will admit that more times than not sales people make hasty decisions and turn us off as consumers. I really have enjoyed learning about my clients interests before making a informed sales presentation. The wonderful part about selling ranchs and recreational properties , you find that your client shares your love for the outdoors and have fishing, hunting and nature in common with you. Truly enjoy your site and keep up the good work!

  7. Brian Martin says:

    Great video John – My sales team will definitely see this video Monday morning at our weekly meeting. Asking superb questions and listening… a lot easier said than done but when you do it, great things happen!

    • johnspen says:

      You Da Man Brian!!!! — miss you my friend — hope you and all are doing superb!!!!

  8. Great video man….You just put your matter in a very effective way to make any to understand with a fun also…waiting for your next post….

  9. John – great video! Thanks for sharing – once, again, I am going to have to SHARE THE WEALTH! 🙂 You are truly an asset to the business community!


  10. Tom Cyriac says:

    As always, excellent message! I had a similar situation recently where a sales person, made me walk away from a refinancing deal. Your closing comment “Think how much business folks could do if they only listened to their customers.” is very true. Thank you for your insight!

  11. So, John, did you get the pool? Kidding. For your next video rant, talk about how that guy’s boss should train him to do it right. NOT formal sales training but the best strategy to a boss to re-program a good person to be successful. I am dealing with that and I am frustrated that the only way to fix stubborn people may be to remove them. Costly decision.

  12. Great Blog! I just came across your information – Chris Brogan tweeted an article you wrote. Awesome stuff!