Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

For every dealer, it comes down to passion

One of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, says: “Everything begins with leadership.” I agree. But looking one step further, I’m convinced that to be a successful leader requires a genuine daily passion for the boating business and the good that emanates from it.

Cyberattacks can harm your dealership, too

It’s not likely that the Russians will launch a cyberattack on a boat dealer. It seems they have a proclivity for interfering in elections. But the truth is that the majority of small businesses like marine dealers are vulnerable cyberattack targets and most — 79 percent — do not have a cybersecurity plan.

How to lose a prospect in five easy lessons

The story you’re about to read is true. Only the names have been omitted because it’s never my goal in writing Dealer Outlook to embarrass anyone – unless it’s some bureaucrat handing down a policy that has less to justify its existence than an 8-track tape player.

Marine equipment thefts continue to plague Florida

The theft of outboard motors and electronics is an industry problem we don’t talk about much, but we should. That’s the position of the Marine Industry Association of Southwest Florida as it convened a special one-day forum to address thefts.

Why do customers leave us?

There are many who argue that the highest priority for a dealer should be attracting new customers. Indeed, no one can deny the importance of a stream of new prospects. But I would argue that it’s at least as important to retain existing customers. And in order to know the best way to do that, […]

Industry gains momentum in New Jersey

A strong boat show, reduced sales taxes, a sales tax cap and more money for dredging. These are just a few of the successes the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey has brought about for its members and it’s a great example of why every dealer and marina operator should be a member of their […]

Generation X is now our target audience

As a demographic, baby boomers are said to hold the most wealth while millennials are now the largest generation in America. Sandwiched in between is a relatively smaller — but likely more important — group to boating best known as Generation X.

Two solid signs for the future

Call them signs of the times or “good times to be in the boat business,” as National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said in his recent State of the Industry report in Miami.

Virtual-reality boating is the wave of the future

It was a blustery 20 degrees, with snow on the ground and a frozen lake, when I walked into the showroom at Ohio’s Buckeye Sports Center to look over the new Super Air Nautique G-21. Its styling and dramatic surf graphics made the boat an immediate turn-on.

Seven success tips worth consideration

If you’re like me, you enjoy listening to good motivational speakers or reading notes and articles that contain good ideas or adaptable tips. Here, then, are a few I’ve collected from some sources known and some not. Perhaps there’s a gem or two in here for you today:

Do your leads bear fruit after a show is over?

It’s been a while since we’ve seen so many boat shows see a surge in attendance, but it’s happening. And, while we’re talking shows, research by Discover Boating identifies some key mistakes dealers can make during and after the show.

Sell ‘escape weekends’ to your prospects

I addressed the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association last Friday during the Progressive Mid-America Boat Show in Cleveland. I was happy to see the show going well, but my real pleasure was getting to talk to many dealers I have known for years. Their conversations and outlooks always give me perspectives […]

Cybersecurity can be a dealer’s problem

I’m not suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will order someone to hack into your computers, but the current media feeding frenzy over hacking brings into focus the fact that cybersecurity is a real risk for small businesses, including boat dealerships.

Discover Boating gets it right

Here’s an early Christmas present to open. As you do, you’ll learn that boaters are leaving faster than we can replace them. Fifty-four percent of first-time boat buyers in 2005 have bailed out. Between 2000 and 2015, first-time new-boat buyers dropped from 175,000 to 69,000.

Reasons to give thanks for the holidays

As an avid boater and angler, I’m a conservationist and an environmentalist, albeit not one of those raving activists that are more unconnected from reality than Willy Wonka in a chocolate factory. Still, I am one to applaud the good news of actions that can legitimately protect our oceans and waterways.

Don’t ignore the new overtime rules

We’re now a little more than two weeks away from the new federal regulations that will affect more than 4.2 million paychecks. And it’s likely that dealership owners have been procrastinating, focused instead on the Northern winter haulout, fall boat shows and the like consuming their days.

How to get customers to buy more

Your customers exhibit the loyalty for which every dealer hopes. However, when you seriously analyze your sales results, you don’t really love your numbers. They’re flat. What’s up?

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 www.takemefishing.org, 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.

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.

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?

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.”

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.

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. 

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.