Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

MBIA uses whiteboard video for recruitment

Every marine dealer, marina operator and service supplier should be a member of their state and/or local marine trade association. The positive return on the extremely low dues investment is always a hands-down good deal.

Encourage customers to plan summer cruises

With the Catawba Island (Ohio) Boat Show starting off the Great Lakes boating season this weekend, dealers everywhere should be encouraging their customers to make plans to do more cruising, fishing and enjoying more days on the water than in many recent years. And especially for those planning to cruise, dealers can recommend a new […]

Does reference pricing work?

We’re confronted with them every day and everywhere: retail reference prices flashing on everything from boots to boats. But a question worth asking is: do reference prices really provide consumers with any informational value and, if so, how?

Is it customer service or customer experience?

I once had an opportunity to go behind the scenes in Orlando, Fla., with the Disney Institute to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are executed at Disney World and I have always considered Disney the model of the good customer experience … or is it good customer service?

Low gas prices help show success

The recent spike at the pump notwithstanding, low gas prices appear to have helped last weekend’s Spring Boating Expo near Detroit and gas will predictably stay low this summer, according to Gas Buddy.

Service failures can be forever

As a dealership owner or manager, you recognize that a service failure might not be your fault, but when it happens it becomes your problem. Moreover, it can be a forever event. Here’s an example of just what I mean.

Are you ready for the 2017 model-year rollout?

In less than three months, you could be receiving some 2017 model-year boats. That’s because President Obama signed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 and it included an unprecedented model-year change that will impact every dealer.

Be comfortable being uncomfortable

National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich might be the most in-demand speaker in the marine industry today. His position allows him a comprehensive view of the business.

What’s the best way to position a deal?

It’s showtime as the New York Boat Show opened Wednesday and the show in Houston opens Friday. They’re starting off the industry’s critical winter boat show season with anticipation of gains in attendance and continued increases in sales.

Did you pay attention in 2015?

It’s the end of the year and a darn good one at that. So, come on, make my day and take this little quiz about some random facts and highlights. No Googling! (Answers at bottom)

Model-year starts are finally about to change

Hallelujah! The discussion of when the model year should start and end has been going on for years, but it’s expected to be finally settled when the Senate passes a U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization bill today and sends it to the president.

RBFF’s idea to focus on grandparents is a smart one

The Recreational Boating Leadership Council gathered today in Chicago for an annual review of activities and programs that various task force groups are undertaking, while the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation has raised an interesting question about America’s grandparents.

Boating should be going to the dogs

I recall a time prior to 2008 when Discover Boating had a strong national TV campaign and it was airing a commercial with a variety of dogs aboard and the key line “Dogs love boating, too.” Not being a dog owner, I thought the theme was a stretch, at best. Well, I was wrong then […]

It’s not too early to think about Christmas sales

It’s not even Halloween and I’m already thinking Christmas? I didn’t mean to, but right next to the Halloween costumes and candy at our local Target is — you guessed it — everything from Christmas tree lights to model gingerbread houses.

Tell customers: ‘Buy and finance now’

The possible increase in interest rates at the next Federal Reserve committee meeting Oct. 27-28 and the recent demand that the largest banks add an additional $200 million layer of capital to protect against losses got me wondering just what impact any of this news might have for marine dealers.

Volkswagen breaks the cardinal rule of trust

The Volkswagen scandal unfolding daily around the world is, at the very least, a wakeup call to businesses that breaking trust with customers can spell disaster. As expected, lawyers in Florida (and likely other places) have already filed suits on behalf of a customer and are gearing up for the lucrative class-action litigation that could […]

Is convenience a new service model?

We’re living in an on-demand world today. For a geezer like me, it’s hard to grasp the fact that I could get a replacement Jabsco livewell pump (not in stock locally) from Amazon and see it on my doorstep in two days. Maybe I could have even gotten it in two hours.

West Marine and MarineMax set examples

Yes, they are big names in our industry with lots of resources. But West Marine and MarineMax offer noteworthy examples of initiatives to increase fishing and boating participation that can be undertaken by any dealer recognizing the need to remain engaged with customers and prospects.

Nothing beats face-to-face contact

Technology (email and texting) has taken the place of face-to-face contact, the swipe fees war isn’t over and newly proposed underground storage tank rules will impact dealers and marinas with fueling systems.

Ray Underwood receives Lifetime Achievement Award

“Schultzy, if you wanna do some good lobbying, do it with a can of worms,” Ray Underwood told me years ago. Last week, Underwood became the first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, created in his honor by the Michigan Boating Industries Association, and it couldn’t be more fitting.

Do we ask the right marketing questions?

He’s in the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. He’s authored 18 books in 35 languages. His latest is “What to Do When It’s Your Turn.” He’s an in-demand speaker and his blog is one of the most popular in the world.

Model-year dilemma comes close to an end

Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard suddenly descended unannounced on industry boat shows, starting at Miami, and began writing up violation notices on manufacturers for model-year infractions under the Code of Federal Regulations.

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.