Skip to main content

Where did all the boat show leads go?

We’ve had enough reports from our January boat shows to know they’ve been better than expected. Great news! Even better, reports from virtually all shows indicate a definite improvement in prospect quality over last year when show visitors wouldn’t even talk to us!

The heightened interest at shows this year signals two good things: (1) A building pent-up demand for boats; and (2) a greater number of quality leads acquired at the shows. In turn, it also begs the question – where are those leads now?

Leads are as critical to the sales team as wrenches are to service. The leads we got at the show today are our buyers tomorrow. We can’t forget this sales basic: Prospects buy when they are ready to buy – not when we are ready to sell! The time between the two is where effectively managing our leads is in play. 

Every sales team should have a working lead system. The days of the old 3” X 5” index cards or wrinkled slips of paper are history. The days of 1 follow-up phone call or postcard are also gone. With a laptop and a database, good lead management is faster, easier and better than ever. For example, say you just finished a show last Sunday (three days ago.) By now, all your leads could (should) be in your database, ready for follow-up targeted marketing.

According to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, studies show less than 50 percent of exhibitors in trade shows do any follow-up! Hopefully, the rate is higher for consumer shows like ours. However, it is possible we fall short, too. Sure, we’re tired after a show and we usually take a well-deserved day or two off. But, with good lead management programs operating in our stores, the computer can be target marketing the leads with special email follow-ups, thank you notes, invitations to the showroom, suggested dates for a demo ride and always giving the prospects reasons why they should buy . . . all while you’re taking that day off! And, the good system will continue to be used to communicate, educate and maintain a relationship with the prospects.

From a different point of view: What’s the cost of lost, discarded or leads not followed up? Answer: spend more money to seek more leads! In addition, your sales team is most likely not the only one trying to sell to your prospects. This is the age of information technology. If we want to meet the competition where they are, we’ve got to have a working lead follow-up system. There are inexpensive off-the-shelf lead management programs, custom designed programs and even lead generation/management service firms.

It’s a fact that a lead is worth nothing until it actually generates a sale. In most cases, we simply don’t know when a prospect will decide to buy. Unfortunately, he’s on his schedule, not ours. Our goal with a good lead management system is to be in front of him, top-of-mind, when he makes that decision.

I recently read somewhere that a salesman, who maintains a large lead management system, likes to think of his prospect database as a list of customers. He says: “The way I see it, I have hundreds of customers -- some are just not buying right now.”

Related

1_AVIKUS

Avikus Debuts Autonomous Navigation

The company will demonstrate ‘Neuboat’, an autonomous phase-2 navigation solution for recreational boats at this year’s FLIBS.

1_IAN_ROUNDUP

Scope of Ian’s Devastation Emerges

Southwest Florida’s marine industry businesses are ensuring the welfare of their people well before the cleanup even begins.

1_MERCURY.MARINE

Mercury Marine Receives Environmental Award

The company was recognized in the large business sustainability category by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

1_MARINEMAX

MarineMax Closes IGY Marinas Acquisition

The deal adds 23 megayacht marinas, the Trident superyacht membership and management platform and Fraser Yachts and Northrop & Johnson to the company’s portfolio.

1_CGFOUNDATION_IAN_PHOTO

Coast Guard Foundation Activates Emergency Relief Program

The nonprofit is providing support to Coast Guard members and families impacted by Hurricane Ian.

1_TORQEEDO

Torqeedo Announces New Leadership

Fabian Bez assumes the CEO role while Heiko Veitmeier comes on board as CFO.

1_ABA

ABA Celebrates 30 Years

The America Boatbuilders Association was founded in 1992 with the objective of collectively buying engines, raw materials and manufactured products at better prices.