By Andrew Zeigler

Safe drinking water is critical to modern life. It is a prerequisite for all human activity – -physical, economic and cultural.

The US has one of the safest water supplies in the world, with a long history of implementing programs to provide clean and safe water. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) are examples of a work in progress to insure it remains the safest in the world.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published these interesting statistics regarding drinking water in the US:

  • There are 160,000 public water systems (PWSs)
  • 84 percent of the total population is serviced by PWSs
  • PWSs produce 51 billion gallons (193 billion liters) per day
    • 67 percent to residential
    • 33 percent to non-residential
  • PWSs obtain 63 percent of their source water from surface sources
  • There are 2.3 million miles of distribution system pipes

As a water industry professional, you can help protect your customers from the known and unknown issues facing their drinking water supply with your own Drinking Water Sales Plan.

Plan concept
Customers rely on your expertise to address their water problems. The vast majority of dealerships rely on the core products (whole-house water softening equipment) as their primary revenue source.

POU drinking water systems can also be a source of significant revenue. It has the capability of producing recurring income for years to come. With the right sales model, POU can augment the rental income many dealers have seen erode over the past years.

One only needs to look to the appliance industry to see the sales model that can be readily implemented at your dealership. In the last five years, nearly every refrigerator with ice or water through the door has had a water filter installed at the factory.

This has created a large cash flow from replacement cartridge sales to the manufacturer’s bottom line. This decision for the inclusion of water filters was made by management and not the sales force.

But the water dealer is the best-qualified and trained professional to serve the end-user. Are you ready to make a similar decision for your dealership?

Implement the program
Offer your customers a systems approach to water treatment for their home. Include a drinking system as integral part of your water quality proposal. Make sure it is one that is conveniently installed to support not only the refrigerator, but also all water-using appliances and fixtures for drinking, cooking and food preparation.

Select a drinking water system that can be included with each proposal. Offer options based upon water quality and consumer interest levels. This may include a water filter that has superior performance and is more convenient than that being used in the refrigerator today. Also offer RO as an upgrade.

Select a water filter and optional drinking water carefully. Third-party (WQA or NSF) certified systems are easier to sell and give customers the assurance they are getting the performance they want.

Stop using the TDS meter as the only measurement of water quality. DBPs like THMs, VOCs, MTBE, chlorine, chloramines, cysts and lead are the primary contaminants to PWS systems. They have no impact on the conductivity of the water.

Yet these do not register on a TDS meter. And PWSs primarily supply from surface water that tends to have low TDS levels.

In my travels, I make sales calls on a wide variety of water treatment professionals. And I am always a bit surprised when they share their water softener ratio of drinking water system sales to new customers.

Some do a great job and seem to be satisfied to reach a 50-percent+ ratio. However, most fall into the 10 to 20 percent range of drinking water systems to water softeners for new customers.

Financial impact
What does it mean to your bottom line income when you leave at least half (more often 80 percent) of your water softener customers without a drinking water system? Customers that know, trust and respect your opinion would be very receptive to learning more about the benefits of improved drinking water.

They may find one at a retail store or from a competitor. This is after you have invested heavily to create a prospect, as well as time and money making a professional presentation. But you can best compete through quality sales, service and support.

Increase your bottom line from the initial sales and more importantly create an income stream from the sales of replacement cartridges for years to come. Review your sales plan and improve these ratios and your bottom line as well as your customer satisfaction levels.

About the Author/Company
Andrew Zeigler, President of Waterline Technology, has been actively involved in the WQA and water treatment industry since 1983. Specializing in drinking water systems, Waterline Technology manufactured the first drinking water system with high flow and high performance as certified by WQA Goal Seal Program under NSF/ANSI 42/53 at 1.5 gpm (5.68 L/m). Visit www.alwaysfreshh2o.com for more information. You can contact Zeigler at (800) 522-3949 or via e-mail [email protected].

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