Is your sales team prepared for success?

By Matt Sellhorst

Going to boat shows is something I’ve done since I was a kid back in Nebraska. This year I’ve already attended four and plan to sneak a few more in by the time boating weather arrives.

Mystery shopping at the shows, I’ve seen some good, some bad and some ugly in my interactions with salespeople, as well as listening in on sales presentations and even overhearing an occasional closing in progress. 

Below, I’ve compiled a few areas to keep an eye on with your sales team as the season roles on.

1. Build knowledge about your products and your competition

As a boat salesperson, you have lots of products to study; multiple boat brands, engine brands, and many models and options make it nearly impossible for anyone to know absolutely everything. 

With that in mind, I’ve seen time and time again a prospect asking a question the salesperson should know the answer to and simply doesn’t. Or worse, doesn’t know but makes up an answer that is incorrect. This often leads to a lack of trust and confidence which in turn leads to a lost sale.

Encourage your team to utilize the resources provided by your manufactures; PIG’s, videos, internal trainings and simply reviewing each and every boat you offer, so you know how the seat adjusts, how the table folds down, how the compartment opens and so on.

2. Have a game plan for the major milestones of each sales conversation

Every salesperson and every sale have its own unique twists, turns and personality. In most cases, those allow for the highest level of success and yet during every sale, there must be an initial greeting, the buying buttons of the prospect must be determined, the price must be presented — and likely negotiated — and the salesperson must ask for the prospect to buy.

Too often at the boat shows, I hear a salesperson stumble or wing these important steps in the sales process. In my training, salespeople are encouraged to develop dialed-in scripts or word tracts for those ever-so-sensitive steps in the process that can lead to success or failure.

Spending a little time developing and practicing these phrases before getting in front of a qualified prospect can lead to significantly higher success rates.

3. Without contact information you’ve wasted an opportunity

As a salesperson, you spend 25 minutes or more with a prospect, doing an outstanding job, even asking for the sale only to be met with a no. Time and time again, I’ve seen this happen and the salesperson says, “give me a call when the time is right” and lets them walk away.

No request for a name, phone number or email, which means they will have to start from scratch if the prospect does take it upon themselves to continue their shopping process with that salesperson or dealer.

In today’s world, having the contact information not only allows proactive follow-up from the salesperson, it also opens up significant opportunity for the dealer and its digital marketing efforts. This follow-up can push the prospect to come back into your showroom and buy.

4. You are there to work

Oh, it’s painful to watch. A prospect is inspecting a boat at the show, opening compartments and diligently reviewing the options list, with no salesperson in sight. Yet, just 30 feet away, there is a huddle of dealership employees (managers and owners included) just cutting it up and having a great time.

Boat shows are a ton of work, spending up to 12 hours on your feet, three or four days in a row. It’s understandable that it can be hard to stay on that entire time, yet with the time and money invested in participating in a show, that sight makes the business owner in me cringe. When the doors open, encourage all your staff to save the socializing till the end when you celebrate a record-breaking performance.

This month’s challenge: Commit to a weekly or monthly sales training of 15 to 30 minutes where you utilize the talent in your dealership or utilize tools to continuously improve your sales teams’ skills. 

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

Leave a Reply

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