A few random thoughts as fall approaches

By Matt Sellhorst

With summer winding down, school back in session and so on many of us are getting back to more “normal routines.” Hopefully we are getting back to a more normal life all the way around, because these past 18 months I know I’ve felt out of sorts at times.

Maybe you can relate, if you’ve had the chance to slow down even a little during that time. To embrace that odd feeling, I’m going to share a few random thoughts I hope you can pull value from:

1. It’s easy to pick up bad habits and hard to lock in good ones.  With the increased demand in the industry, remember the pendulum always swings back. The supply chain will work itself out. Demand will eventually settle down and salespeople will have to sell again. They will have to negotiate again. As a leader in your business, keep an eye on habits and promote the good ones that are timeless.

2. Happy competent boaters will turn into repeat and highly valued clients.

Even in this frenzied market, doing complete deliveries and following up with your clients after the sale is a necessity. Many of those boaters that you’ve served the past year and a half will be happy to spend more money with your dealership if they fall in love with boating. And, you are a huge factor in determining whether that happens or not. Deliver outstanding service before, during and after the sale, so you are positioned for continued success.

3. If you have lots of inventory in your store and aren’t holding outstanding margins on the major units you do sell, it’s time to step up your game. 

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Most dealers’ showrooms are empty right now, but not all (I’ve seen a few with my own eyes). If it’s a strategy to hold better margins and have inventory this fall when others do not, that’s not a terrible plan.  If you just aren’t selling because of staffing, lack of traffic or some other reason, it is time to address it directly. Take action, block out time to evaluate why, ask for help if necessary and figure out a solution even if you have to get very creative. This demand won’t last forever, so don’t miss out.

4. Those who are flexible and creative over the next 3 - 7 years will reap great rewards. 

No one knows what the near future has in store for the economy, the workforce or the industry. I have some guesses, but one thing I’m certain of is that there are going to be many twists and turns. Because of this, the status quo of the past 10 years is not the path to continued success. Or worse, it could be the path to devastation.

5. Embrace old school relationships with new school technology.  

What technology can do today is amazing to me. Streaming

video from a cell phone to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram with the click of a button reaching thousands. Segmenting your client and prospect lists getting powerful messages out at the right time to the right folks with your CRM. All of these are key to future success. And so is the good old-fashioned client appreciation event at your dealership where you connect face-to-face with those that pay the bills. So is picking up the phone and calling every client that gave you money this season to say thanks and inviting them to your good old-fashioned event. The one-two punch is a winning combination.

Now these might just be random thoughts of mine, but I hope one or all of them triggered a random thought of your own that leads to action and that action leads to continued success for you personally and your boat business.

Challenge for the Month: Take four hours away from the dealership. Jot your thoughts down to these two questions;

#1. “What can I take action on today that will lead to an outstanding 2024 and beyond?” 

#2. “What should we stop doing to ensure an outstanding 2024 and beyond?” Then, just start writing. The best ideas  often come in the last 10-15 minutes.

Finally, evaluate your ideas and create at least one action step for the top few that you feel are most impactful.

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 www.BoatDealerProfits.com/freebook.

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