Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Gaining customer loyalty is no longer simple

If it was ever easy to cultivate customer loyalty, it’s no longer so, thanks to the Internet. Customers can now routinely research products, features, prices and competitors. Loyalty can be fleeting, customers unreliable and erratic. How, then, can dealers garner customer loyalty?

‘Vacation on Demand’ is a winning theme

In what might be the best theme yet to lead the industry’s national Discover Boating campaign this year, “Vacation on Demand” will really “sell” what boating is all about. Moreover, it’s a theme that every dealer can identify with, adapt and capitalize on.

Cuban announcement could impact boating

President Trump will head for Miami Friday where he’s expected to roll back some of the Obama administration’s initiatives to improve relations with Cuba, apparently siding with those who oppose détente and putting aside calls from U.S. businesses that see Cuba as a lucrative future market.

Future talk: kids in boating and red snapper

Today we recognize two organizations — the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association and Keep Florida Fishing — for reaching out to support boating’s future, and seeking a much-needed change in fishery management that has shortchanged recreational anglers.

Selling summertime on the water

Dealers don’t sell boats. They provide vessels for great experiences. So while all dealers do this all year around, it’s fitting to recognize that this week (June 3-11) is National Boating and Fishing Week with and a chance to call special attention to the good times our industry generates.

Make your email work for you

Every day I go to my email and I realize I’m on a lot of lists. I admit I subscribe to many marine-related and general-business websites and newsletters. A lot from dealers. But when I see each day’s incoming email list, the real question is: How many will I open versus those sent unread to […]

The coming battle for federal bucks

President Trump this week sent his 2018 fiscal-year budget to Congress. As fast as it came to life, it’s gotten panned by Democrats and Republicans alike. And, while it’s loaded with a new wave of spending cuts, it really means nothing.

What Disney teaches about customer service

How do you define customer service? It’s all of the interactions between a customer and a dealership as the dealership aims to provide the right product during the sales/delivery process. And it’s so much more. Good customer service actually adds value to the product and strives to build an enduring relationship.

Danko takes the helm at the NMTC

Melissa Danko, executive director of the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey, took over the helm of the National Marine Trades Council at the group’s spring meeting Monday in Washington, D.C. The NMTC meeting coincided with the opening of the American Boating Congress.

Mark your voice heard today on E15

Dealers and their staff are taking time today to let U.S. senators know that adding more ethanol to America’s gas supply is unsupportable for the 12 million boats and millions of other off-road engines in use today.

Put pressure on the feds over red snapper quotas

Aside from pointing internationally recognized hand gestures at the National Marine Fisheries Service, recreational fishermen and the marine dealers that serve them need to say “enough is enough” and exert pressure on Congress to make changes in the way saltwater fisheries are managed.

Can augmented reality help with our tech shortage?

Facebook thinks we’ll be able to put on a headset and see a great combination of computer-generated images in our real-world surroundings. Meanwhile, General Electric sees a technician wiring a control box guided by line-of-sight instructions overlaid on the task by augmented reality (AR). Both are already working in the realm of AR and see […]

Three worthy causes for kids

Getting kids on the water, keeping them safe there and looking to provide long-term educational opportunities are among the outstanding initiatives of boating organizations that deserve recognition and, where applicable, duplication elsewhere. Here are three worthy ones:

The battle for boating interests in Michigan

I can’t count the times I have written that our marine trade associations do for dealers what they couldn’t hope to do by themselves. So I say that again and support it by citing what the Michigan Boating Industries Association is tackling these days.

RBFF seminar today on selling Hispanic customers

New Nielsen research concludes that the pace of growth in America of the Hispanic market is soaring in many areas. That’s why the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is holding a free webinar at 3 p.m. Eastern today that every dealer in areas I’m about to cite should attend.

For every dealer, it comes down to passion

One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, says: “Everything begins with leadership.” I agree. But looking one step further, I’m convinced that to be a successful leader requires a genuine daily passion for the boating business and the good that emanates from it.

The time for $1 trillion in infrastructure spending is now

Citing the lengthy process involved in building a “simple highway,” President Trump told 52 business leaders at the White House that he plans to cut red tape and jump-start infrastructure projects by eliminating more than 90 percent of the regulations involved while still providing for safety.

Cyberattacks can harm your dealership, too

It’s not likely that the Russians will launch a cyberattack on a boat dealer. It seems they have a proclivity for interfering in elections. But the truth is that the majority of small businesses like marine dealers are vulnerable cyberattack targets and most — 79 percent — do not have a cybersecurity plan.

How to lose a prospect in five easy lessons

The story you’re about to read is true. Only the names have been omitted because it’s never my goal in writing Dealer Outlook to embarrass anyone – unless it’s some bureaucrat handing down a policy that has less to justify its existence than an 8-track tape player.

Marine equipment thefts continue to plague Florida

The theft of outboard motors and electronics is an industry problem we don’t talk about much, but we should. That’s the position of the Marine Industry Association of Southwest Florida as it convened a special one-day forum to address thefts.

Dealers need to join the fight for recreational anglers

If you’re a dealer serving customers that fish the waters of the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, you’re under attack. That’s because your customers are engaged in what has become a never-ending fight to protect their opportunities to fish and you need to be engaged with them.

Hands-On Skills Training attracts thousands

It’s called Discover Boating’s Hands-On Skills Training (HOST). It has completed its fifth year and it’s been very successful when measured by the number of boaters — and wannabe boaters — that have participated. The total number is a whopping 6,665 participants at boat shows and dealerships comprised of 4,074 for powerboating classes and 2,591 […]

Will budget cuts hit the marine industry hard?

The economic enthusiasm for the Trump administration is quickly turning to concern about whose favorite programs will see serious cuts or disappear entirely. For the marine industry, it’s likely we’ll face hard decisions about where to put our legislative muscle and where to abandon a position that can’t succeed.

Why do customers leave us?

There are many who argue that the highest priority for a dealer should be attracting new customers. Indeed, no one can deny the importance of a stream of new prospects. But I would argue that it’s at least as important to retain existing customers. And in order to know the best way to do that, […]

Industry gains momentum in New Jersey

A strong boat show, reduced sales taxes, a sales tax cap and more money for dredging. These are just a few of the successes the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey has brought about for its members and it’s a great example of why every dealer and marina operator should be a member of their […]

Generation X is now our target audience

As a demographic, baby boomers are said to hold the most wealth while millennials are now the largest generation in America. Sandwiched in between is a relatively smaller — but likely more important — group to boating best known as Generation X.

Two solid signs for the future

Call them signs of the times or “good times to be in the boat business,” as National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said in his recent State of the Industry report in Miami.

Putting a bucket on your list

An Ohio dealership gives away 2,500 white buckets with its name and logo on them at the Progressive Mid-America Boat Show; a Bank of America study finds that Hispanic small business owners are more optimistic than their non-Hispanic counterparts.

Miami show’s new location is a huge success

After accomplishing the biggest relocation of a major show in marine industry history last year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association executed a second-year improvement plan in remarkable ways while dispelling any doubts about this iconic show’s permanent new home.

Grants make headway for Hispanic fishing community

Today I’m beginning five days of manning the Discover Boating and “Hands On Skills Training” activity at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show and I’m reminded of the importance to our industry of the growing Hispanic market, not just here in South Florida, but across America.

Virtual-reality boating is the wave of the future

It was a blustery 20 degrees, with snow on the ground and a frozen lake, when I walked into the showroom at Ohio’s Buckeye Sports Center to look over the new Super Air Nautique G-21. Its styling and dramatic surf graphics made the boat an immediate turn-on.

In one week, it’s all Miami

The Greater Miami area will become the epicenter of the recreational boating world one week from today when the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail opens in two locations in Miami, while Yachts Miami Beach will begin a similar five-day run over in Miami Beach.

Seven success tips worth consideration

If you’re like me, you enjoy listening to good motivational speakers or reading notes and articles that contain good ideas or adaptable tips. Here, then, are a few I’ve collected from some sources known and some not. Perhaps there’s a gem or two in here for you today:

Do your leads bear fruit after a show is over?

It’s been a while since we’ve seen so many boat shows see a surge in attendance, but it’s happening. And, while we’re talking shows, research by Discover Boating identifies some key mistakes dealers can make during and after the show.

The ‘millennial dilemmial’

Some millennials are burdened with student loan debts and earn less than expected, but enough of them are doing well to keep the industry’s boat sales prospects bright.

Cincinnati and Cleveland shows lead the pack

Cincinnati is dubbed the Queen City of Ohio but the title should be King City when it comes to attendance at the boat show that wrapped up last weekend. And in the northern part of the state, the Cleveland show also chalked up handsome gains.

Is swipe fee reform dead?

Last summer, Republicans took aim at financial reform by proposing legislative action to replace Dodd-Frank with the Financial Choice Act. The proposal included a repeal of the hard-won debit-card swipe fees reform that more fairly set what’s paid by retailers. Should we expect it to happen this year?

Sell ‘escape weekends’ to your prospects

I addressed the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association last Friday during the Progressive Mid-America Boat Show in Cleveland. I was happy to see the show going well, but my real pleasure was getting to talk to many dealers I have known for years. Their conversations and outlooks always give me perspectives […]

Cybersecurity can be a dealer’s problem

I’m not suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will order someone to hack into your computers, but the current media feeding frenzy over hacking brings into focus the fact that cybersecurity is a real risk for small businesses, including boat dealerships.

Hope ahead for the business of boating

If the opening weekend for the Houston International Boat Show is any indicator, the winter shows are going to see robust business. Meanwhile, there’s speculation that changes coming at the Environmental Protection Agency could have a positive impact on the ethanol debacle that’s hounded America’s boaters for years.

Don’t let your boat show layout get stale

After having produced more than 125 boat shows during my career, it should be no surprise I’m never far from the subject. With our important winter show circuit starting Friday in Houston and Denver, today I can’t help but focus on some thoughts for the show management staff.