The show is over. What now?

Bob McCann - ARI You just got back from a great show but despite your best efforts, some meetings with prospects didn’t lead to a sale – not so unusual, is it? You also realize that you didn’t see some potential buyers that you were sure would visit your booth over the weekend. Now what do you do to start or continue building a relationship with these two pools of prospects? It’s time to organize a post-show open house, ideally within a couple of weeks, to extend the opportunity for a deal. This special event offering boat show pricing could be the nudge visitors need to take action and become buyers.

Create two email campaigns – one for booth visitors and one for the remaining prospects in your database. Thank visitors for stopping by, mention the boat they were interested in at the show, and invite them to an open house – their last chance to benefit from special show prices! An effective word track is: “Due to the huge crowds at the show, we want to make sure that you have another chance to take advantage of low boat show prices at our dealership.” Ask them to call or email you to schedule an appointment during the open house, and link to your website for more information on this special event.

The email to the remaining prospects should say, “Sorry we missed you at the show; come to our open house and benefit from special show pricing.” The rest of the content should mirror the suggestions I made for the email to visitors.

Remember to motivate your team. A couple of days before the open house, have an early evening phone party with your salespeople and ask them to call prospects and customers assigned to them in your lead management database. Serve up pizza and beer to your sales team as a token of appreciation. You’ll be surprised by the return on such a small investment!

A Minnesota-based dealership organized an open house following a major regional show and sold nearly 70 percent of what it sold during the show. An open house is a great extension of a show; it offers another touch point with prospects that may choose not to come, and provides another venue for show visitors who are most interested in experiencing the boat first-hand. It’s also a strong incentive for prospects who need more time to get to know your salesperson and your dealership better.

Bob McCann is Director of Education at ARI (, a leading provider of technology-enabled business solutions for dealers, distributors and manufacturers in the marine, RV, powersports and outdoor power equipment industries. Products and services include eCommerce-enabled websites, lead generation, lead management, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and eCatalogs (parts, garments, and accessories).


One comment

  1. This is the first I'd heard of this concept Bob and it's a great idea! I'll suggest it to our dealers.


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