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Why you are losing boat sales and discounting unnecessarily 

By Matt Sellhorst

Wow, that’s a pretty bold headline for a sales and marketing article, don’t you think? Once you get over the shock and outrage of it all, you’ll likely have one of three responses.

1. Denial … “We are getting our share of the sales and well, people are just too price sensitive these days. No one is holding margin like they used to.”

2. Blame the competition … “The dang people down the street are doing this, that and the other, wreaking havoc in our market area.”

3. Take responsibility … “You know what, if we could improve in just a few areas, I know we’d sell more boats, make more money and likely have more fun!”

If your answer falls in line with No. 3, you’re really going to enjoy this article. If it was closer to No. 1 or No. 2, keep reading but keep an open mind. You may find the ideas enlightening.

Taking responsibility allows you to dial in on areas with the largest impact on your results. Let me help you do that here and now.

I find when working with dealers that breaking the steps down into component parts zooms in on the areas that are low hanging bananas to boost success.

Rate yourself in these areas, where 1 is “Totally False” and 5 is “Absolutely True”:

 

Lead generation – 1     2     3     4     5

“We have a consistent flow of quality leads for our entire sales team throughout the season driven from a variety of lead sources both online and offline, including repeat and referral business.”

 

Lead conversion – 1     2     3     4     5

“Once we generate a lead, we systematically follow up developing a relationship, building value in our products/service and moving them down the ‘Educational Spectrum of a Boat Buyer’ giving us the best possible chance to sell a boat without discounting.”

 

Value building – 1     2     3     4     5

“During our follow-up process and sales presentation, we utilize systems and tools to help prove tremendous value and differentiate ourselves and our products from the competition so our prospect is certain that buying from us is the absolute right choice.”

 

Sales skills – 1     2     3     4     5

“Each salesperson (rank individually) has a command of our sales process and utilizes the framework with each and every prospect without exception (including always capturing contact info, diagnosis/interview, interactive presentation, trial close questions, asking for the sale and presenting price properly) delivering a consistent and memorable research/buying experience for all our future boat buyers.”

 

Negotiations/handling price – 1     2     3     4     5

“Each salesperson consistently builds value in their price presentation and understands that their beliefs about price have more impact on the final margins than the buyers negotiating skills.”

 

Providing an exceptional experience – 1     2     3     4     5

“You, your sales staff and entire dealership provide a research, buying and ownership experience that is superior to your
competition.”

 

You did an honest evaluation on each statement, right? Fantastic, you are now armed with a priority list of what to tackle first, second and third.

Here’s the exciting part: Your efforts will now be more focused and your work more efficient as you improve the specific part that can deliver the largest impact on your success for next season.

Now, for this month’s challenge: Focus on the two or three components with the lowest score and develop a step-by-step plan to improve. List the steps you will take, resources that can help you get there faster and team members who can help. Then, get to work.

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