"Sew one button doesn't make you a tailor. Cook one meal doesn't make you a chef, but f** a horse and you will be a horse f**er for the rest of history!" Elon Musk. 

I had the chance to see him at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix last year. This guy is absolutely fascinating.

Let me share with you a few facts about him:

  • Musk is worth over 10 billion Dollars.
  • His goal in life is to make human an interplanetary species!
  • He is the founder or Tesla Motors, Space X, Paypal & Solar City (all of which are billion Dollar companies).
  • He was the real-life inspiration of the Iron Man character Tony Stark.

I recently read his biography by Ashlee Vance: "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future"

Here is a quick summary of his life's main achievements:

Musk is known to be one of the most successful and innovative entrepreneurs worldwide.

He was born in South Africa 44 years ago. He coded his first video game at the age of 12 and sold it for $500. He later came to the US and attended the University of Pennsylvania to get two bachelor degrees in economics and physics. He was later admitted to Stanford for a PHD in Applied Physics but dropped out 2 days after starting classes to pursue his chances in the dot com internet boom.

His first company was Zip2 (provider of local content for major newspapers). The company was sold 3 years later for $307 million (Musk was 28 and got $22M from this first deal).

Right after selling Zip2, he decided to launch a new business. He started X.com who later became Paypal which revolutionized online banking. In 2002, eBay bought Paypal for $1.5 billion and Elon Musk received $165 million in eBay stock from the deal.

In 2002, he started a company called Space-X (Space Exploration Technologies) and became a member of the Mars Society. Musk had always been interested and fascinated by rocket science and space exploration, so he decided that his new goal would be to make human an interplanetary species.


To this date, SpaceX has been the first private company to launch a rocket into space outside of a nation or government.  The company made history again in May 2012 when its Dragon Spacecraft attached to the International Space Station, exchanged cargo payloads and returned safely to Earth. Space X secured billions of dollars in contracts from NASA and other governments, corporations and organizations. This completely disrupted the space industry.

But because space and online banking wasn't enough, Musk decided to revolutionize the automotive industry and cofounded Tesla Motors in 2004, a company who builds electric vehicles.


The company has successfully launched the Tesla Roadster, Model S and most recently, the Model X.

Tesla projects a production of half a million vehicles per year. That would require today’s entire worldwide production of lithium ion batteries. To respond to this demand, they created the famous Giga Factory in Nevada to supply enough batteries to support their vehicles demands.


Tesla also launched a new branch called Tesla Energy, which is a battery pack designed to help home owners or businesses store solar or backup energy and create independence from the utility grid.

And finally, in 2006, Elon Musk co-founded SolarCity, a photovoltaic products, and services company with his cousin. Solar city is currently the largest solar panel provider in the US.

What lessons can we learn from Elon Musk?

We could learn hundreds of boat sales marketing lessons from Musk, but today I decided to focus on only one of them: How to leverage our existing client base to increase sales.

There are ultimately 2 ways you can achieve this. 

The first is to leverage referrals so we will look at the different types.
The second is how to leverage your client base to literally sell your products for you.

We will take an example from a brilliant email that Elon Musk recently sent to current Tesla owners.

1) Referrals

It is well know that one of the best ways to do business is to leverage referrals.

We can divide referrals into 3 categories:

Passive Referrals: Meaning somebody calls you up and says, “Hey, my brother just bought a new boat, and he said I should give you a call to come and see what you’ve got.”
So, it’s happening without you really doing anything to make it happen. Everybody gets those kinds of referrals.

Reactive Referrals: This is where somebody calls you up and says, “Hey, my brother John is thinking about buying a new boat. You should give him a call.” Now, you have to react to that referral and do something to make it happen.

Orchestrated Referrals: This is where the real value is, where the real opportunity is; the only type of referral that you can control 100% is the orchestrated referral, where you are asking for and getting a very specific type of referral.

Have you ever heard someone exclaim that they just had the best meal in their lives or watched the most moving film ever? Yes, many times, simply because after a great buying experience, the consumer is always happy to share the experience with their friends. Turn this into your advantage during this moment of excitement after a fantastic consumer experience; create a situation to orchestrate referrals right when your customer is delighted about your product or service. If you wait too long for it, it will not work.

2) Using your clients as a sales force:

Referrals are great but you are still the one doing the sale so there is something even better: When your customers do the sales for you.

This is exactly what Elon Musk brilliantly did at Paypal a few years ago and is doing again at Tesla today.

Here is an email that Elon sent to his Tesla owners recently:

"Word of mouth has always been a major part of how Tesla sales have grown. When I meet Tesla owners, one of the first things they often tell me is how they have convinced many others to buy the car.

As you may already know, Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements or product placement. Maybe by doing so we could sell more cars, but I don’t like the idea of trying to trick people into buying a product by false association. If you see somebody famous driving a Model S, it is because they genuinely like the car. If you see it in a movie or TV show, it is because the people associated with that production genuinely like the car.

Besides word of mouth, another way that our cars are sold is through stores. These will always be important to allow people to check out new models and ask our product specialists detailed questions. However, stores are quite expensive to set up and operate. In reviewing the Tesla cost of sales, we found that it is approximately $2,000 to sell a car through our stores, higher in some regions and lower in others.

Both ways of reaching potential customers are important, but, if we can amplify word of mouth, then we don’t need to open as many new stores in the future. So, we are going to try an experiment. This is similar to the customer growth program that I worked on at PayPal/X.com back in ’99. What worked for PayPal may not work for Tesla, but it is worth trying, as the net result would be lowering our costs by $2,000, allowing us to give that money to our customers.

From now through October 31st, if someone buys a new Model S through your link (http://ts.la/joe8505), they will get $1,000 off the purchase price and you will get a $1,000 credit in your Tesla account, which can be applied to a future car purchase, service charge or accessories. To put some limits on the experiment, each Tesla owner can grant a maximum of ten $1,000 discounts."

So what boat sales marketing lesson could you learn from Elon’s email?

What will you do to leverage your existing client base to increase boat sales?

Remember that the easiest way to increase business is to nurture your existing clients.  Not doing so will cost you a lot, because after all, if you lose just 20% of your clients in one year, you need to increase your sales by 30% the year after to get 10% increase in business!

For more Boat Sales Marketing Lesson go to: http://yachtsalesacademy.com/blog