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7 ‘must-dos’ this fall for a spectacular 2017

By Matt Sellhorst

Wow, another busy summer selling season in the books. I trust it was a good one for you and yet know that 2017 can be even better … if you’re willing to do the work.

One major issue dealers share with me is they just don’t get the important work done in the offseason because it is just too darn short. Well, here are seven ideas to help focus your effort to some of the most impactful and highly leveraged activity you can do this winter.

1. Create videos

Video today is so simple and easy with smartphones, YouTube and Wi-Fi that it’s an absolute must in today’s marketing world. Plus, prospects consume video more often. It engages better and is insanely impactful when done properly. Here are three videos you can do this off-season.

• Social proof videos
• Boat walkarounds (of all your inventory)
• Unique selling points video (telling the story of why someone should do business with you versus any and every other option)

2. Gather social proof

Call and/or email your happy past clients and ask them to leave a Google review or meet them and video their story. If you did an outstanding job, they will gladly help. If you did a good job or poor job, it will be tougher. If that’s the case, the No. 1 job this offseason is to focus 100 percent on improving your client experience.

3. Develop the next 12 months of newsletters

I hear time and time again that dealers just don’t have time to get it done. Take 12 days this offseason and create the monthly newsletter for each month. We all know when the boat show is going to be, 4th of July is the same date every year and 80-90 percent of the content can be prepared in advance. By creating all the content up front, you can cut the time needed for finishing touches come the busy season by filling in specific details at that time.

4. Outline your 2017 marketing calendar

Pull out three sheets of paper and write Lead Generation, Value Development/Lead Conversion and Maximizing Client Lifetime Value on the top. Then, list the dates and approximate budget for each campaign you plan on running next season: boat shows, print ads, digital campaigns, events, newsletters, email blasts, auto-responder messages. Transfer to a year-at-a-glance calendar that can be adjusted as needed as the season progresses. Not only will you be much more efficient and strategic in your spending than by winging it another year but the same process used year over year will allow for a higher level of success each season.

5. Get trained

I believe every salesperson (and everyone in your dealership who comes in contact with a prospect or client is a salesperson) should get some level of training. It could be sales training, leadership training, mechanical training, manufacturer training or even physical training to prepare for the upcoming season.

6. Get coached

Depending on the areas of your business that are in need of the most improvement, you’ll want to select the right coach. A coach is someone who not only can show you in a simple way (notice I didn’t say easy) but also hold you accountable to implement the systems you developed together.

7. Create repeatable systems

One of the most valuable tasks you can complete this offseason is to create repeatable systems throughout your business:  Checklists for cleaning the dealership (yes, that’s a sales and marketing function), setting up email templates for common email responses (new leads, financing leads, event sign-ups, manufacturer leads, etc) and impactful, relationship focused auto-responders.

These systems can take some time to create and set up. However, the end result is a more consistent result that can be improved over time.  The efficiency, higher quality and consistency will surely make future years more successful. All this adds up to a spectacular 2017 and beyond!

Now, for this month’s challenge. Pick two or three of these areas and make a concrete plan on how you plan to attack them this off-season. List the dates of starting and completion, the responsible party and the desired end result in 2017 results. If you’d like, email me at Matt@BoatDealerProfits.com your plans and I’ll personally touch base to ensure you completed your challenge and I can send you an example email template and a checklist for cleaning your dealership.

For more detailed how-tos, visit www.BoatingIndustry.com/mattsellhorst

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