Boating Industry

November 2016

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28 | Boating Industry | November 2016 [ 17 BOAT SHOW TIPS z 2017 ] professionally. If they are comfortable and confi- dent, they will do a better job selling. This doesn't mean letting your employees wear ripped jeans and a holey t-shirt. At South Coast Yachts, the team picks a theme and a color palette for the show and lets every individual employee choose an outfit that is comfortable and will match the booth. The company gets the clothing the employee selected embroidered with its dealer and manufacturer logos. "I want my team to be comfortable, I want them to feel good about themselves. I want them to feel professional, clean and representing the product properly," said Banfield. KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW AND KNOW WHAT YOU DON'T Having staff members from all sides of the busi- ness allows employees to defer to those who have more knowledge in different areas. This is an especially helpful tool for salespeople looking to build relationships with customers; they will trust you more if you can admit you're not sure how to answer the question and point them to someone who can. "Only answer questions that you know the answer to," White said. "It's OK to say 'I don't know, let me find out for you.'" APPROACH EVERY CUSTOMER You can't sell a boat to someone you don't talk to. Make sure your staff is talking to every single person who walks in your booth, regardless of whether or not they "look" ready to buy a boat. "A good lesson for all of in the industry [is] that we're there to serve people and help them with their goals, and boat sales come from all that," Banfield said. "A lot of times we're sur- prised by simple friendliness and maybe who we thought was a disqualified prospect, and they're buying a boat from us right then and there." HOST YOUR OWN SHOWS As important as boat shows are, hosting your own "boat show" – in whatever capacity is avail- able to you – will help bring the branding aspects of a boat show to an audience that is captivated only by your product. Buster's Marine hosts parking lot shows in cooperation with local stores, where the dealer- ship occupies 10 spaces at the back of a store parking lot with a large number of boats, as well as a tent with boating gear like life jackets, float- ies and other cash-and-carry items. Buster's tar- gets stores that have high foot traffic and uses the events as an educational opportunity. The goal at the parking lot show is both dif- ferent and the same as a boat show: While it's not an event where Buster's is likely to sell a boat on the spot, the purpose of the show is to gener- ate leads and encourage shoppers to sign up for a demo ride. "We find that once they come to the store

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