Boating Industry

March 2016

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March 2016 | Boating Industry | 19 [ STEP by STEP ] dealerships likely do these days, but is formal- ized and presentable to the customer during the sales process. "It's part of easing their fears," said Rick Diet- erich, president of Springline Yacht Sales. "Having the formalized program that we can share with somebody … is a big selling tool right upfront." Giving customers an opportunity to demo the boat they want to purchase is a key selling tool for proving just how the boat can benefit a family's leisure. "We make to make it easy for them to decide on [the boat]. People appreciate when they do that and they see it's a positive effort from us, and they're most likely to purchase a boat from us, even if they don't purchase that boat in particular," said John Kutuk, co-owner at Marine Connection. Social proof also helps ease customers' fears. After all, what our peers have to say often has more impact than what a salesperson claims. (You can read about Sellhorst and social proof in the Boating Industry 2015 Best Ideas White Paper on Stay on their radar So you've shown them proof, now your prospect wants time to think at home. That prospect is about to get busy and be hard to reach. The answer to this problem is diligence. One follow-up is likely not enough. If you send an email, the chance of someone seeing it based on open rates is about 20 percent. Even if it is opened, there is a 50 percent chance they will actually read it. That means there is a 10 percent chance that the prospect opens your one email and reads it. Sellhorst recommends sending 50 "con- tacts," which include emails, phone calls, direct mail (depending on the quality of the lead), event invites and more. This will have an im- pact on that busy customer. "You can't be annoying. It can't be like 'Are you ready to buy a boat now? Are you ready to buy a boat now? How about now?' It's got to be interesting, it's got to be fun, it's got to be valu- able content," said Sellhorst. "You've got a much better likelihood to cut through the busy-ness of their lives and sell the boating lifestyle." When looking at engaging customers during the follow-up, it is important to use personalized content to get their attention. Even through au- tomating the follow-up process, dealers can cre- ate messages that appear personal in nature. Marine Connection uses its customer rela- tionship management (CRM) tool to record the information of every customer that walks through the store. The salesperson notes the customer's buying timeframe, what they looked at, what activities they want to use the boat for or even if they were "just looking." "We have an automated system where the salesperson will, with the click of a button, send them a thank you email that day. That way, the customer will have the salesperson's informa- tion," said Kutuk. The customers are enrolled in the Marine Connection newsletter program and the deal- ership watches if they are clicking on and re- sponding to the emails. It also allows Marine Connection to set reminders for the salesperson to call back within the customer's timeframe. "Even though these systems are great, we can only close a sale when the customer is actually in the store. The objective is to bring them back to the store," Kutuk said, "and CRM allows us to facilitate that and allows the salesperson to orga- nize themselves." People, not process Part of what helps keep salespeople energized and able to connect with today's prospect is Constantly training your team builds value and profit in the sales department. "When people are shopping, they're looking for the answer to the question 'What is the best decision I can make?'" — Matt Sellhorst, founder, Boat Dealer Profits » chance that the prospect opens your one email and reads it. 10%

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