The water cooler. For some, it is an area that provides an escape from the desk or cubicle and to catch up with co-workers during a strenuous day. For all, it is an important piece of equipment that offers hydration and refreshment. But, for those who we spoke with for this article and throughout the industry, the water cooler is also a place, if left unattended or not modernized, that can be a source of cross contamination, injury and harmful germs and bacteria.

Sales pitches to consider

Today's water coolers and ice machines are far advanced from the bottle-type equipment and bin and scoop machines of the past (and present). Therefore, it is important to convey the right sales messages and have the leading point-of-use (POU) coolers ready to sell. And, what sales messages should your team focus on?

According to Thomas Radford, president/CEO of Alpine Coolers, health-related messages and cost issues are appropriate. For health benefits, cites Radford, water treatment dealers can continue to stress the obvious benefits of hydration and refreshment.

Selling water quality

Additionally, besides the injury risk of lifting and transporting heavy water bottles, typically only a few users or residents are capable of completing the task. Furthermore, say the experts, the quality of water dispensed from most POU coolers today exceeds that of bottled water units.

According to Don Orr, MTN Products' vice president of point of use products, some customers equate bottle water to healthy water as the only option. "The customer must understand that the quality of water [from POU coolers] is as good as bottled water's and, in some cases, better," he says.

Selling the water treatment dealer

Similar to most product categories, POU water coolers are being marketed and/or installed by sellers outside of the traditional water treatment industry, such as big-box stores and contractors, plumbers and overseas competition via the Internet. You can start to separate the water treatment dealer's skills at installation.

"Installation is key when you have a POU system," says Orr. "The risk of a leak, for example, is there and with a non-experienced installer, the risk of a leak is much higher." Orr adds that leaks can lead to numerous problems for the homeowner, ranging from damage to additional expenses.

While not sacrificing on design or sleekness, today's POU water coolers are incorporating more technology and features to alleviate contamination — interior and exterior — and assist in cost savings.