Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Following up and raising prices

There likely aren’t two things that concern retail dealers more than developing a successful lead management process and determining when it’s good to raise prices. Both should be on the radar.

‘The General’ will open up IBEX

“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Former Army, Indiana and Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Bob Knight.

Tampa show continues on a roll

After an amazing breakthrough show last year with a 44 percent attendance increase, the Tampa Boat Show continued to set a good pace, albeit with an attendance increase last weekend that’s back down to more earthly growth.

When is it time to dump a customer?

We’ve always heard that “the customer is always right.” Why, if I look back at old blogs, I undoubtedly wrote those words, too. But when I did, I was wrong. The customer isn’t always right — or good for business.

Weather or not?

Answering the growing calls for more boater education, the United States Power Squadrons and BoatUS Foundation Wednesday released their newest online educational offering called “Weather for Boaters.”

Can attending IBEX help marine dealers?

If you’re like me, you’ve assumed that IBEX, the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibit & Conference, is just for boatbuilders. Maybe that’s been the case in the past. But another serious look at this year’s IBEX is in order because dealers can benefit from the many changes slated for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 event being held in [...]

Does the Internet waste work time?

Arguably, the Internet decreased face-to-face communications and caused serious changes in the way we socialize with friends and family. We don’t call; we text or email or post on Facebook. But if we assume the hours spent on the Internet are at the expense of friends and family, it appears we could be wrong.

Successful boat shows have a ‘new’ formula

With the industry’s long list of fall boat shows opening Thursday at the Progressive Michigan City In-Water Boat Show near Chicago, organizers are making changes that will cause thousands of visitors to pass through their gates around the country.

Women should be a target market

When it comes to selling boats to women, we’re not getting it done. At least that’s one conclusion I got from the excellent feature entitled “Band of Sisters” in the July issue of Soundings Trade Only by associate editor Reagan Haynes.

Can we reach millennials?

In the current issue of Soundings Trade Only, editor-in-chief Bill Sisson is spot-on when he cites things such as lack of time, student loans, less income and troubles finding good-paying jobs as major hurdles for millennials who we want to be buying our boats.

Dealer Outlook marks seven years

It was back in the summer of 2007. The phone rang and a lady on the other end said: “Now that you’ve retired from the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, we think you’re just the guy to start a blog for marine dealers.”

An argument for stricter cost control

Cost control is something we often consider in the context of budget cuts. But as a priority part of our business plan? Perhaps not. Still, if it can prove a successful strategy for an airline, it could be useful in a boat dealership.

Two recent boat shows prove momentum is building

A lot of spring rain isn’t necessarily welcomed in all parts of the country, but for dealers in the Houston area, rain could be making a big difference. At least that’s the feeling around the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston as organizers just wrapped up the 27th annual edition of the Houston Summer Boat [...]

Dealers need to stay vigilant in this economy

There’s no denying we continue to see modest improvement in boat sales as the economy delivers slow growth. But as dealers approach a new model year, attend dealer meetings and project orders, there are some clouds on the horizon that could upset any sustained growth and dealers should remain particularly alert to current issues and [...]

Swipe fees battle is still not over

When Yogi Berra uttered his famous “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you,” he could have been talking about the nation’s retailers and their courtroom loss in their quest for lower debit card swipe fees. Now the case could end up in the Supreme Court.

Good emails can still work

With all the talk about using social media in business today, one might assume that the good old email that started it all is now passé. That’s not necessarily so. Social media has its strengths. But email marketing is alive and well.

Dealers weigh in on boater education survey

The results are in from the recent survey conducted by the education task force of the Recreational Boating Leadership Council and there’s nearly unanimous belief among the 166 respondents that boater education and training are important to boat buyers (97 percent said yes, 3 percent no).

Boat buyers warned about picking dealer

“If you’re torn between two or three models from different brands, the quality of the dealership and its staff may well sway your decision,” Jim Hendricks advised readers in the February issue of Boating magazine.

Will demand follow recent economic indicators?

As we enter our best selling months, good news comes our way. Consumers are more optimistic; home equity loans indicate people are feeling wealthier; and there are expectations that pent-up demand alone could gives boat sales a good spring.

Have retailers lost the ‘swipe fee’ war?

In a blow to the nation’s retailers that have fought (and won) for nearly four years to limit bank “swipe fees,” a U.S. appeals court recently reversed a lower court’s decision that sided with retailers and ordered the Federal Reserve to rewrite its rules governing allowable fees that banks can charge each time a customer’s [...]

Successfully selling the high-priced boat

Many knowledgeable people in our industry say we need to build less expensive boats, especially if we hope to attract the Gen Xers and the Millennials. Friends I talk to in dealerships echo a similar theme: “These days, every deal always comes down to price.” 

Escapism sells

Turn on the evening news these days and it’s mostly negative. Doom-and-gloom reports of slow growth. A missing airliner. Fear of terrorist attacks. A Cold War-type crisis. Climate change. Rising interest rates.  An exhausting winter that never ends.

How to get customers like me to pay more

I recently received an email survey from the Loggerhead Club & Marina in St. Petersburg, Fla. My Pursuit has been in the Hi & Dry there for several years, so it’s not the first time Loggerhead has sent me a survey.

Are we overlooking African-Americans?

There is so much being written and said about diversity, particularly getting our boating lifestyle message out to the growing Hispanic market. But when we talk about diversity these days, are we looking past the African-American market?