Refocusing on relationships

By Matt Sellhorst

Have your sales become more transactional in the past several years?

For many dealers that has become the norm with the flood of demand, the trickle of supply and limited time to get boats delivered. 

Maybe you’ve had a few more disgruntled clients because of delays in major unit delivery. Maybe you’ve had a few service clients astonished that their boat sat in the yard untouched for months waiting for a simple part needed for the repair. Maybe your client base didn’t hear from your team as often because they simply didn’t have the time to reach out.

Well, as we head into the off season, consider refocusing on the relationship with your client base and local boating community. 

To help, here are a few of my clients’ top strategies for building and maintaining a strong relationship with the clients and potential clients.

1. Bi-monthly newsletter

One of the best ways for a dealer to build relationships is to have a consistent, interesting and engaging bi-monthly newsletter. This contains not just sales promotions, but also articles and videos your boating clients love to read or watch. 

2. Consistent events

For many dealers, events were one of the first things that fell off the marketing calendar due to social distancing, and many have not come back. As fears fade, events can be a tremendous way to deepen relationships with clients, prospects and the boating community.

3. Local video content

A great way to build relationships in a highly leveraged manner is to bring the faces, voices and personalities of your dealership to your clients and potential clients via consistently-released videos. These are not expensive and highly produced brand type videos, they are video walk-arounds and educational videos that will be consumed by clients bringing the showroom to their laptop or phone.

4. Live video on social media

If you are serious about building relationships, the key is a large quantity of high-quality time with the other person. A great way to hit both is with live video on social media. This option can take some time to get rolling and does take some planning; however, it can make you the go-to place for local boating knowledge and service. Oh, and boat sales opportunities too!

5. Personal phone calls

Often overlooked because it takes a fair amount effort, the personal phone call is the most powerful item on this list. This off season, have your sales team make 30-plus calls a day to past clients.  Have a reason to call, one of the best being an invite to an upcoming event. Sounds like something a good friend would do, right?

This is one of the most fun areas we help dealers with because it takes them back to the way it used to be. And, the results can be amazing in so many areas, including happier and easier-to-work-with clients and prospects.

So, if building stronger relationships is on your list of things to improve this off season, take the monthly challenge and get to work!

Monthly challenge: Spend two hours a day for a week to create a plan for Refocus on Relationships in your dealership. Pick the top three areas for your dealership, create a plan and begin implementation. But remember, the key is in consistency.

Source: https://boatingindustry.com/columns/2022/09/26/refocusing-on-relationships/