Harry Singer is a natural-born salesman and a second-generation entrepreneur. “My dad was a super sales-person and owned his own business. Everyone in my family owned a business, so it was no big deal when I started my first company at age 18. My dad owned a grocery when he was 18,” he said. “I’ve been an entrepreneur trying to monetize things since I was six years old.”
By the time he was 12, Singer was making candles and selling them on consignment at the shopping mall. Today he acknowledges, “Yes, I actually own a lot of companies.” He calls himself a ‘serial entrepreneur.’ Yet with all his diverse interests and investments, his one sustaining passion for more than 30 years is good water.
“The one thing I always understood was the concept of selling and transferring passion. I’ve never lost my passion for helping people get good water. Now instead of personally selling, I am training people all over the world,” he said.
“It is a joy and a delight to get good water. Everything changes for the better. You don’t miss the chlorine smell, the chlorine taste in your coffee. With soft water there is no bathtub ring, no soap scum. Nobody misses giving up bad water. It’s impossible not to like good water. You make friends for life. They are grateful because you helped transform their lives.” And, decades ago, Singer learned that one of the best benefits of having treated water is the joy of being able to use more natural soaps and cleaners. Hard water and natural soaps generally don’t work very well. Most name-brand cleaning products rely on harsh chemicals to overcome the hard water, so that the detergents can clean.
In 1983, Singer started as a salesman for RainSoft in Missouri. The next year he purchased his own dealership. Then something serendipitous happened to change the course of his career. “In 1986, I sold Doug and Rita Glasscock a water treatment system. He was not impressed with the soap package that was included with his purchase. Doug had a background in manufacturing soap and told me that he could make better soap. I told him if he could make the soap, I could sell it. And thus, Liquid Soap Products was founded in 1987.” They’ve manufactured environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care products ever since. The soaps are all natural and chemical free. The ingredients were selected for their sustainability and biodegradability.
“We’ve been business partners for over 30 years. It’s a pretty interesting concept: take two hyper entrepreneurs and put them in a room. They’ll see a problem, then solutions come. It’s an anomaly. You rarely see businesses last 30 years, much less with the original founding partners,” Singer said. Glasscock is President, Singer is Vice President and they have 80 employees in three locations. “Our primary objective is to have a positive impact on as many people as possible.” Today the company serves customers in almost every state and in many countries.
Liquid Soap Products offers training and consulting in a variety of areas that many water treatment dealers need. This ranges from script writing and training calls to how to properly demonstrate a water treatment system, implement more effective lead-generation and sales-management techniques and design a compensation plan that drives improved results. The company website says it provides “battle-tested, deal-closing aids” to dramatically increase sales.
Singer is the company’s motivational trainer. “We do weekly calls for a lot of our offices, 30-minute coaching calls. They are very effective. Certainly not all, but some people have life-transforming change that comes from these calls. They go from closing 20 percent to 70 percent. They become so amazing at sales, and that is very gratifying to me. That’s what wakes me up in the morning and makes me super happy.”
But how does an extroverted, natural-born salesman teach others who are not? It took probably two years for Singer to develop the techniques he uses today to teach others in the water treatment business to become highly effective sales people. “I had to take my ego out of it and admit ‘You were born with a gift. That is not replicatable. What can you do that is replicatable?’” He sees his training system like a self-defense class. “If you were a 12th degree black belt in selling, it would take years and years to develop. We don’t have the time to teach that.” So what Singer teaches is a distillation of what comes naturally to him.
“First of all, I’m an effective sales person because I believe in the message I’m communicating. Think about all of the everyday cleaners we use: they’re all full of chemicals. We’ve been spraying them everywhere, killing all the bacteria (good and bad) then wondering why people get sick with super bugs that can’t be easily treated. Drinking chlorinated water can deplete the immune system and cause inflammation, stress and lack of immunity. We only get one body. The greatest gift to it is good water and good soap.”
‘Anyway’ is an important word in Singer’s sales toolkit. People spend a lot of money on detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches and anti-static agents to soften their hard water. A study funded by the Water Quality Research Council found that consumers can cut back on laundry detergents by 50 percent and reduce dish washing soap by 70 percent when washing with soft water. Singer calls this ‘anyway money.’ The cost of a soft-water treatment system and pure soft-water soap can easily be paid for with the ‘anyway money’ that’s already in the customer’s budget for those items. “It just makes sense,” he said.
“Once you get good water you don’t go back. You will want it for the rest of your life. It’s no different than having air conditioning, a microwave, washing machine or cable TV. Nobody ever calls and complains that they miss the soap scum.”
What’s new on the horizon? “We’re about to release a product that is a probiotic cleaner. It’s all natural and fortified with probiotics. It’s better than cleaning—it creates a biome, a natural defense field on hair, hands, clothes, surfaces. It’s the next big thing in cleaning. We’re working with a local Kansas City, MO company that has a patented probiotic strain for cleaning. They’re growing it right here in Kansas City.”
Liquid Soap Products offers a variety of sales incentive packages that provide tremendous savings for customers purchasing water treatment systems. “By offering our products on a factory-direct basis we can provide an unbeatable value to the end user who has purchased a water treatment system from one of our dealers. With effective sales tools, high-quality product and knowledgeable staff, we help our industry partners tackle the tough problems together and dramatically improve closing rates.”
There have been a few major bumps on the road to their success. Singer said, “2009 was a difficult year for many companies, including Liquid Soap Products. We were faced with watching many of our water treatment dealers go out of business. With our sales down more than 40 percent, we knew that we had to reinvent ourselves to help our dealers survive. The business challenge we faced ultimately forced us to reinvent our core business model. We went from shipping pallets of soaps directly to our dealers to creating a revolutionary new soap program that allowed the consumers to order direct online. This new system allowed our dealers to preserve their much-needed cash flow by only ordering and paying for soap packages as needed.
“I believe the water treatment industry will continue to flourish over the next 10 years. Ultimately, providing excellent customer service and adding on additional revenue streams such as selling Liquid Soap’s products, filters and service plans will increase profitability and longevity. Once someone experiences the many benefits of soft water and pure soaps, it is very difficult to return to using hard water and store-brand soaps. As more people become aware of the dangers of typical household cleaners and detergents, there will be an increase in demand for natural soaps. Good water and good soap simply make more sense than hard water and chemicals. This creates a great opportunity for our liquid soap dealers for many years to come.”