Yacht shows cater to some of the wealthiest clientele on the planet, from the royalty of Monaco to business magnates in California. Yachts — and boats in general — are products with extremely strong value propositions, which are always in demand.
Despite all the advantages that yacht sellers have, the goal of exhibitors at yacht shows is often very murky. In business to client sales, it is important that you know the exact desired outcome of your client interactions.
At a boat show, exhibitors are always hoping for that elusive immediate sale. Anything exhibitors can do to cultivate new clients is highly valuable — in the future, sure, but perhaps even more importantly in the current moment. Future sales opportunities are great in terms of developing your pipeline for revenue, but they are never guaranteed.
Dealers and manufacturers are both looking for immediate opportunities to make sales at the show. However, quick sales on the docks are not the only goal of sellers — just like they should never be the only goal of most (big-ticket) B2C sales.
The Dealer’s Goal
Yacht dealers sell many different brands of boats. The majority of their effort is focused on sales, and on appealing to clients — not on brand. If they ever place emphasis on brand, it is because the brand of the boat already has a reputation for quality, luxury, or speed.
Dealers also face a conundrum when pushing brand. Because they do not have exclusive access to any specific boat brands, they run the risk of having clients run off to purchase the same branded boat from another dealer. Thus, their focus is much more on sales — offering the lowest prices, added features to sweeten the purchase, and excellent customer service.
The Manufacturer’s Goal
Manufacturers who exhibit at yacht and boat shows have a much different goal than dealers. Of course, they are also going for immediate and future sales — at the core, the motivation is the same. However, they also have a strong drive to work on their branding.
Which dealer a customer purchases their product from doesn’t matter much to most manufacturers. They’re at the show to exhibit their brand — cultivate name recognition, brand reputation, and create interest in the boating or yachting community. Sales is the desired outcome that arises after they have successfully executed their branding strategy.
Most trade shows — including boat shows — have exhibitors that offer products or services that are related to the main event. For instance, dock repair or construction companies, detailing services, and maritime interior design specialists.
The goal of these “other” exhibitors is also rather murky. It’s difficult to measure the success of these exhibitors, because it seems that their main goal is to generate interest. Someone thinking of purchasing a boat may also need a dock built, or someone who is simply a boating enthusiast might be interested in purchasing a painting of the ocean, courtesy of a local artist.
These exhibitors tend to rely on runoff business from the main attraction — boats. Their industries rely on a much bigger parent industry — so oftentimes, it seems like marketing and messaging are lacking in these “other” business showings.
Without a clear goal, your plan of action can get bogged down by extraneous considerations. Be sure that you know what you need to do to achieve a specific desired outcome — whether it’s immediate sales, future sales, or branding.
- Do you go into a sale or potential sale with an exact goal in mind?
- Do you ever focus too much on branding — when branding isn’t what’s going to close the sale?
- Have you clearly articulated your goals to your team? To yourself?