How to generate more leads and sell more boats with video

Where do most of your leads come from? Maybe BoatTrader? Referrals? Your website? Boat shows?

There is a little used strategy that’s virtually free in today’s high tech world that pours fuel on the fire to those listed above. And gives you more opportunity to put money in the bank each and every month. Yeah, even in the off season.

What source am I talking about?

Online video! And, before you say, that won’t work in my market. Or, I’m no Steven Spielberg – – just hear me out.

FACT: More than 90% of boat buyer’s are going online to research during their buying process.

FACT: By 2017 (only 2 short years away), 74 percent of all internet consumption will be video based according to recent research from Invodo.

FACT: Those using video the right way in today’s boat selling world are killing it in their market. And, you can too.

Let me share my numbers with you from my online video marketing strategy. In 2013, I generated 193,663 video views and 387,504 minutes of boat presentations on my YouTube Channel devoted exclusively to boating.

In 2014, that jumped to 241,865 views and 539,476 minutes watched. Do the math: That comes out to 24.63 hours of my boat commercials watched every 24 hour day! Yeah, people interested in boating watching videos of me presenting actual boats I have for sale. And, you can do the same thing!


Can you see the opportunity?

Just like everything, there is a right and wrong way to do it. Let me share a few insider secrets with you that will not only get you more potential prospects, but also more phone calls on the boats you have available. (plus, there is a side benefit that will help you get more brokerage listings)

Inside Secret #1: You only need a smart phone, YouTube channel account and a boat to sell. There is no expensive equipment needed. No expensive video editing software. No lighting kit or microphone setup. Just you, your smart phone and a boat.

Inside Secret #2: Just be yourself and give a complete, honest and through review of the vessel you are presenting. By being authentic and honest you will build serious credibility with your potential prospects. In my experience, I’ve found that your future buyers will watch five, 10, even 50 of your videos during their research stage. So, when they are ready to buy, you already have a relationship built and they already know, like and trust you. It’s amazing how much easier and more fun these clients are to work with thru the entire transaction (and tend to be great referral sources).

Insider Secret #3: Create a quick intro and outro that brands and sells you and your services. I call this a donut because the middle is left open for the actual video boat walk-around. This is a huge time saver and delivers a personal and perfect sales pitch to the hundreds of thousands of boat buyers who are watching them

Insider Secret #4: To maximize video views, requires a simple three-step step approach. The first, title your video based on how your best prospects would search for that type or style of boat on Google. Then, list the boat on all of your listing sites (your website, Boat Trader, IBoats, Yacht World, etc). Finally, email the video to your current database of clients for even more exposure to the perfect target audience.

Insider Secret #5: Invest just 27 minutes a week to this virtually free online video strategy for the next year and watch your sales sky rocket. And, be sure to promote your use of video with listings. Potential brokerage clients will see the value and you will likely be the only one in your market area using it which will make you the obvious choice to help with their sale.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can sell more boats and get more listings in only 27 minutes a week, I will be doing a FREE Webinar that’s open to the public. Just email me at with Video Webinar as the subject and I’ll send you the webinar link and password.

Matt Sellhorst is author of “Marine Marketing Strategies,” a speaker at industry events and featured in several marketing articles. Sellhorst was a top producer at Hall Marine and won several sales awards. For more information, visit


  1. Matt, I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. Dealers tend to make it a lot more complicated than it has to be.

    I think we are used to getting things right from the start. Online video isn’t one of those things. Getting it perfect from the start requires too much planning, money and knowledge that you probably don’t have. Just jump in w/ two feet and throw up a video straight from your phone.

  2. Thanks for the comment Nick. Great advice… just get started and improve over time. Hopefully you check out the webinar with some good content for those interested in online video.

  3. I completely agree as well. When the economy crashed in 2007/2008, Marine Connection (South Florida) was exclusively marketing new boats and wholesaling all used trades, and I was Marketing Director. It took a few months, but with a skeleton crew and some creative thinking, we realized that selling repossessed boats seemed like the only way to keep the doors open – but we would be selling to markets that were entirely new to us (with the main one being Australia).

    After requests from a few international customers (who could not justify the expense of traveling to see the boats in person), we started with one video. We really had no idea how it would work or what we were really doing, but as Nick said, we jumped right in.

    Sales sky rocketed instantly, and we thrived during a period when most dealers were closing shop. We created a simple system of shooting, editing and publishing so that we could create more videos easily. Some weeks we’d spend 4 out of 5 days at the water, and the fifth day editing and uploading. Our biggest challenge was getting our hands on every boat we found (a local buy-back program really helped with this).

    In the end, we shot 3000+ videos and it was the best marketing move we ever made. Although the business model has spun a complete 180 at Marine Connection (due to the shift to new boats again over the past 4 years), their YouTube channel (which only houses a small fraction of the videos) has nearly 2.5 million views – almost a million more than Sea Ray’s corporate channel… With the only expense being time.

    I strongly believe that used boat dealers should use the strength of video to market their inventory and that new boat dealers use video to market the lifestyle that the product delivers.

    You simply can’t walk into a restaurant or hardware store now days without seeing videos of products being used, and products like our Digital Displays (Distinct Marketing) are enabling boat dealers to put videos at the point of sale, in showrooms and at boat shows.

    Video has been called the rock-star of marketing, and it truly is.

  4. Jani – Great story of the power of video! It truly is the rock-star of marketing.

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