All Boats On Sale!

You will have to forgive my lack of posts recently but I was enjoying a brief holiday in beautiful Kelowna, BC. After driving 11 hours yesterday I am back at home, back at work, and life has returned to normal (well, as normal as life gets I suppose). I had a wonderful time away but it is always nice to be home.

Since I started writing this blog I began looking at aspects of my life through a different lens. I have become increasingly aware that some of my observations can be related to the sales profession and hopefully, make for an interesting read. Although I managed to turn my “work brain” off during my vacation, I made sure to keep my “blog brain” on and open to my surroundings. As a result, I’ve planned subsequent posts based on some of my observations.

For the latter part of our vacation we rented a condo on the north end of Kelowna. It was quiet and secluded, and we enjoyed being away from the busyness of downtown. The disadvantage was that in order for us to go grocery shopping, go to the lake or the spray park, or even to go out for dinner, we needed to pack (note: a 17 month old always requires “stuff”) the truck and drive anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the drive and it offered extra opportunities to take in the scenic surroundings.

Given the number of times we made the trek each day, I couldn’t help but notice a sign posted along the fence line of a particular boat dealership. It was a two-sided “temporary sign” where the owner can add block letters to spell out any message they desire. The dealership utilized their creativity and repeated their message on both sides making sure it was visible by travelers going either direction. The sign read:

ALL BOATS

ON SALE

BEST PRICE

TODAY

It seemed every time I drove by this sign, day after day, I became more frustrated. ALL of the boats are on sale? And TODAY is the best price? What about yesterday’s price? How about tomorrow’s, will that be EVEN better? You see where I’m going.

I’m sure the reality (or something similar) was the dealership decided it would be an easier/more cost-effective marketing strategy to buy a sign, make it and then leave it there to rot. But what message does that send? What is the perception of those driving by? It’s almost a certainty that the sign has added awareness that this establishment sells boats, has likely prompted people to enter the dealership, and perhaps even led to a boat purchase. However I am willing to bet that not a single boat sale was made STRICTLY based on the fact that “All Boats On Sale, Best Price Today”. No one is really that naïve are they? People can see the letters have faded by excess sun exposure right?!

Despite my frustration by the dealership’s (perceived) misrepresentations, it got me thinking.

How often do we, in sales, “lure” our prospects with price? How often do we add a “limited time offer” to entice purchases? Why do we play these games with our prospects? THEY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON! For those who desire long-term growth and stability in sales, THIS IS A TRAP! What’s worse is that we set it for ourselves! Sure you may get an order and you might see some immediate “results”, but I guarantee you will run yourself ragged having to constantly outbid your competition.

To be successful in sales and to grow your book of business, you have to first be excellent at developing relationships and creating value. Price becomes obsolete(-ish) if you prove you are a credible ally and can provide superior value for your solution.

That sign reminded me that there is no short cut to success in sales. There is no quick remedy to meet quota. As a sales professional, you owe it to your customers to do more work and be better than “All Boats On Sale, Best Price Today”.

Am I reading too much into this? Am I the only one offended by this sign?

Let me know what you think.

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