Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

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, 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.

Giving back is important in business

I watched baseball’s All-Star Game Tuesday night and, while I enjoyed seeing so many of this year’s top ball players, I was most impacted by the pause in the game when everyone stood up to hold a card with the name of someone for whom they were “Standing Up To Cancer.”

Florida fishing-boat customers under attack

“Fishing boat sales in Florida plummet.” That’s a headline I hope never to write, but it’s a very real possibility for dealers who sell fishing boats if anti-fishing interests succeed in plans to deny us access to large areas along Florida’s coast.

Leadership changes at SOBA

Due to a technical problem, please click here to be redirected to the July 28 Dealer Outlook blog “Is there a middle class in our future?” Bernice McArdle is ending an outstanding 16-year career with the National Marine Manufacturers Association in which she has served in multiple key positions. While her list of accomplishments is […]

Does anyone read your emails?

These days, any marketer can throw up a tweet with a hashtag, post a blog or tag something on Facebook. But a successful marketer knows that email is still the best way to reach out.

Discover Boating lands major TV exposure

If you follow Dealer Outlook, you already know I’m a big believer in our industry’s Discover Boating campaign. And when I see multiple morning segments on the nation’s No. 1 cable news network touting how great boating is, it reminds me most dealers probably don’t see the continuous work the Discover Boating team does to […]

Overtime rule and swipe fees endanger dealers

If you think the matter of the new overtime rules or the amount you pay as a retailer in swipe fees are all finally settled, think again. There’s a move in Congress against the new overtime rules (do I hear applause?) while the reductions in swipe fees might go out the window (boos and jeers).

Dealers should consider attending IBEX

The announcement last week that registration is now open for the 2016 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference should resonate with both dealers and manufacturers for two reasons.

Why nothing beats word-of-mouth referrals

These days, dealers face a time-consuming process in selecting what marketing media to use to acquire new customers. Technology keeps growing that list with each outlet possessing unique characteristics, though not all would likely be effective. 

Overtime regulations and the spread of E15

It hasn’t been a good week if you’re a believer that businesses are already overburdened with regulations and that the potential for our customers to misfuel their boats with E15 is becoming more alarming.

Tell a vivid story with video

Marine dealers — at least those who are good at digital marketing — use the web frequently these days. However, the web was built on words and today’s Internet is built on video.

Are millennials really the future of boating?

It’s official. Millennials, those 18-to-34-year-olds, now exceed baby boomers as the nation’s largest population group. It’s a demographic that boating needs to attract if we’re to see serious growth in the foreseeable future.

Ohio event confirms relevance of boat shows

“There were gray skies, cool temperatures, brisk northeast winds off a cold Lake Erie and some unwelcomed showers, but the boat show was very upbeat, well attended and brought in ready buyers,” says Tom Mack of South Shore Marine in Huron.