Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Great slogans can make a huge difference

Most people don’t know freelance writer and boating enthusiast Brian Carey. As a business writer for Intuit, his articles and blogs cover a variety of topics. And, when I can vividly recall one of them 1-1/2 years later, it tells me his thoughts are worth considering today.

What do customers want most?

I boarded my Southwest Airlines flight at Detroit Metro Airport, buckled up in a window seat and pulled out the magazine from the seat pocket in front of me. My eyes were drawn to a greeting page from Southwest chairman and CEO Gary C. Kelly entitled “Back to Basics.”

Dealers need new ways to draw new boaters

Last Thursday, I posted a blog about potential new boaters in the Carlos C. Gomez family and their apparent frustration in finding what they considered an affordable first boat. Several of your comments, thank you, raised the conversation in ways worth further exploration.

Why are thousands flocking to boat shows?

Why in the world would anyone pay parking and admission to go to a boat show and be hustled by a flock of salespeople when virtually everything they could want to know about a new marine product or dealer is available free at their fingertips? Answer: the experience.

Swipe fees hurt dealers, but lower gas prices could help

The Supreme Court has ignored the nation’s retailers by refusing to hear a case in which retailers say the Federal Reserve allows banks to charge businesses too much in swipe fees, while the big drop in gas prices is an interesting development for ethanol producers and state gas-tax hawks.

Show attendance and sales are on a roll

On the heels of Monday’s report confirming that boat sales hit double-digit gains in December for the second consecutive month based on early reports from 26 states, it’s no surprise that the key early boat shows around the country are off to a good start.

Is social media a good tool for dealers?

Social media is a great place to post photos of one’s cat, announce a kid is potty-trained or get a thumb workout clicking “Like” and “Follow.” But, for a boat dealer, getting involved with social media can suck up a lot of work hours. And that begs the question: is social media worth the time […]

Do customers want your emails?

The delete option is the most used key on my computer. If an email subject line is not something I’m looking for or it doesn’t grab me in a second, voila, delete!

Mount Dora Marina shows its true colors

Don’t tell people who you are; show them who you are. Such advice might be more relevant in today’s overcrowded cyber-world than ever before, because showing people your company values is what can ultimately set you apart.

How does the customer see a dealership?

Seeing a dealership from the viewpoint of a customer isn’t easy and won’t always come naturally. But it’s worth it, suggests Micah Solomon, a customer experience consultant, speaker and the bestselling author of “High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service.”

Oil and gas news is mostly encouraging

Marine dealers located in the Gulf of Mexico region affected by the disastrous 2010 BP oil spill need to know they’re now eligible for damage claims from the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement.

Boat show producers expect strong winter

With just one major fall in-water show left this year — the Dec. 4-7 St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show — discussions centered on expectations for the industry’s winter shows at the meeting of the National Marine Trades Council last weekend in Orlando, Fla.

Numbers everyone can like

I usually pass up reading articles that are mostly numbers … except if they’re numbers that show that our industry is climbing out of the deepest hole in our history. And that’s exactly what numbers from the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Discover Boating and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas are showing.

Get in on Small Business Saturday

Boat dealerships are small businesses and we should point with pride to that fact. It’s also reason enough to participate in Small Business Saturday, which is coming up on Nov. 29.

Video can boost your sales vibe

There are more new programs added to this year’s Marine Dealer Conference & Expo and Lenny Rudow’s workshop on “Shooting and Editing Boat Walk-Through Videos” has got to be at the top of the list.

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 […]