1. Start planning 2-3 months before the show
I cannot emphasize this enough. 2-3 MONTHS early sounds like a lot but when crunch time comes around (as it always does) you will thank yourself for being ahead of the game. A good place to start is with the following 2 items:
a. Create or Modify your boat show planning checklist. If you don’t have one already, create a checklist – complete with task assignments, deadlines, and budgets – that can be shared with your team. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and each person knows what to do, by when, and how much money is allotted toward a task.
b. Establish and Schedule your invitation strategy. Once the next best boat show begins, you want as many interested people to visit your booth as possible. Some methods to draw attendees are flyers, social media, email, personal phone call invitations, or some combination of those. The sooner you get the details of your invitation strategy scheduled, the better.
Schedule your Boat Show Call Campaign
Give yourself and your team plenty of time to plan ahead. Boat shows famously come up fast and many dealers are left scrambling for last-minute boat displays, prints, etc. To minimize the chaos days before your show, begin planning months in advance.
2. Give your team a Tangible Action Strategy
It is wise to create a guideline or a “boat show manual” for your staff. A manual can be very helpful in establishing important information and a series of standard procedures your staff should follow when working on the boat show. Such a guideline can include showtimes, display layout, staff placement, uniform regulations, buyer signs, steps to follow when encountering a potential buyer, pricing strategies and limits, and a follow-up process for interested leads that didn’t purchase at the show.
3. Train With Salespeople
In addition to a guidebook of sorts, another way to prepare your salespeople is to train them prior to the show. Since they will be the main points of contact during your show, a training session could help better prepare them to perform at their highest capacity at the event. Ideas for this include sales training videos, role reversal practice, written sales pitches to review, or pricing overview days prior to the event so they are fully prepared for anything that comes their way.
Note: During the show, each day should begin with a sales meeting. This time can be used to address questions, go over what happened the day before, the day’s goals, current numbers, and inventory, etc.
4. Invite your customers.
I touched on this briefly in the first tip, and it is important enough to deserve a section of its own. Since you will pour hours of planning into your boat show, you want people to show up for it. Your local radio may advertise the show as a whole but it is up to the dealer to reach out and state that they will be at the Boat Show. The most effective way to invite customers to visit you is through a Call Campaign. A Call Campaign involves calling each contact in your database, thanking them for being a customer and personally inviting them to the show. Those contacts feel like they got a special invite and are MUCH more likely to come to see your booth. An added benefit of calling your contacts is it opens the door to discover other information like purchase interests, parts or service needs, re-locations, and other contact information updates.
There are other ways to invite customers but nothing so far has proven to be more successful than a Calling Campaign for attendance turn-out. Scheduling your campaign a few months prior to your show will guarantee an appropriate time slot. As boat show season nears, they get more and more popular so it helps to get in early. AND, it’s one less thing for you to do in prep for your show.