As published on Boating Industry


You have a sales and marketing system in place today.  The question is, is it as efficient and profitable as it could be?  Whether you have a mis-mash of various components and strategies that are producing sporadic and unpredictable results or you have a well-oiled system that churns out high margin boat sales like clockwork, here are 7 components that will help you make your marketing budget and sales efforts even more profitable.

  • Lead Generation: The start of a profitable sales and marketing system begins with a consistent flow of quality leads.  Creating a proven strategy to generate leads from a number of profitable sources is a much more stable approach than just hoping they walk in the dealership or inquire about a specific piece of inventory.  Understanding the Educational Spectrum of a Boat Buyer that you’ve discovered in previous articles can be important concept in this component.
  • 24/7 Selling Machine: Once a lead is created, what happens next can determine if your dealership is highly profitable or just getting by.  Some keys to an efficient and productive 24/7 Selling Machine is to have multiple touches over a long period of time.  Incorporating automation where it make sense, one-to-many communication tools like e-zines and boat previews and an easy to use Customer Relationship Management(CRM) system are just a few of the tools that will dramatically improve results.
  • Value Building Sales Tools: Not only does the 24/7 Selling Machine help you keep in front of your perfect prospects early and often with relevant and valuable contacts but it also includes value building tools designed to give a persuasive sales pitch to each and every prospect.  If you design these tools to deliver a persuasive sales message even if your sales person has an off day, you are on the right track.  A few tools I recommend are, a preponderance of social proof/testimonials, a video sales message, persuasive sales stories, your Unique Selling Points (USP’s) and a shock and awe package.
  • Engagement with Your Sales Person: Each step in the 24/7 Selling Machine drives the prospect to engage with your sales team in some form or fashion.  So, submitting a form online, emailing, calling the dealership and driving directly into the show room with a set appointment.  But, the goal of all follow-up communication and value building sales tools are to drive a highly pre-positioned and less price sensitive prospect to engage with your sales person so they can do what they do best, sell nose to nose, toes to toes with a ‘Now Buyer’.
  • Sales Framework: Every sales person has a sales framework they work within.  The question is, is that framework designed to convert a large number of prospects into high margin boat sales… or, is it designed to help the sales person avoid the important parts of the sales process that they don’t like or that they think is unproductive.
  • A productive framework consists of a Greeting, Interview, $1,000 presentation, Areas of Concern, Trial Close, Close, Offer F&I Products and WOW Delivery. When orchestrated in advance with your dealerships value propositions in mind, the results can be astounding.  The two portions I see skipped a majority of the time when mystery shopping is the interview phase and asking for the sale.
  • WOW Experience: One of the keys to a sales and marketing system is to deliver a WOW experience during the entire process.  Doing a few little things that really stand out in the prospects and clients mind as different and positively unexpected.  That WOW factor is especially important during the delivery process and the 6 month’s following delivery.  This WOW experience is the first step into the Relationship Selling Machine.
  • Relationship Selling System: Just like the 24/7 Selling Machine is designed to generate appointments for your sales team to sell a boat.  The Relationship Selling Machine is designed to drive clients to engage your dealership staff so they can sell other products and services that will enhance your clients boating lifestyle.  As well as drive more repeat and referral business for additional boat sales.

This relationship selling machine includes; monthly e-zines, events, personal phone calls, emails and unexpected gifts.

  • Proven Strategies & Systems: As you can see, each step leads into the next and all are connected via a cohesive strategy and can be made highly efficient with profitable systems.  There is work involved, however when the strategies and systems are all integrated, the end result can truly revolutionize your boat business.

This month’s challenge should you choose to accept it… on a sheet of paper, draw out your sales and marketing system.  From lead generation, to your 24/7 selling machine, to value building tools, engagement with sales staff, thru maximizing the lifetime value of a client.

If you fax me a copy, I’ll send you a free copy of my latest book; “Boat Dealer Profits” and companion video that outlines the complete SPLASH System™ so you can model if for the 2018 selling season.

Matt Sellhorst is the creator of the SPLASH System™ and committed to helping honest and ethical boat dealers, manufacturers and brokers; sell more boats, make more money and have more fun.  He is the author of two industry books; “Boat Dealer Profits: How the SPLASH System™ can help you sell more boats, make more money and have more fun” and “Marine Marketing Strategies”.  Sellhorst is also host of the Boat Dealer Profits PodCast and Boat Dealer Profits TV channel.  For more articles, videos, webinars packed with tips, tricks and tactics visit