How to start planning for 2022 and beyond?

By Matt Sellhorst

If you’ve studied successful companies and businesspeople, you may recognize this story. Back in the earlier days of Amazon, founder Jeff Bezos shared the following when talking about how

he plans the direction for the company who at the time was focused on book sales (remember those days?): 

I very frequently get the question: “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one.

I almost never get the question: “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?”

And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want good selection.

It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, “Jeff, I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher.” “I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.” Impossible.

And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.

So, my question to you is, “what’s going to stay the same after this year?” So many people are making predictions about what’s going to change and how its going to change. Those are just guesses, no one really knows what’s going to happen, right?

We know things are going to change, however one of the wealthiest people in business may be onto something when asking the question “what’s going to stay the same?”

Here are a few of my thoughts on the matter:

1. Boat shoppers will still have lots of questions they need answered prior to making a buying decision.

Because a boat is a large purchase that isn’t done frequently, shoppers will always have many questions, questions that are often directed to your sales person right now.

How can you structure your sales and marketing messages to better address the questions that most boat shoppers will ask prior to making a buying decision?

Well thought out videos have been tools many of our clients and others in the industry have invested in, with outstanding results that will deliver year after year after year.

2. Consumers do not want to overpay for their boat.

No one wants to pay too much for anything, especially a discretionary purchase like a boat. That holds true for a $3,000 used boat, and it’s true  for a multi-million dollar yacht.

When talking price, consumers want to have confidence they are getting the best possible price on the boat they are buying. This confidence is both a belief based on the pricing conversation/negotiations and the value they actually receive in the boat and during the overall experience.

What can you do today that will ensure your clients of
tomorrow will feel they are getting the best possible price on that boat at that time?

Note, this does not mean selling a boat at such skinny margins you will go out of business or even won’t be able to take care of your clients well over the long haul. I believe it incorporates a pricing strategy that allows you to run a long-term, client-focused business and gives your clients an outstanding long-term experience.

3. To get repeat and referrals you at a minimum need to deliver what you promise your clients.

Delivering on your promise is the bare minimum to get repeat and referral business. And, because this is source of business tends to be highly profitable, it is certainly worth focusing on.

The question then is “how can you orchestrate for repeat and referral business?”

With these three areas as a starting point, what other truths can you find in your business? Truths that you can then invest in addressing that will pay off for decades.

Here’s this month’s challenge: Come up with five things that will stay exactly the same in your business in the next 10 years. Then brainstorm ways you can attack that truth to build your business and service your clients.

Matt Sellhorst is the founder of Boat Dealer Profits Marketing Agency and author of the only business-building book for the retail boating industry, “Boat Dealer Profits; How the SPLASH System can help you sell more boats, make more money and have more fun.” Claim your free copy at

One comment

  1. Best article I have read! So many dealers look into the future when what works now is so important. We still can follow the leaders and improve on what has worked now. Customer follow up I guarantee is still lacking with our new buyers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *