Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

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.  

Discover Boating gets it right

Here’s an early Christmas present to open. As you do, you’ll learn that boaters are leaving faster than we can replace them. Fifty-four percent of first-time boat buyers in 2005 have bailed out. Between 2000 and 2015, first-time new-boat buyers dropped from 175,000 to 69,000.

Environmental legislation we can agree on

I like to write about something Congress does that we can applaud, although it happens about as often as Colin Kaepernick is named “Patriot of the Year” by the local VFW. However, sometime this week President Obama is expected to sign the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, legislation that holds some provisions that can […]

Reasons to give thanks for the holidays

As an avid boater and angler, I’m a conservationist and an environmentalist, albeit not one of those raving activists that are more unconnected from reality than Willy Wonka in a chocolate factory. Still, I am one to applaud the good news of actions that can legitimately protect our oceans and waterways.

Miami Marine Stadium set to be restored

What was once an iconic venue for events ranging from Jimmy Buffett concerts to powerboat races, the venerable Miami Marine Stadium is closer today to restoration than ever before with the recent Miami commissioners’ vote to put up $45 million.

RBFF scores successful pilot program in Georgia

When it comes to the future of boating and fishing, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation president Frank Peterson was on point when he said “The boating and fishing industries must focus on the three Rs: recruitment, retention and reactivation.”

Fort Myers Show is an all-around success

Take four days of Chamber of Commerce-type weather. Frame it with the city’s beautiful Harborside Center & Yacht Basin. Recognize it’s become one of the largest such events on Florida’s Gulf Coast and you have the Southwest Florida Marine Industry Association’s Fort Myers Boat Show.

Don’t ignore the new overtime rules

We’re now a little more than two weeks away from the new federal regulations that will affect more than 4.2 million paychecks. And it’s likely that dealership owners have been procrastinating, focused instead on the Northern winter haulout, fall boat shows and the like consuming their days.

Many improvements come to the Miami boat show

With the successful Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show now in our wake and the opening today of the popular United States Powerboat Show in Annapolis, eyes are already focused on the iconic Progressive Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, as well as the revamped Yachts Miami Beach.

How to get customers to buy more

Your customers exhibit the loyalty for which every dealer hopes. However, when you seriously analyze your sales results, you don’t really love your numbers. They’re flat. What’s up?

Establishing a customer-centric culture

You’ve made a genuine effort to clearly define a customer-centric culture in your dealership and introduced it at a special all-team presentation. But they just don’t seem to get it and the truth is you were bound to fail.

Loyalty or profits: what’s more important?

Dealership profitability or customer loyalty: which is more important? Also, major changes announced by states surrounding Lake Michigan are an example of the double-edged sword that invasive species can be to fisheries.

How to win first-time buyers

We need more first-time buyers. Is there anyone in our industry that disagrees with me on that? But let’s be clear: to get them will require an understanding of who they are and how they roll.

MIASF leads in giving back

Last weekend I joined others from my church to paint a house as part of CareFest USA, a community service day that unites businesses, churches and community organizations with hundreds of volunteers to beautify and repair homes and beautify neighborhoods.

‘Take Me Fishing’ is vital for dealers

If you sell fishing boats of any size and style and you’ve never taken time to look over www.takemefishing.org, you haven’t seen one of the most comprehensive consumer campaigns that directly supports our industry and offers dealers great content.

The man who sold hot dogs

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of TV reporters and presidential candidates trying to convince us the economy offers us less opportunity than a Somalian smuggler. And, while we’re at it, let’s hear it for those so-called economists (cough, cough) that claim the economy could tank at any minute.

Bill could mean the end of swipe-fee reform

In a first step to jettison parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act, the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday voted for the Financial CHOICE Act of 2016. Dodd-Frank, you’ll recall, was Congress’s response to the 2008 financial debacle.

Tampa show hits a grand slam

The Tampa Boat Show knocked it out of the park last weekend. But, most importantly from an industry perspective, it’s a solid indicator that the fall shows slated for the next two months will see bigger crowds and more sales.

Economic impact and the new overtime rules

The completion of an economic impact study by the Marine Industries Association of Florida is a model for others, while the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas will be tackling the new overtime regulations in an upcoming webinar.

Algae problems have run amuck

A regular reader of Dealer Outlook once commented: “Norm, I can’t believe you are for more regulations.” He was right. I’m definitely not. But when it’s becomes necessary to get less talk and more action, regulation could be the best answer.

Are boat shows kick-starting fall sales?

Concerned that July’s disappointing sales are a harbinger of things to come? It appears the drop will be more of a blip than a trend if the early successes at the August boat shows on the Great Lakes are indicators.

What’s the value of our waterways?

Many cities and counties along the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Florida are having a good time deciding how to spend the money they’re receiving in settlements from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010.

Boat shows are still the dominant marketing platform

“There is no way we could have talked to so many people without being here,” said Rod Bensz, director of sales and owner of B&E Marine, while winding down his exhibit at last weekend’s Progressive Chicagoland In-Water Boat Show. He captured the importance boat shows play in every dealer’s marketing plan.

Overcoming the cry of ‘your price is too high’

As you read this, salespeople on the docks for today’s opening of the Progressive Chicagoland In-Water Boat Show are likely grappling with this very issue. Let’s face it: we’re not an industry that builds cheap boats. So what’s a salesperson to do?

Is there a middle class in our future?

Reagan Haynes’ report yesterday on MarineMax’s experience that the middle class is a dwindling part of its customer base is disturbing, especially when viewed in the context of the sluggish recovery from the sales plunge of 2008-09 for our industry.