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.


‘A Phenomenal Success’

The Southampton International Boat Show had more than 88,000 visitors during its 10-day run, after last year’s cancellation.

TopSide Marinas Makes First Two Acquisitions

Founded in January 2020, the firm has thus far acquired Beavers Bend Marina in Oklahoma and Galveston Yacht Basin in Texas.

Two Boosts for Boating and Fishing

MBIA’s Metro Boat show show draws a crowd, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expands boating and fishing opportunities.

Norwalk Boat Show Held This Weekend

The NMMA show runs through Sunday at Norwalk Cove Marina in Norwalk, Conn.

Raritan Expands Team

Patrick McNeel joins the New Jersey-based manufacturer as a marine equipment product developer.

Industry Mourns Walter “Bing” Burns O’Meara

The longtime publisher of Lakeland Boating magazine has died at 81.

NMMA Announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Regulator Marine’s Joan Maxwell and Bill Watters of Syntec Industries will be honored at IBEX.

Brunswick Acquires SemahTronix

The supplier of wiring harnesses and other electrical assemblies will be part of Brunswick’s growing Advanced Systems Group.