For the past decade, salespeople have typically relegated video to the “nice-to-have” category. It’s something they know has potential, but many still haven’t taken the time to invest in it as a legitimate channel to sell a boat. After all, with phone, email, and now texting available to help bridge the communication divide between buyer and seller, is there really a need for salespeople to add video to that list as well? The short answer: Heck yes!
We’ve introduced video to dealers as a tool to market and sell boats over the past few years at MRAA’s annual conference, Dealer Week. However, this current interruption in our sales process is the push needed to make the dealer use it and make them more comfortable with this tool. I’m certain that when things get back to normal, lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis will change the way we sell boats.
Even though texting has impacted the way we sell by making it possible to better connect with boat buyers, there’s still no replacing a face-to-face — especially when a salesperson is trying to get a deal over the finish line. Text messages and emails are time-efficient communication methods but are inefficient persuasion methods. Video chat can help you re-create product presentations and therefore make it easier to gain your customers’ trust, tap into their emotions, and help create mental ownership.
One of the main reasons customers still hesitate to buy online is because they can’t always see the product they will get. Your online photos will make for good lead generation, but people have learned to be suspicious of good-looking photos. There is nothing more powerful than a face-to-face conversation when it comes to building trust. And one of the big advantages of video chat is that you can showcase your boats live. It requires preparation beforehand, but it can go a long way.
So, I have prepared for you some best practices for using FaceTime or similar apps for boat sales. This and our “Lights, Camera, ACTION PLAN” will help you make sure you look professional and not like an amateur when on a video call.
1. The Equipment
I’ve heard and I’ve experienced first-hand that an iPad might be the tool of choice to make your video call, if you have one on-hand. That being said, go with the device in your collection that has the newer, faster processor and the better camera. While the iPad is nice for its larger screen and is easier to keep stationary, a device with a better picture that focuses faster and allows for lower lighting will be your best device for the job.
2. The Lighting
Speaking of lighting, pay attention to the basic rules of photography/videography. They are:
- Check your lighting and your background.
- Always try to show the boat on a neutral one-color background so it instantly pops and grabs their attention. Lighting is always really important and will be your friend.
- If you are inside, turn ALL the lights on.
- If you’re outside and if practical, move the boat into the sun. Remember, we said, if practical — not “if you’re not feeling lazy!”
3. The Background
Consider the background and tidiness of the boat.
- Ideally, the boat should be isolated, in the water, by itself without other boats in the background to distract your customer’s attention.
- After years of coaching dealers on taking pictures of boats for their web listings, we’ve seen all the background blunders including, dumpsters, rusty chain-link fences, and poorly maintained marina equipment in the shot.
- Not to mention staging a smaller boat beside a larger boat that immediately dwarfs the customer’s dream boat!
These points are important when you’re selling high-end products. People expect the boat that they are considering to look better than average, and they won’t take into consideration the fact that lighting or location might be the reason it doesn’t look as good as it should.
- Run some tests beforehand to see how your boat looks on another team member’s phone before it’s show time.
You also need to think about how you will present your boat.
- Remember, these video calls are not product walkthrough videos and shouldn’t be organized the same way.
- Determine what kind of buyer you have and customize your presentation accordingly.
- Chances are, before a prospect will commit to a FaceTime call with you, you’ve already connected via email or phone. Hopefully if the connection began via email or chat, the conversation was moved to the phone so important information could be shared, like:
- What’s important to them about the boat they are considering?
- Do they have a boat now?
- What they like about their boat or other boats they are considering.
- Or, what they don’t like about their boat or other boats of consideration.
- Not to mention the important relationship things like, family, occupation, how they would use the boat, their pets, and favorite teams!
- The more you know about your customer and their reasons for buying a boat the better you video call will go.
- So, before you open your app and dial up the customer, you might want to jot down some notes on what you want to cover, based on what you know and practice doing so before the call.
6. Look Your Best
- When you have your notes prepared, practice your presentation with a co-worker to make certain that the message is coming across the video call well.
- Make sure you don’t stumble into bad lighting! Avoid spotlights, backlighting and other concentrated light sources which can throw off the exposure with overexposed hotspots or underexposed shadows.
- Consider getting a stand for your phone. This is a good idea for a few reasons:
- It frees up your hands so you can demonstrate some of the features on the boat.
- It prevents you from creating a lot of motion for the viewer, which can lead to sea sickness!
- It prevents the phone from moving around and creating a lot of handling noise that gets picked up in the audio mic.
- Speaking of mics, consider using earbuds to hear and speak during your call. This will keep the audio level consistent for when you are moving around.
- Lastly, check the mirror! Even though this is a video call make sure to look polished and professional, you don’t want to start that call with cappuccino foam on your face! FaceTime isn’t the most flattering thing in the world, you MUST make sure you look as together as possible before you initiate a video conversation.
- So, wear your branded polo, nametag, touch up the cosmetics, smooth down that cowlick, clean the spinach from your teeth, etc.
These might seem like details for you right now but going the extra mile here can make a big difference. Remember that when you sell boats you are often selling a lifestyle, a dream that is as important as the boat in itself. Look at Apple for example and how the Apple stores look. The design is built to create a modern, high-end atmosphere around the products. You can replicate the same on a video chat and sell the ING in BOATING.
What are YOU doing to win the virtual video sales game?