It’s late July, and while boats may still be selling for you in what appears to be a record-setting season for the industry, we can all see the traditional slowdown coming. And, as we’ve heard, some of you are completely out of boats right now.
So how do you continue to build revenue for your business and continue to deliver an excellent customer experience? Accessory sales!
By now, your winter, spring and early summer buyers are fully settled into their boating lifestyle. They’ve become accustomed to what they like about boating and have started to learn to overcome anything they don’t like (backing up a trailer, anyone?).
If they weren’t thinking about accessories when they first purchased their boat, maybe they are now. They might be thinking that they’ve brought their boating experience to a 10 out of 10, but now they want to pump up the volume and bring it to an 11.
But many of them don’t know where to start. So this presents another opportunity for you to be the expert, the guide, the friend, who helps the customer improve upon their already fantastic boating experience.
So how can you promote the accessories that you sell to improve their boating lifestyle?
- Well, you can’t deliver what they need without talking to them, so let’s note another great reason to have a follow-up plan.
- As you’re making follow-up calls and sending follow-up text messages, ask the boater what activities they’ve been participating in and what they’re interested in doing that they haven’t tried.
- Push out an email blast to your full database to showcase new, popular, sale, clearance and other products.
- Use your social media to highlight your customers using accessories. Describe which products(s) the customer is using, how they’re using the product and remind your customers that you sell it.
- Create a video walkthrough of your Pro Shop, focusing on the most popular, visual products on the floor.
What types of accessories might a customer be interested in as they enter the back half of the season?
1. Towables: Maybe they’ve been cruising all summer, but their kids are begging for a towable. Showcase the variety that you carry.
2. Wakeboards, wakesurf boards, skis and accessories: Just like with towables, your new boat buyers may be out on the water, seeing more and more people participating in these sports. Encourage them to buy their first board, or upgrade what they already have.
3. Fishing equipment: If you’re in a fishing-heavy location, show off your fishing rods, reels and accessories and encourage your customers to upgrade from the equipment they’ve been hanging onto for the past decade. Make sure you’re offering fishing advice, too. Fishing strategies evolve as the seasons progress, and fishing in late summer and into the fall is definitely different than fishing in the spring. Make sure they’re staying on the fish by giving them some much needed-tips or advice or even the recommendation of a guide.
4. Electronics: Now that they’ve gotten out on the boat and have experienced driving it, your boat buyers may want to enhance their lifestyle by adding a GPS, a fish finder, a stereo system or some other electronics.
5. Sun-safe products: We’ve all seen a photo or two of a bad sunburn this summer (or have had one ourselves). Remind customers that you sell sunscreen, tanning lotion, SPF shirts and hats.
6. Coolers: If it has been particularly hot in your area, tell customers which coolers you carry and the benefit to using those coolers on their boat versus a cheap cooler they can buy elsewhere.
7. Swimming accessories: If your boaters are anchoring out and going for a dip, they may want to bring along a swim mat, floats, goggles, or snorkels for themselves and their passengers. Also, they might need a new swimsuit after too many Instagram photos in the same one.
8. Life vests: If you didn’t convince your customers to get new life vests when they purchased their boat, remind them again of the different, lightweight and comfortable options you have in stock (if you do still have them in stock), and remind them to have life vests for everyone on board!
9. Boat covers: Again, maybe your buyer didn’t want to pony up the money to buy a boat cover with their initial purchase, but now they may be considering the longevity of their boat. Encourage them to protect their investment with a boat cover.
There are many other accessories, or parts, that your customers could be interested in, as they become more comfortable with their boat and their boating activities. Take a walk around your Pro Shop and your parts department and make sure you’re marketing what you have.
Again, if done right, sharing information with customers about how to improve their boating lifestyle will position your dealership as an expert, guide and friend. And it will drive traffic and revenue back into your dealership, even if you’re out of boats.