Face to Face
There is no better way to sell a boat than face to face. Period. Traditional advertising methods are great for reaching large numbers of prospective customers but ultimately it's up to the consumer to take action. They still have to pick up the phone, visit your place of business, or contact you through email as a response to your advertising. The internet has certainly changed the way people shop. It has given buyers tools to find and compare boats and boating products in minutes in the comforts of their own homes but they still can't touch it, feel it, walk on it. Think about the billions of dollars automobile manufacturers and dealers spend each year on advertising. Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, internet, and yet it all still comes down to one thing...they want you to come to the dealership and sit down face-to-face with a salesperson.
Really Being Able to Sell
Wouldn't it be great to advertise your boats/boating products/services and have people call or email you to place orders. Sure that happens sometimes but it's not how most boat dealerships do business. Most people need to have details, information, and have questions answered before they make a decision to buy. Especially in today's tough economic times, most salespeople know they have to work extra hard to actually SELL a boat. They need to be in a position to convince potential customers why they should buy your product, why it's better than your competitors, why it's worth the money. The ability to overcome objections is paramount to selling any product. A good salesperson must be able to READ a potential customer's reaction, expressions, body language in order to close a sale. If all products sold themselves there wouldn't be any salespeople - just order takers.
Suppose you charged potential customers a fee just to find out more about your product or service? What if you charged them $8.00 to visit your dealership just for the privilege of being able to buy from you? You probably wouldn't have too many takers. But the few people that would pay for that privilege would be highly qualified. Strangely enough that's what happens every day with boat shows. People pay for the right to see what they can, in most cases, see for free. So why do they pay? Primarily because of CONVENIENCE. In today's busy world people don't have the time to drive from dealership to dealership comparing boats. And now with higher gas prices it makes even more sense to see all the options at one-time in one-place.
Most Boat Buyers Attend Shows
A recent study of boater buyers conducted by Michigan State University shows 55 percent of boat buyers attended a boat show within six months prior to making their purchase. This clearly demonstrates that boat shows remain a critical step in the consumers' final decisions to purchase a boat.
The study surveyed more than 20,000 attendees across all NMMA's 2008 consumer boat shows, the largest study of its kind. Additional findings include:
- 86 percent said attending a show increased their desire to go boating
- 50 percent said they went to the show with no intention of buying a boat, but became interested once on site
- 15 percent said they intended to buy a boat at the show
- 5 percent said they actually bought a boat at the show
- 73 percent said they attended the show to buy accessories
- 65 percent said they will buy products they saw at the show
- 47 percent said they spoke with 3 to 5 dealers at the show
- 49 percent said they intend to follow up with a dealer they spoke with at the show
Click here to see the full study
- 45 percent said they have a household income over $100,000