Seeing red

When times are tough and showroom floor traffic is hard to come by, dealers need ways to inspire their salespeople to prospect. Most dealers say they go back to their past customer lists, but those lists can only get you so far.

At JOA Marine, management established the Red Dot follow-up and prospecting regimen for its sales team. The process requires that all salespeople make contact with and report to management on 100 in-the-flesh contacts every week. Management takes prospects from as many Internet sources as possible and mixes them with past customers and current prospects. For every connection with a live voice made, the sales person receives a red dot, and they are paid bonuses for achieving 100 red dots and penalized financially for not keeping up with the list.

The result, Matthews says, has been a dramatic increase in quality contacts and appointments in the store, in addition to an increase of almost double the amount of business in the brokerage department.

But what’s more, the company began to understand that the problem was not just with the responsibility of its sales staff, but rather the prospecting sources. Some lists and databases “were trash,” Matthews says, and they included bad contact information, wrong phone numbers, and so forth. So by requiring the 100 contacts, the salespeople notify management if the information is bad, and they supply new tools.

“We need to reach new audiences,” Matthews says. “We are all calling old customers, and there is great value there. But we also need new leads that have never been boating, or understand how affordable it can be, or how it can change the life of a family. There is a message to be delivered. But it must be delivered ‘by hand’ not by machine.”

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