Dealer Outlook

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Sales follow-up: Frustration on steroids?

Every sales training session I’ve ever attended has always ended by proclaiming the three most important aspects of selling are … follow-up, follow-up and follow-up. “Keep after them till they buy or die,” or something similar, is always emphasized. And who can argue that following up can be a key to success?

Celebrating 20 years and $200 million for boating

We often talk about the value of Congress reauthorizing the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. In fact, it’s up for reauthorization again. But we don’t always grasp what the fund does for boating. Here’s just one timely example:

Critical fishing bill up for vote now

The most comprehensive package of legislation that would impact fishing across America could be voted on today in the U.S. Senate. As marine dealers, we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines watching this one – your action is needed now.

Tap into the passion of teenage employees this summer

It wouldn’t surprise me if many who read this blog worked at a marina, boat club or dealership during summer vacation when you were in high school. I did, and so did my son and one of my daughters. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of regulations written from the Fair Labor Standards [...]

You’ve gotta try the new Discover Boating Movie Maker

When the Discover Boating campaign fist announced it would be adding a Movie Maker app by June, I admit I wasn’t that impressed. Then, last weekend, I got an email from Grow Boating board chairman Joe Lewis (Mount Dora Boating Center in Mount Dora, Fla.). Not only did he get my attention, but he turned [...]

Criticizing employees the right way

Telling an employee their performance is less than acceptable might be the toughest thing a manager must do. It was always that way for me. I was never sure who was more nervous during a performance review — me or the employee.

Gasoline: How low can it go?

At the beginning of May, if I had blogged that gas prices (1) wouldn’t even hit last year’s high and (2) would be steadily dropping by Memorial Day, I’ll bet your comments would have suggested I’m smoking something. I had predicted they’d actually be going up.

Protecting the environment or making money?

If you want to make money, suing the federal government under the guise of air, water or species protection will likely bring in big bucks. That’s essentially what a General Accounting Office report indicates. Environmental groups have been bolstering their finances by collecting $44.4 million from taxpayers between 2001 and 2010.

Understanding “Welcome to the Water” (Part 2)

“Our end game is clear – drive traffic to retail outlets.” That purpose was solidly underscored by the NMMA’s Carl Blackwell (Grow Boating president) during Wednesday’s webinar highlighting the 2012 “Welcome to the Water” national campaign.

Is it time for more economic stimulus?

Should the evidence that our already-weak economic recovery is getting weaker, coupled with news from Europe that five countries have officially slipped back into recession, raise the specter of another stimulus package here?

Being disconnected – that’s what we’re selling!

Last weekend a new Yellowfin pulled into our marina. Shiny black hull 40-plus feet, four black Merc outboards, black T-top with matching black outriggers, and two satellite domes on the hardtop painted matching black, of course. “Oh, to have that boat,” I said to my wife, envy written all over my face. “It’s a beauty, [...]

Will the new MRIP get it done?

I went fishing over the weekend in the Gulf of Mexico and caught some gag grouper and red snapper. But all were released because those fisheries are currently closed. It caused me to pause and think about the new Marine Recreational Fishing Program and what it may mean for saltwater fishing in the future.

Should dealers help customers with MMSI?

I went fishing offshore on a friend’s boat recently. While we scanned his marine radio for some fishing “chatter,” I asked him if he had gotten his MMSI? “What’s that?” he responded. So I asked him what happens if he pushes the red distress button on his radio? “That automatically sends out a Mayday call [...]

Too many random boardings? Michigan may have an answer

Reports of overzealous boardings of boats, particularly by Coast Guard personnel in western Lake Erie, aren’t new. Indeed, over the years boaters and dealers alike have been critical of the Coast Guard randomly stopping boaters for time-consuming boardings that result in more animosity than boating safety.

Promoting fishing clubs in schools

It all started with a challenge . . . the principal of one high school challenging the principal of another to a fishing competition. No, not between themselves, but between their school fishing teams. High school fishing teams? Yes, and it’s a good model for boat dealers willing to invest a little time and  recognize [...]

Be aware of spam laws in e-mail marketing

Spam – it’s not just something you can eat anymore. It’s also junk or unsolicited mass e-mail. Experts estimate spam constitutes more than 50 percent of the e-mail flying through cyberspace daily. I know I find myself spending time these days culling through e-mails to find the good from the spam.

Summit 2; Oceans Policy; The Boating Trust Fund

Summit follow-up: As you read this blog today, 40 representatives from broad segments of boating have gathered in Chicago for the first follow-up meeting to the Recreational Boating Stakeholders Growth Summit held last December (see Dealer Outlook).

Will new fuel standards mean bigger vehicles?

As an industry dependent on selling products that are towed behind cars, SUVs and light trucks, we’ve long been concerned about increasing CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards and the likely result that vehicles will be made lighter with reduced safe towing capacity.

Boaters starting to talk up gas prices again

It was to be expected. The prime boating season is upon us and boaters are talking about the cost of gasoline – if for no other reason than because high gas prices are reported in the nightly news. No surprise . . . that leaves the public very unhappy.

Who is that swearing? Oh, it’s our customer

Admittedly, most unhappy customers don’t resort to swearing. Still, 16 percent (mostly men) do admit using curse words when talking with someone about a product problem. And, since we’re rapidly approaching the prime boating season when, because so many things are happening all at once in our dealerships, customer complaints are usually at their highest, [...]

“Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally” set for Washington

Thousands of salt water fishermen are expected to make some “noise” in Washington D.C. when they gather there for the second national fishermen’s rally on March 21. Speakers slated to address the anglers are Massachusetts’ Sens. John Kerry (D) and Scott Brown (R), as well as Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., among others.

Is it a good idea to blog?

Obviously, I think blogging is good. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this one. And, I meet so many people from different segments of our industry who read Dealer Outlook. It’s what keeps me writing twice every week – and I thank you!

Detroit’s good news and comments on the bank lawsuit

Kudos to the Michigan Boating Industries Association on the good news about their successful Detroit Boat Show. I can’t help thinking: If there’s any place I want to see an encouraging sign coming from, it’s Detroit. After all, that area took an enormous hit when the Great Recession unfolded. To see the boat show there [...]

Diversity confirmed at the Miami Show

Regular readers of this blog will recall I’ve previously written about the need for our industry to address diversity as an important pathway to future growth.  After  all, the U.S.  Census alone tells us that the population of Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian- Americans is growing rapidly in America.

Random notes of good news and ideas

- Had occasion to visit the Columbus (Ohio) Sports, Vacation & Boat Show over the weekend and saw clever signs strategically placed around Jim Reed’s Spend-A-Day Marina exhibit (Sea Ray, JC & Bennington). The bold yellow and black-lettered signs read: “CAUTION – LIFESTYLE MAY BECOME ADDICTIVE” adjacent to good boating action pictures. That’s the kind [...]

Boat shows are producing good returns

While attendance at major industry shows has been up and down depending on the city, it appears business from all the shows is much improved over last year. That’s good momentum leading up to five major-market events that will open this weekend or next week — namely, St. Louis, Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles and Miami – [...]

Claims of ‘no time to boat’ are doubtful

If we want to do it, we’ll make time for it . . . even at the expense of time needed to get things done we should get done! That’s what we could conclude from the 2010 American Time Use Survey, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We must introduce kids to boating

There’s no doubt our industry’s future growth will depend, in significant measure, on our appeal to kids. “Survey data tells us we must expose boating to kids,” Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy told the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association in Cleveland recently.

Good sales techniques from some of the best!

There’s little doubt history is loaded with examples of sales people who can be labeled “great” at the game. And, we can learn from them because they personify selling techniques and styles that can be replicated to make one successful, even today.

Dusty McCoy calls for “Growth Summit” follow up

“Our industry isn’t going away, we’re going to make it stronger,” Dusty McCoy told more than 150 dealers, marina operators and others in Cleveland last week. The chairman and CEO of Brunswick was addressing the annual meeting of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association during the Cleveland Boat Show. Moreover, he called for quick follow [...]

Don’t fling the fish, says PETA

Whenever I need a few laughs to brighten up a day when the fishing is slow and the sky is overcast, I just think about PETA. You remember them — the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — the group noted for wanting all fish to be renamed “sea kittens?”

Neither snow, nor rain, nor an Atlanta tsunami!

If it wasn’t so annoying, it would be funny. Football in Houston, snow in Chicago, bad roads (schools closed early) in Nashville, winter storm in Cleveland and a tsunami in Atlanta all disrupted many boat shows last week . . . but the shows still rolled on.

Should white boaters be replaced in our ads?

One of the major topics at last month’s first-ever boating summit in Chicago was the need to reach minorities with our boating lifestyle message as a path to growth. So, it might seem that all we need to do is replace some white people in our ads with minorities, right? Well, it’s a start but [...]

Is face time still necessary for selling boats?

I must be old school. I still think talking with someone face-to-face is the best way to go. Obviously, I must not be one of today’s high tech-enabled people who can text and drive or Twitter everyone what I’m doing without ever seeing them face-to-face!