Welcome back to part two of How to add an extra $50,000 to your bottom line this offseason. Last week in part one, we did some math of how easy it is to lose $50,000 or more each year and what making the changes can mean for your boat business.

Now, even if your math is just half of my example, that’s still $50,000 lost in a single year. But, more importantly, how do you stop the bleeding and put that money in your pocket and boost your bottom line … with some smart and strategic work this offseason.

We covered the discounting hole last time, so let’s dig into the “Lost Sales” today. The reasons vary but here are some common reasons for lost sales:

  • Not enough quality prospects to sell
  • Poor lead capturing focus
  • Poor sales skills
  • Poor closing skills (or lack of asking for the sale)
  • Poor follow-up skills
  • A sales prevention department
  • Poor reputation in the market
  • Poor value proposition to the market place (aka, you don’t deserve to sell more boats)


Problem – Not Enough Quality Prospects to Sell

Solution – Go out and get quality prospects with proven and profitable means. Seriously, I talk to so many dealers that say this is their issue, yet they haven’t proactively tried to solve it. I know you don’t want to waste money on “marketing and advertising” because of the poor results you’ve had in the past. And, traditional media just isn’t working the way it used to, so let me give you a few suggestions that do work in today’s environment.

  • Online Video Marketing – For virtually zero cost to you (if you have a smart phone and data plan) you can start driving new leads within 48 hours. I know this because I’ve had numerous clients do exactly that. For more details, check out this free training
  • Educational Marketing – Again, a virtually free strategy that’s virtually non-existent in the boating industry but works amazingly well. Create a simple report for the types of boat buyers you want to attract; “Insider Secrets to Buying a $75,000 to $100,000 Triple Engine Tri-Toon” The more targeted and specific the better your response will be. Then, list this report in all of your online boat listing descriptions (your site, boat trade, craigslist), on your website, in your ads, at your boat show, in your showroom, in your newsletter and anywhere else your prospects eye balls may be. When you create several of these “lead magnets” you open more doors for potential prospects to find your business… and for your sales staff to begin following up (see The Educational Spectrum of a Boat Buyer to learn more).

Problem – Poor Lead Capturing Focus

Solution – Put a focus on capturing leads at every opportunity. Often what first looks like a lead flow problem is just a lack of capturing potential prospects throughout the business. Sales people are not capturing name, phone, email and address at a minimum from every single person they talk to.

But, there are others as well. Phone calls for parts, service, accessories, boat rentals, registration questions. Basically, anytime someone touches your business, every single person in your organization should be trained and expected to capture their name, phone, email and address. Then, those prospects go into your CRM or data base.

Problem – Poor Sales Skills & Poor Closing Skills

Solution – Demand your sales team participate in a sales training program and utilize what they learn. To me, it’s pretty simple. If you need to improve in an area of business, seek out someone to teach you how to do it the right way. Someone who has a system you can follow and then follow it.

Problem – Poor Follow-Up Systems/Skills

Solution – During my mystery shopping experience all over the world, this is probably the biggest weakness in the entire industry. Dealers, brokers and manufacturers almost all fail in the area of meaningful follow-up over an extended period of time.

Let’s talk extended follow-up first. To me, extended follow-up should continue until the prospect asks you to stop. I know what you’re thinking… “You’ll turn off your prospects if you pound them over the head with follow-up.”

Well, that leads me to meaningful follow-up. If you provide meaningful follow-up that strives to build a relationship, educate, entertain and does some selling, those prospects who are truly interested buyers will actually appreciate your efforts.

Here’s a quick exercise for you. Spot check 10 leads from 12 months ago and on a sheet of paper, write down the number of contacts they’ve received in the past year. In my boot camps, this exercise typically reveals three to seven contacts over a five to nine week period.

Now, look at the quality of those follow-ups. Did they help build the relationship? Did they educate? Did they entertain? Or, did they just SELL – SELL – SELL? This offseason, focus on building a systematic follow-up program that is meaningful and you’ll surely convert prospects you’re currently missing.

There is plenty for you to chew on here, and we’ll tackle the rest in Part Three next week.

But, if you’d like to learn more about “How to Add $50K (or more) to Your Bottom Line This Off-Season” you may want to check out this free webinar at

Matt Sellhorst is the author of the book “Marine Marketing Strategies” and Head Profits Coach at Boat Dealer Profits. Sellhorst was also the winner of the MDCE Best Ideas Contest, Boating Industry’s Movers and Shakers Bold Moves award, a top producing boat salesman, and a speaker and presenter at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. He now helps dealers, brokers and manufacturers sell more boats with proven sales and marketing systems.

To receive a free copy of his book, visit  to receive instant access (and your special bonus training). For manufacturers interested in working with Matt to improve their marketing strategy, you can request more info at