A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Responding to sales leads

I’m not in the market for a boat right now, but if I were, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Rob Lyons at Ocean House Marina in Charlestown, R.I.

Last week, on deadline, I was frantically searching for a photo of a specific model of Hurricane ski boat and went to the manufacturer’s Web site to find one. In order to download the company brochure, I had to type in my contact information. So I did, then went about finding the image I needed.

As I went back to working on the story, my phone rang. It was Rob. He had received my contact information from Hurricane and was following up.

This was only 45 minutes after I sent in my contact information to the manufacturer’s site.

I explained to him who I was and why I had sent my information. Even though I wasn’t buying a boat, Rob helped me out with a photo.

At the end of the same day, I got an e-mail from Ocean House Marina telling me about its in-water boat show that weekend and inviting me to come and test a Hurricane, or call with any questions.

Back in February, at Soundings Trade Only’s Editorial Board meeting in Miami, John Lintvet, CEO of Channel Blade Technologies, said his company studied how businesses respond to leads, and the results were not all positive.

The average response time to a lead is 31 hours. “That has to change,” he said, in order to remain competitive.

“There’s a huge opportunity in front of us,” he said. Dealers and manufacturers that respond swiftly to consumers are more likely to survive and form strong relationships with customers.

Clearly, Rob and Ocean House Marina got the message.

— Beth Rosenberg
Associate editor, Soundings Trade Only


3 comments on “Responding to sales leads

  1. Sue Morgan

    Hi Beth: You and I sat together at the MMa conference when this same issue was discussed. As the Marketing Director for three marinas in South Florida, I agree totally with that turnaround response time is critical. We make it a priority at each of our marinas to do just that, respond immediately if not sooner. Many times we receive a note from the potential client thanking us for responding so quickly. Obviously we’re in total in agreement.
    Have a great day.

  2. Gary Dobrindt

    The Boat Center in Madison CT and Charlestown RI responds in minutes of getting a lead unless the lead comes in in the middle of the night.
    Average time including night leads is two hrs and 30min.

  3. Dick Mulvey

    Responding to customer leads generated on the internet is critical. With the pervasive
    nature of opportunities on-line, and boat manufacturers who no longer enforce dealer territory agreements, the early bird will at least be in front of the line. The response
    must be well thought out. It is no longer he who is first that wins, so many other factors
    effect consumer decisions. Buyers are looking for immediate delivery with complete
    options, service incentives, free slip etc. Just a great price from fly by night marina will not win the race. What is really the tougher issue now are the boat shows. So many
    attendees at these shows are no longer buyers. Brokers are spending countless hours
    calling customers who have no ability to buy, and attend these shows for pure entertainment. Most boat manufacturers do a very poor job of qualifying any of these leads. If they can fog a mirror, sign them up. This must be improved!
    Dick Mulvey Sailboatsails@Gmail.com

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