Dealer Outlook

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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.

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.