All sales dealerships go through down times, and boat dealerships are no exception. But that doesn’t mean that your sales team should be sitting at their desks waiting for their phones to ring. This is a great time to get plenty of other things done.
Here are 5 things your sales team should be doing during downtime periods.
1. Set some goals
Any salesperson who wants to do well in the industry will have a list of goals that they constantly work toward. This is not just, ‘I want to make $50,000 this year', sort of goals. Have your sales team create some very specific goals on how many units they want to sell, how many new customers they want to gain, how many calls they want to make each day, etc. Once they have a solid plan in place, they’ll be able to reach those income goals much faster. There are many tools and resources that can be used to set goals for the year, both online and offline. This helps keep your entire sales force motivated all year long, and can provide some friendly competition within your dealership.
2. Call past clients
If sales are down and your team is feeling like they’re in a slump, have them call past clients. This is a great time to check in with them to find out what kind of feedback they have about the products. It’s also an ideal time to ask if they need accessories or other items. Extend these phone calls to potential customers. This is a great time to prospect and keep in touch with those who may be thinking about making a purchase in the near future. Have your sales team come up with other ways to prospect as well; trade shows, social media and networking events are all great options. Building relationships with clients, not just selling to them, is what increases profits.
3. Learn, learn, learn
A good salesperson never stops learning, and there is no shortage of subjects to learn about when it comes to sales or boats. Make sure your sales team educated themselves on new boat models, accessories, warranties and everything else related to items they sell. After all, your sales team needs to understand exactly what they are selling, and if potential customers sense that they don’t know what they’re talking about, they will head on over to the competition. your sales team should also be constantly learning about the sales process, how to improve their craft and dozens of other sales-related techniques. Downtime's are a great time to send some or all of your staff on training classes. Don’t think of it as an expense – think of it as an investment in your dealership. You’ll be thankful when your team outdoes the competition!
4. Team building
While it’s true that your salespeople are all competing against each other on some level, without a cohesive unit your dealership will appear segregated and morale will suffer. Offer some team building exercises to boost morale and confidence within your sales department. There are a variety of activities to participate in, from a few hours to entire weekends. Try rock climbing, afternoon picnics with games like tug-of-war, creative drawing competitions, or even foot races. A really cool idea? Gather your team together to do some community service – organize a beach clean-up or participate in an adopt-a-family program around the holidays. Find something that falls in line with your company’s values and mission and get everyone involved. You may even get some free publicity. It’s a win-win for all.
5. Stand out from the competition
Successful salespeople know how to set themselves apart from the competition. You may be the only boat dealer in town; or, you may be competing against 10 others. Either way, people will do business with those they trust and like. But you have to find ways to make sure that people will walk through your door. What makes you different? How can your sales team let potential customers know that they should purchase from you, instead of your competition? This takes some planning and knowledge. You and your sales team will have to understand your niche market, your target audience, and will need to understand what makes them buy.
A slow period in your sales cycle is a great time for your sales team to hone their skills, look for new prospects, and keep in touch with past customers. When you give your team the tools and resources they need to succeed, they will have more confidence when customers walk in the door, and be able to close the sale more often than not. Sales, more than any other career, takes plenty of motivation, positive self-talk and hard work each and every day. Building these skills during slow periods will help increase sales all year long!