I lurk here more than I post, and sorry for the long read below, but I thought some of you might find this entertaining. I'm a Moomba owner and at the 2010 Atlanta Boat Show, I thought the Atlanta Marine booth was overwhelmed with people so I asked them if I could help out this year at the 2011 Atlanta Boat Show. They took me up on my offer and I’m very thankful they did as I had a fantastic time.
The show start time was pushed back on Thursday due to the snow & ice that fell in Atlanta last week. I debated on going at all, but decided to venture downtown since I had free access to the show. I figured it would be slow and afford me the opportunity to hang out in all of the booths and be able to check out all of the boats. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.
As I walked into the booth I asked, “What can I do?” In quick order I was handed a towel and some quick wax to give the boats a final wipe-down. It was then a scramble to get brochures stickered with the dealership name and contact info. The customers hit next and hit hard. I guessed many had “cabin fever” from being stuck at home for 3 or 4 days. It was non-stop talking about Supras & Moombas from 3:00 pm until almost 10:00 pm. It was an extremely fun experience and a huge rush when I was able to work with a young couple who ended up putting a deposit on a 2011 LSV.
When I got home, I sent the folks I had spoken with a “Thank You” email and contact info if they had additional questions. I grabbed a few hours sleep then was back on the road for the 10:00 am opening on Friday. The day started the same with a rush of prep activity and then the crush of people. It was non-stop activity from opening until 9:30-10:00 pm. The same pattern repeated itself on Saturday & Sunday. I was able to maybe steal away for 5 min each day to grab a cold Chik-fil-a sandwich or slice of pizza. Most days I sit behind a desk, so I was popping Advil to offset the soreness I had in my back, knees, ankles and feet from all of the standing and crawling in and out of the boats.
The best part of the show was being able to work side-by-side with the owners of Atlanta Marine and with Rick Tinker, President of Skier’s Choice. For those that have an opportunity to meet Rick, I am certain that you will be as impressed as I was, especially when you see how much passion he has. He was most gracious with his time and answered all the questions I asked and helped me with customers while also sharing stories about our families and boating activities.
For those of you that will be attending shows soon, I’d offer up the following. Please understand that the salespeople are working HARD. If you’re not really in the market, in other words a “looky loo” (just looking), let them know upfront and don’t monopolize their time asking 1,000 questions about the new features/options. If you want to put the new tower up & down – do it on your own and let the salesperson keep selling.
The worst part was dealing the “be backs” (as in “I’ll be back) and seeing people not take advantage of the great pricing and incentives Skier’s Choice offers during the show. In talking with the folks from Atlanta Marine and Rick, I can assure everyone that the incentives are real and can not/will not be available later in the season. Atlanta Marine and Skier’s Choice allow potential customers to provide a 100% refundable deposit that locks in the pricing. I couldn’t get over the people who said that they were ready to go, but wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
I’ll finish this up by admitting that this was an incredible experience and I hope that Atlanta Marine and Rick Tinker felt that I represented the dealership and Skier’s Choice brands in such a manner that they will invite me back again next year. I’d do it again in a second. I should mention that I didn’t ask for, nor do I expect to be compensated beyond the free admission. I wanted to take on a new challenge, step outside my comfort zone and see how I could do. I was humbled. I have been in sales/sales management since graduating from college and my close ratio was pathetic! I was only able to collect deposits on 2 boats, both LSV’s, out of the 50+ people I spoke with. Funny thing was I took the 1st deposit of the show and the last deposit of the show.