Customer service: What your customers really want

By Matt Sellhorst

Have you ever considered what your prospects and clients truly want from you? The most successful companies have figured this out and take specific actions to ensure they deliver.

Let’s look at fast food as an example. It’s a very tough industry. McDonald’s has dominated for decades by delivering what their clients truly want: consistent, cheap food, fast. Everything revolves around a fast and consistent experience.

Take a look at another fast food success story, Chick-fil-A. Similar industry yet, they’ve decided to compete on quality food served quickly with polite service.

For example, during the busiest times, the Chick-fil-A drive-thru is staffed with multiple people to move the line quicker and provide customers with speedy and polite service. Without fail, when you say thank you, they will respond 100% of the time with “My Pleasure.” And, they say it with a smile. It’s a little thing that makes a large impact.

With this focus on quality food with quick, polite service, Chick-fil-A has boomed with an average store revenue of $4.1 million. That’s more than the top two fast food chains, McDonald’s at $2.6 million/store and Starbucks at $1 million/store, combined.

You may be saying, “That’s all interesting but, how does this relate to my dealership?” It brings up the question: How well are you delivering what your prospects and clients really want?

Here are a few wants that apply to most dealers:

Ease of Shopping and Buying

Boat buyers want a simple boat shopping and buying experience. They want to research boats online without having to talk with a sales person. They expect extensive photos, a complete description and even video of boats as they research behind their keyboard until they are ready to talk to a sales person.

Research by SiriusDecisions reveals that 70% of the buying journey is done online without the help of a sales person. This turns the old model of selling boats on its head.

Use this to your advantage and bring all your boats to your prospects’ computers with complete and detailed video walk arounds. When done right, this will lead to quality opportunity with the right prospects. This also offers an enormous opportunity for manufacturers.

Not only does this approach deliver an easy shopping experience, it also sets you up to deliver on the next want most buyers have.

Expert Knowledge:

Whether your prospects say it or not, they want to feel confident in your expert product knowledge and knowledge of your local boating area.

One simple way to demonstrate that knowledge is to utilize videos that can be leveraged over and over. Imagine a product review or video walk around that explains how your product is different than the competition and better for your local boating lifestyle. While watching from the comfort of their own home, they are getting sales presentation that, when done properly, will position you as the expert they can trust. For an example of a video walk around, visit

Many of our clients use this strategy to generate thousands of video views and a consistent flow of quality prospects for their sales staff.

Exceptional Experience:

A “my pleasure” goes a long way when spending $8 for a combo meal, but what does exceptional service look like when buying a $25,000, $50,000 or $250,000 boat?

This doesn’t mean every step of the process has to be a dream come true. However a few unexpected exceptional experiences can go a long way to building a loyal client base that will talk about you forever and refer you to others.

It could be as simple as an unexpected gift that is given after delivery. Imagine a boat bag with towels and coozies showing up a week or two after taking delivery of their new boat with a note signed by everyone at the dealership.

The three examples above are pretty universal. You likely have a few specific ones that are an exact match for your boat dealership. When you know what your prospects and clients truly want and are able to deliver them on a consistent basis, you will see dramatic results to your revenue and more importantly to your bottom line.

This month’s challenge: Make a list of the top five wants your boat buyers have and determine how you can deliver on them with specific tactics.  

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 *