My favorite leverage points in sales and marketing

By Matt Sellhorst

What is one thing we all need more of in this industry? Time (though I would also take skilled labor and technicians too, but that’s another article).

There just isn’t enough time to do all the things that need to get done at the dealership. The staffing is forever tight. Everyone is doing multiple jobs.You know the drill.

Because of this, I’m an enormous fan of leverage, or rather doing something that delivers more value than the effort or time you invest. Allow me to share my top leverage points as it relates to sales and marketing.

1.    Use the world’s second largest search engine and 24/7 Salesperson

Since 2009, this has been one of the secret weapons I’ve personally used and helped dealers and manufacturers leverage in their business. It’s the use of video to promote inventory, brands, their dealership and educate prospects (often via YouTube), so they are better positioned when your best salespeople are face to face.

With consumer shopping behaviors changing, ease of technology and now COVID’s increased impact on behavior, it is almost negligent to not be using a consistent video strategy in your dealership.

In today’s inventory environment, it’s even more important that every boat that comes through your dealership be videoed in detail, so you have a tool to sell the next ordered boat.

2.    Increase the effectiveness it takes to send a message

Currently, one of the biggest complaints from serious boat shoppers is, “I can’t get anyone to return a call or email.” 

You’re swamped, I get it. If it’s not delivering boats, servicing clients in the dealership, returning calls, and potentially hundreds of new leads rolling in, it’s something else.

With those new leads, how often do you type nearly the same exact thing 10 times a day? What if you took an hour to craft the perfect fill-in-the-blank response template (or use the templates that my clients use on a daily basis) that are 10-times more impactful and take a quarter of the time to send?

It’s a form of leverage that has been proven over and over to deliver faster, better and higher response rates from new leads and prospects. If you use the synergy of great videos with well crafted, persuasive email templates for the most common four or five response scenarios, you’ll wonder why you didn’t implement this simple concept years ago.

3.    Use an unpaid sales person that works for you 24/7/365

I’ve done whole talks in the industry on this concept of having your happy past clients become your best salespeople. 

It works so well, because what other people say about you and your products are 100-times more believable and impactful than what you say about yourself. And, if you have happy past clients (which I hope you do), it’s simple.

Take a two-pronged approach to this testimonial strategy. Ask them to leave you a Google review so everyone can see it when they search your dealership name (keep in mind, virtually everyone will Google you at some point before signing off on a deal).

Second, you can invite them to the dealership to do a quick video sharing their story and to talk about their boat. When done right, 99 out of 100 happy clients will do it. The simple script to ask for the testimonial and five-question interview will lead to more impactful sales videos than a high-dollar, high-tech production. 

Imagine, shopping for a luxury item that you don’t know much about and finding hundreds of positive Google reviews, then finding video interviews of people from your town that own the product you’d like to own saying how great your dealership is. 

The key is to start putting these leverage points into action today so that in 12, 18, 24 months when the market cools down, you and your boat business are in a position to gain market share.

This Month’s Challenge: Visit your YouTube channel to see how many videos you have and how many views. Review your sales teams last five or six responses to new leads and evaluate the level of salesmanship/persuasion. Then, Google your business name plus reviews and see what pops up. Or, watch/read all the testimonials on your website, social media, etc. If you are disappointed with what you find, its time to take action this off-season so you are positioned for long-term success as the market swings back the other way in a year or so.

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

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