Sell the Dream. Sell the Boat.

From boating manufacturers to dealers, everybody always benefits from selling more boats. However, there are many barriers to success. Partially, it’s a marketing problem, partially a sales problem and partially a product problem. Overcoming those barriers and increasing sales requires integrated partnership with all parties.

Here are new boater insights and their barriers to buy:

  1. There are too many decisions – buy new or used? What make and model? The right horsepower?
  2.  There’s no comprehensive resource – No one place that tells buyers everything they should know.
  3. They don’t have expert boating friends to turn to.
  4. They don’t have people they trust to give them advice on how to buy.

As if that weren’t enough to discourage potential new boaters from getting on the water, the water itself is an issue. Forget the normal issues like mooring costs, winterizing costs and boat selection. The number one unexpected insight and issue from many new would-be boat owners is water quality, meaning how the effects of water pollution and waterborne viruses and diseases have on the boat owner’s family health. It seems that every day in the news we hear more and more about bacterial skin infections and brain viruses, making people sick or even causing death caused by swimming or other water-related activities. So, how do you overcome that?

Start with emotionally connecting their dreams with reality and inspire them to get on the water. Don’t start by selling a boat. Selling the dream will overcome all other fears and doubts. It keeps the buying process positive.

How the dream gets them to buy into your brand:

Inspire them to get on the water.
It begins with understanding. Listen to their dreams. Understand how they got interested in boating in the first place. Know their story and be a part of that story throughout the buying process. Help them realize their dream. Their story  will even help you select the right boat for them.

Create a better buying experience.
New buyers are info-seeking hoarders. You need to be in their space, where they’re looking for info – be there with advice and information – but always with the dream layered in.

Be transparent.
People hate surprises, especially related to hidden fees and costs. For example, most new boaters don’t know there are potential slip fees for mooring their boats – even at their own condos, homes and marinas. Hide nothing and tell all.

Stand for something.
Brands with a purpose always lead and win in the minds of the consumer. Your brand needs to stand for something – not from a political position, but from a worldly do-good position. Promote the fact that the environment and water quality is an issue, and you’re leading the way to healthier waters. This good Samaritan approach will give environmentally conscious, worried parents hope – and it might even get them to contribute time and financial resources to help you on your quest!

While these helpful tips and insights are specific to boaters, they can be applied to any industry. The sales process begins with earning trust, listening and then helping your audience realize their dreams. Be a problem and life-solver, and your efforts will ultimately have a positive impact on the top line.

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