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Recipe for Grilled Salmon Steaks


Swiss GrillIf you are considering a grill demo to promote your barbecues this season, you will want to keep a few tips in mind. In an earlier post, How to Grill: Giving a Great Grill Demo, we talked about 5 tactics to keep in mind during your planning and grilling stages. Within those tactics there was a suggestion to grill what you know. 

It is also a great idea to keep your demonstration simple; the fewer the ingredients the easier it will be for your audience to follow what you are doing, and the better the chances you will be able to pull of the great grill demo without any difficulties. 

Using a marinade will undoubtedly offer incredible flavor, and it also means that you can do a significant portion of the prep work before hand. However, since meat needs time to soak up the goodness of the marinade, it takes away from part of the entertainment value of the grill demonstration.

If you are a great show man or show woman, you may want to consider using a basting sauce instead. If it is simple - 5 - 7 ingredients or less - it will give you time to work the room while you are whipping it up.

Here is a recipe for grilled salmon steak that is simple and clean with just bit of kick to keep your tasters talking!


Basting Sauce

  • 1/2 cup margarine

  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

  • 3 dashes dill

  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice

  • 4 cups brown sugar


Mix together. The sauce should be the consistency of pancake batter.

Put salmon steaks on grill or in special holder for grilling. Grill to desired doneness, basting often with sauce. Serve with extra sauce. Recipe can be reduced for a smaller amount. 

Often, the secret to an amazingly grilled piece of meat is in the marinade or rub. If you’d like a few more suggestions, you may be interested in a bit of further reading. Ralph Miller of Mid America Sales wrote a very handy white paper titled “Ralph’s Recipe for a Great Cookout.” 

Product Bundling and Your Sales Strategy


Retailers are always looking for smart ways to increase their sales. You have probably spent countless hours going over your sales strategy to find a way to increase your profits without risking your customer relationships.

The secret you may be looking for is product bundling.

Whether or not you know it, you are familiar with the concept and have undoubtedly been a hapless victim of this sales strategy - to your extreme pleasure, I am sure. There are some huge companies that bundle the right way: with their customers’ experience first and foremost in their minds, and the increased padding to their bottom line as a welcome by-product.

Perhaps you bundle your cable, phone and internet into one package to enjoy the lowest monthly bill. Maybe the last time you were at a fast food restaurant you added fries and a drink to your burger. These are instances of product bundling that are incredibly common to our shopping experience, and we, as consumers, find them helpful.

The trick is to find a way as retailers to use this sales strategy to your best advantage.

Product bundling is the art of offering several products in one combined package. For best results, this package should be helpful and beneficial to your customers, and it should also help you increase the number of items per sale.

There are a few different ways you can approach this sales strategy. You can offer a bundle with products that are not available for sale otherwise. This is called pure bundling, and there are unique risks and benefits to this technique. A benefit would be that if your customer really wants to buy something that happens to only be available in the bundle, they will end up buying more than what they came for simply to have that one product. The coinciding risk is that if they really don’t want the other items in the bundle, they may simply take their business elsewhere. 

Unless you are very certain of your sales strategy and ability to pitch a pure bundle, you may have more success with mixed bundling. A mixed bundle gives your customer the option of either buying the complete package or buying the individual items separately.

AutoPilot Salt Chlorine GeneratorProduct bundling works best with items that complement each other. For example, if you  are promoting a salt chlorine generator, you may consider bundling it with products that protect a pool or spa from erosion or discoloration. In fact, this might be a case where you would want to force a pure bundle - if you believe very strongly that one product should never be purchased without another, than package them together and make sure your customers understands why they need to be purchased together. 

Another related sales strategy would be to bundle higher ticket items with lower priced items that will enhance the enjoyment of the major purchase. When you sell a winter cover, bundle it with a pool cover pump for easy removal come spring time. 

Finally, you can use product bundling to increase sales of upgrades. For example, if you have a customer who is looking for a new pool liner, you can give them a few options. They can buy the generic liner that everyone on their street has, or they can upgrade to the luxury pool liner that will set them apart from all their neighbors. While the luxury liner may be a more expensive investment, if you have a bundle one special they may walk away with discounted grill or fire feature, and a free estimate to have a safety cover measured for their swimming pool.

If you need a few more ideas on products that will bundle well together, you might enjoy reading our free eBook: 5 Ways Complementary Products can Increase Your Sales.

How to Grill: Giving a Great Grill Demo

Barbecues and grills are a summer staple, and a common sales item within the Pool, Spa and Patio industry. While a good portion of your grills will sell themselves, if you really want to clear out your BBQ inventory and amp up your sales, giving a great grill demo can be one of your best sales strategies.

In order to be successful though, you need to know how to grill. If you can’t show off the features of your preferred grill to absolute perfection, how can  you expect the average backyard chef to be inspired?

Giving a great grill demo doesn’t have to be overly intimidating. Here are 5 tactics to keep in mind during your planning and grilling stages. 
  1. Primo GrillKnow your grill.
    The first thing you have to do is get to know the equipment you will be using. When it comes to the demonstration, if you want to wow your audience with ease of use you need to be able to make it look easy. If your grill has high end features, you need to be able to show how they will make life immeasurably more pleasurable for your customers. The absolutely worst thing that could happen when you try to teach a how to grill session is to look clumsy our out of your element. In this situation, you are the expert and if you can’t handle it, you can’t sell it.
  2. Grill what you know how to grill.
    If all you can cook is a hot dog, than cook a hot dog. If you know how to make the perfect , melt in your mouth steak, make that. If your grandmother’s burger recipe wins the state fair every year, use it to your advantage. In the end, it won’t really matter what you are cooking, as long as you can make it look effortless and amazing. If you aren’t any good on the grill, it may be time to either take some lessons or share the spotlight. It is more important to do a great grill demo that it is to brand your personal image. It is also a good idea to keep your audience in mind. If you know that your demonstration will attract families, keep the food simple. Hot dogs are a universal favorite of kids. On the other hand if your audience resembles a attendees of a UFC match, it might be time to crank up the fire, pull out your steak brands and grill up something juicy. For a ladies only demonstration, or a mixed audience, try some veggie skewers or other types food from the earth. Know your market, and learn to grill accordingly.
  3. Don’t hide your masterpiece.
    A great grill demo is not meant to be a free gourmet meal for your customers. Don’t hide the elegance of the main event behind condiments and sides, and don’t eat your profits by providing an all you can eat smorgasbord. Have a sous chef cut up sample sized tasters for your audience and don’t let them hide the great flavor with outside sauces and condiments.
  4. Learn from the professionals.
    Before you try to give a great grill demo, take an afternoon to watch some Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsey grilling videos on YouTube or the Food Network. These guys are the professionals’ professional. They give great tips and trade secrets away all the time, you just need to listen for them. For example, if you dimple the center of each burger you grill, it will cook more evenly. Also, even through lean fat burgers are trending right now, when you are teaching your customers how to grill, never use hamburger mean that is less than 80/20 lean to fat ratio. You need to maximize the flavor in each mouthful you hand out, and a little bit of fat helps achieve that.
  5. Stay clean and stay safe.
    This is perhaps the most important point. Make sure that absolutely ever step of the way you follow safe food-handling practices. Use service gloves; wash your surfaces repeatedly throughout the demonstration; store your food in proper conditions before and after cooking. Food poisoning is not a great way to sell more barbeques. Neither is having to send yourself or an assistant to the emergency room for burn treatments, so again - know your equipment!
If you’ve found these tips for giving a great grill demo helpful, you may be interested in a bit of further reading. Ralph Miller of Mid America Sales wrote a very handy white paper titled “Ralph’s Recipe for a Great Cookout.

What is Merchandising?


Merchandising, for retailers like yourself, is simply displaying the products that you have available for sale. Best practices can be put to use to make sure that they way you are merchandising is appealing enough for your customers that it encourages them to actually purchase the items you have for sale. 

Visual merchandising takes the concept one step further and assumes that you are displaying your products in a visually appealing manner. There are many ways to accomplish this, but most retail stores will use a combination of factors, such as: product features, design or packaging, pricing, and availability, to name a few. 

Brand AquaCalIdeally, you would like your store layout to make sense for your customers, so it is often a retailer’s first instinct to merchandise related products near by each other; for example, all of your heat pumps will be sitting next to each other.

Interestingly enough, however, this practice is not always the best for your bottom line. Sometimes, two or more products that are similar to each other will sell much more effectively if they are not displayed side by side. 

One easy example might be for items on sale. Perhaps you have some heat pumps left over from last years inventory, and you would like to clear them out before selling your new 2013 heat pumps. It makes sense, then, to feature these heat pumps by setting them apart from the others, in an area that has a bit more room for signage, experiences higher foot traffic, or is closer to your sales team for quick customer support. 

Another reason you may want to get creative in your visual merchandising would be if you cater to different target markets. Perhaps you have three distinct audiences: above ground pool owners, in ground pool owners, and backyard enthusiasts that don’t have swimming pools. 

Under these circumstances, it would make sense to create your merchandising layout based on your consumer demographics. You may know that your above ground pool owners have a lower budget than your in ground pool owners, and therefore you can display the heat pumps with the appropriate price point for each market. For the backyard enthusiasts, you may simply want to plant the idea of having a pool installed, so you would have a small counter or section of wall space promoting the pools you recommend and assuring them that, with a heat pump, pool ownership doesn’t have to be a huge monthly financial commitment.

One final reason you may want to reassess your visual merchandising plan is to utilize the selling power of complementary products. Quite often, once a consumer has made the decision to purchase an item, they are more willing to consider adding to their shopping cart if the additional purchases make sense with their original item. For example, if one of your customers decides to invest in a heat pump, they will want to make sure that they have everything they need to make that heat pump as effective as possible. If you happen to have a liquid pool cover sitting next to that heat pump, they are more likely to add it to their shopping cart because they can immediately see the connection between the two. 

If you would like some more ideas on how to use complementary products to increase your sales, you might enjoy reading our free eBook: 5 Ways Complementary Products can Increase Your Sales.

Every Backyard Needs a Fire Feature


Since the dawn of time fires have been used as a gathering tool to bring families and communities together. Sitting around or near a fire brings warmth and comfort to the people around it and is said to strengthen the bond of those sharing the fire.

Thanks to the technology at Grand Effects your clients can have this enjoyment, conveniently in their own backyard.

It doesn't matter if you are working with an enormous and elaborate backyard with a huge beautiful pool, or if it's a quaint space with a patio; there is a fire feature for everyone at Grand Effects.

Fire Features range from extensive 10 ft linear fire inserts to custom fire bowl inserts that will wonderfully suit every customers needs.

Tiki torches and wall torches are also magnificent additions to any backyard.

Grand Effects water and fire feature

As well as gorgeous conversation pieces, the fire features at Grand Elements can be controlled remotely.

Just imagine your client having a get together with their closest friends...

Her, at a dinner party with friends: “Beautiful, isn't they? Just a little Grand Effect I had my landscape designer put in to make the space more inviting.”

Him, showing off his new man-toy: “You gotta check out my new fire feature from Grand Effects! I can control the fire with a remote - watch this!”

Grand Effects Fire and Water Elements have a Fire Feature for everyone, there is no reason why any backyard should be without.

2013 Trends in Casual Patio Furniture


Welcome summer to your clients' homes with beautiful, lasting outdoor patio furniture from the Windward Design Group.

A yard and patio should feel like an extension of the home. Trends and styles today make that easier than ever.

It doesn't matter if you're working with a big yard or a small one, patio or no patio, there are many trendy pieces to choose from that will work with any outdoor space.

Palmer Wicker Corner LoungeToday's consumers are looking for cushions, cushions and more cushions! Cushions and pillows come in a vast array of fabrics, designs and textures. Whether big or small in physical size, cushions should always be comfortable and visually appealing, making any outdoor space welcoming and relaxing for guests. You can even mix and match your choices of fabric or texture, and if your client changes their taste next season, simply change the design.

Once cushions and pillows are taken care of, the question becomes what to put them on?

Wicker is timeless. Windward Design Group has many options in beautiful, lasting wicker furniture. Wicker of today is not the same as the daunting furniture you remember from your grandparent's houses when you were a kid. Much progress has been made to protect us from the itches and scratches of yesteryear’s chairs!

Trendier than ever, wicker furniture comes is many shapes and sizes and can fit any lifestyle.

The Windward Design Group has the casual patio furniture options for patio and yard decor to keep clients on track with today's trends and the trends of tomorrow. They also offer many contract solutions for hospitality, resorts, restaurants, housing associations, clubs and so much more.

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