I’ve about had it with this freaking economy! I’m sure you feel the same. I read everything in sight, searching for positive trends. I watch those financial TV shows looking for good news. And while I am hearing more positive than negative reports these days, it’s obvious the boat business didn’t, yet, get Fed Chief Ben Bernanke’s memo declaring “the recession ended.” So when I want to get away from it all, I do what millions of others do to escape: I head for the boat! I point my Pursuit Offshore out on the Gulf of Mexico, leave the papers and TV behind, and I refresh. And that reminds me of a every important truth … that if you’re a boat dealer you are not in the boat business — you’re in the rejuvenation business! Boats are a place of renewal and replenishment.

In that light, it’s not a stretch to conclude that we may be placing too much emphasis on the “hardware” and too little on the “experience.” For example, we get hung up on the importance of model years, new colors or features and such. Or we often emphasize to a prospect that “we have a reduced price on a new, non-current in stock,” instead of recognizing that, regardless of the model year, the boat we’re showing the prospect is the ticket to rejuvenation, and that’s really what we want the prospect to see. In fact, that’s also what the prospect really wants to see.

If the deal doesn’t close, the problem is likely not the boat. Simply put, if the boat doesn’t represent something in the buyer’s mind, we lose. In selling these days, we must establish the “experience” that buying the “hardware” will bring. The use of words like revitalize, renewal, invigorate and restore can all create the desired meaning.

Auto advertising is a good example. We don’t see TV ads depicting 10 Chevy models. We see ads featuring one model that concentrates on the driving experience it brings. They are carefully designed to stimulate the prospect’s imagination.

If we want prospects to act on what they’re imagining, we must make it easy. In general, as consumers we are not into “difficult” any more. Just look at today’s supermarkets, where a variety of prepared foods from salads to entrees are going out the door in record numbers. Or those personal shopper businesses — they’re growing, too, because they make it easy!

There’s no time like the present to review the entire sales process in your dealership. Look for anything that might present a hassle for the buyer. Change it, eliminate it, or actually do it for the buyer. The goal is to make it “easy” for the prospect to have his rejuvenation machine.


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