MattLast week we covered how to identify your target market and get them to raise their hand so you could guide them down the Educational Spectrum of a Boat Buyer.

During the third step, Educate and Motivate, we discussed ways to automate that process so it wasn’t all manual effort by your sales team. Now, let’s look at how you can more easily convert that lead to a higher margin boat sale in the next three steps:

The 7 Steps to a More Profitable Business Building System:

  1. Determine Specifically Who You Are Going to Serve
  2. Get the Most Qualified Prospects within that Segment to Identify Themselves to You
  3. Educate and Motivate Those Who Have Raised Their Hand
  4. Make a Compelling Offer to Get Them Moving Forward
  5. Deliver a Dream Come True Experience from Your Clients Perspective
  6. Wow Them After the Sale
  7. Focus on Maximizing The Life Time Customer Value

Bonus Step: Orchestrate Referrals

Step #4 – Make a Compelling Offer to Get Them Moving Forward

Let’s talk about the word ‘offer’ for a moment, can we?

The first thing that pops into most people’s minds is a “Buy One Get One Free” type offer or a “$10 off” offer. But, I want to come at this from a little different angle here. Together, let’s take a step back from selling a boat at this point to selling the next stage in our prospects buying cycle.

We’ll start by assuming our prospect has not yet walked into our boat business at this point. (And, let’s be honest, 90 percent plus of our prospects start down the Educational Spectrum of a Boat Buyer without getting face to face with your sales staff.)

So, consider the sale at this point to attract those prospects to engage with your boat business on a more personal level. Is there an offer you could make that would entice them to visit your showroom to allow your sales staff to do what your sales staff does best?

Step into the shoes of your prospect for a moment. They’ve been thinking about buying a boat for a few weeks, months or even years. They’ve been researching online a ton. Visiting, Boat Test, Manufacturer and dealer websites, watching videos, talking with their boating friends, reading blog posts, online reviews and talking in chat rooms like The Hull Truth.

Clearly they have a certain level of interest in boating. Likely would love to own a boat. So, why haven’t they walked into your showroom?

The answer: They are terrified of salespeople. They are scared they’ll actually buy a boat. They are fearful about what their friends, family and neighbors will think if they buy a boat. They are petrified of making a mistake. And they are busy, successful people. They work 50 to 60 hours a week, travel for business, have two soccer games every weekend, yard work to do and 99 other things on their to-do list. 

And shopping for a boat is not the most pressing thing going on in their lives, even if they are 100 percent serious about buying one.

So, even though they really want to buy a boat, they are busy and fearful. The level of fear varies but it’s there for almost every prospect.

Now, with that insight, what kind of offer could you make to get that interested prospect into your showroom?

It will vary from boat business to boat business but if you can answer that question; you have a pretty good chance of attracting more qualified boat buyers thru your front door. Especially if you’ve already educated them in Step No. 3.

Step #5: Deliver a Dream Come True Experience from Your Client’s Perspective

At this point, you’ve delivered a more highly educated (and positioned) boat buyer to your sales team. So, at this stage of the game, what can you do to deliver a “Dream Come True” for your prospects.

And, don’t just consider the delivery of the boat. What would a perfect boat buying experience look like from the moment prospects walk in your door for the first time until they’ve taken delivery of their boat?

Break each part of the buying process down into several segments.

  • The first impressions
  • The greeting
  • The shopping
  • The buying
  • The negotiation
  • The follow-up
  • The demo
  • The delivery

Take a sheet of paper for each of these eight segments and draw a vertical line down the center of the page. On one side, write “Dream” and the other write “Nightmare.” Then, take 20 minutes on each page until you have a good list for each.

How close to a “Dream Come True” do you actually deliver? Do you deliver any “Nightmares?”

Your job is to continue to improve your prospects’ buying experience until you can deliver as systematically as possible a “Dream Come True” to every single prospect that comes through your sales funnel. The answer may require just a few tweaks, a more structured system or making some major changes to the way you do business.

Now, before you say… “But Matt, we are only a small dealership. We are understaffed. We don’t have the time to do all this.” Let me ask you this: Are you happy with the money you are making? Are you happy with the way your boat business runs? Are you happy with the clients you attract to your boat business?

If the answer is yes, then you don’t need to do a thing. But, if you answered, “No, I’m not totally happy with my business,” then maybe stepping out of your comfort zone and developing a “Dream Come True” experience for your prospects is worth the extra time and effort to bring about the change needed in your business.

And, by the way, don’t your clients deserve it?

Step #6 – Wow Them After the Sale

Once you’ve delivered a “Dream Come True” experience during the client conversion step, it’s time to dial up that experience even more. What could you do for your clients within the first 15 days of boat ownership that would totally “wow” them?

This is important … this step comes after they’ve taken delivery. The timing of this is important, it should take place about a week or two after they’ve taken delivery. That excitement is still in the air, they are telling everyone about their new boat and how amazing your boat business was to work with. It is the perfect time to really wow them.

Now, they’ve already given you the check so they don’t really expect anything more from you other than exceptional service at this point, right. But, what if you were to do something totally unexpected for them.

Send them flowers, a framed picture of them at delivery, a gift certificate to your ship store or anything else that would make your client say … “Wow, that was terrific!”

It doesn’t have to be expensive, just unexpected and a genuine gift of thanks.

This token of your appreciation then sets the stage for the final step, Maximizing Life-Time Value of a Client. And, we’ll dive head first into this final and oh-so important step next week.

In the meantime, leave a question or comment below. I will try to respond to each individually.

And, don’t forget to hit the share button to share with your network on FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Matt Sellhorst is the author of Marine Marketing Strategies and a speaker at industry events including Marine Dealer Conference & Expo and Marine Retail University. After developing systems that propelled him to top producer status at a six-location dealership, Sellhorst now coaches and consults with boat dealers, brokers and manufactures to sell more boats with less price resistance without wasting time or money on marketing schemes that flat out don’t work.