All Boats On Sale! – by Chris Goodrow

For the latter part of my family’s recent vacation, we rented a condo on the north end of Kelowna, British Columbia. 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 head off on at least a ten-minute drive. 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 could add block letters to spell out any message he or she desired. The dealership utilized their creativity and repeated their message on both sides, making sure it was visible by travelers going either direction. The faded lettering on the sign read:





It seemed that 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 that the dealership decided it would be an easier or 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 the sign reads “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 those of us in sales, “lure” our prospects using the 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 somewhat obsolete if you prove you are a credible ally and can provide superior value for your solution.

That sign reminded me that there is no shortcut to success in sales. There is no quick remedy to meeting your 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”.

Or perhaps I’m reading too much into this?


Chris Goodrow, author of the blog Sales, Life and Leadership, is a former math teacher turned sales professional. Chris is passionate about developing sales leaders by helping them plan and execute a strategic approach. He believes that sales, like any other skill set, can be taught if a person has the right attitude and drive to succeed. Chris currently manages an Inside Sales team in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. To read more stories with Chris’s unique perspective, you can follow his writings at


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