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Is ‘no time’ our biggest hurdle?

I asked my son, a Gen Xer, why he doesn’t have a boat. He certainly knows boats — he grew up in a boating family. It’s not a question of money — he can afford one. He likes boating — whenever he visits he wants to go fishing on my boat. So why?

“Time. I just don’t have the time,” was his answer. And that got me wondering whether time, or the perception of the time needed to boat, is a primary reason we’re struggling to attract new boaters like Gen Xers that are well into their careers and high-earnings years? Perhaps Seth Godin has some solid insight.

Godin is a marketer, speaker and author of titles such as “Purple Cow,” “All Marketers Are Liars,” “Free Prize Inside,” and a three-book series on marketing in the 21st century.

This week he wrote a blog he titled “I Don’t Have Time.” After hearing my son say that, the timing of Godin’s blog hit me like a bus. He suggested that when people utter those words, what they’re actually saying is “it wasn’t important enough.” Or it’s not a priority, it’s not fun, it’s distracting, or it’s not profitable or urgent enough to make it to the top of the list.

Consequently, running out of time is essentially a euphemism, contends Godin. Sure, time is finite. But the good news is it’s also replenished every second.

For the astute salesperson, then, when lack of time enters the conversation, it really signals that the boat hasn’t made the top of the list yet. It’s time to sell the sizzle of the boating lifestyle. To show that the boat means escape from life’s daily hassle (everyone wants to escape these days).

In addition, it’s also time to pull out special considerations and incentives that will convince prospects they’ll be spending their valuable time just enjoying the pleasure of being on the water. For example, special packages designed to take care of the maintenance and service time for them. Or hands-on training so they can spend all their time aboard confident in their handling skills.

Interestingly, Godin notes that Twitter and Facebook soak up billions of hours of “spare” time. Where does that time come from, he asks. What did we do before social media? Weren't we busy five years ago?

When it comes to time, prospects and customers are always recalibrating their time — where to go, which shows to watch, how to spend leisure time. In that framework, the road to selling more boats has nothing to do with giving people more time (we all get just 24 hours a day, no one gets more.)

Rather, when it comes to selling more boats, Godin is right on when he emphasizes selling has “everything to do with creating more urgency, more of an itch, more desire!”

For lots more of Godin, go to


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