Boating Industry

November 2016

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November 2016 | Boating Industry | 29 [ 17 BOAT SHOW TIPS z 2017 ] and they go for a ride on the boat," said Schmitt "and they see how easy it is and how free it is and how nice it is to be on the water on a sunny day, it's very easy to convert that into a sale." RETHINK HOW YOU TRACK YOUR SHOW SUCCESS Unlike most forms of marketing these days, boat shows are incredibly diffi cult to track. You can't put an exact number on the leads you generate, because it takes a few touches or interactions to sell the boat. Dealers need to treat the success of a boat show a little bit differently than they do with other marketing campaigns. "I view a successful show by representing the product properly, being professional and being consistent in our presentation of the boats and really building the database so we can invite people to our events, and of course selling boats at shows," said Banfi eld. Candlewood East Marina understands that "it's about feeding that pipeline, get people excited and start talking about it, to bringing their friends to some boat shows to some test drives, and then pulling some customers from there," said Perry. HOST EVENTS IN 2017 Plan ahead now to host as many events as pos sible in 2017 – it will give customers an oppor- tunity to learn more about you and the product, especially if they aren't sure about buying a boat at the show that day. "It gives the new prospect who doesn't know us a little bit of a feeling about our dealership and who we are," said Banfi eld. It's harder and harder for dealers these days to create the "sense of urgency" once seen at boat shows, so rather than pushing for custom- ers to put down the deposit today, dealers should utilize in-house events to offer customers a low pressure environment to learn more about the product and your business. "These bigger purchases have a little bit slower buying process, so we've had more suc- cess by going to these shows and working really hard to get them to come to the dealership the next weekend, and then they can really see how we separate ourselves from the other dealers at the show," said O'Hara. (You can read about how to create successful events in the July issue of Boating Industry.) START PLANNING FOR 2018 As soon as you complete your 2017 shows, it is the perfect time to regroup with your team, discuss what did or didn't work, and begin out- lining your 2018 strategy. "That way it's fresh in our mind what we did right and what we did wrong, or if anything needed to be changed or tweaked," said White.

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