Has the current boat sales slump so diminished our expectations that we’re now manning our fall boat shows with a “why bother” attitude? The actual letter below should shake us all! It’s from Mr. Jon Eckel, age 50, a boat owner since he was 15 and Director of Public Service for the City of Perrysburg, Ohio. In other words, a prime boomer customer every dealer should rush to talk with.
“My two friends and I (all boat owners) attended the Cedar Point Boat Show on September 12. As we entered we were enthusiastically greeted by Harry Burrough’s (Burroughs Marine) who showed us some of his boats. That is where the hospitality stopped for quite some time. We started with a cold beer on the party barge and proceeded down to P Dock. Upon entering our first boat we put our beers down on a dock box as instructed on the sign and, upon returning to the dock, found they had been poured out by a salesperson trying to get to her information. An honest mistake but a fitting start to our experience.
We proceeded down F dock to G dock and not once did anyone greet us or even acknowledge our presence. I have boated all my life and the three of us dock together in the Maumee River. I don’t know what the overall psyche of a boat salesman is, but apparently we didn’t fit the mold of a perspective boat buyer. Not once did someone say “welcome to the show”, “come aboard”, “can I show you something”, until we came to the Albin (Harbor North Marine.) Apparently this gentleman hadn’t noticed we weren’t wearing a Rollex, he just wanted to show us his boat!
We than proceeded down H dock and finally a nice young salesman named Ryan from Sima Marine showed us the $1.6 million Marquis Yacht. He obviously knew we weren’t in the market, but went overboard to show us the yacht. A nice young man that I will go to when we are looking for a new boat. Once again, that was our last “hello” of the show.
It seems to me in an economy like we have today, these people need a reality check. I’ve seen better personalities at a license bureau. The show was not busy Wednesday afternoon which I heard from the sales people on at least three occasions, yet most did not have the time to acknowledge us. They were, however, busy visiting each other. I get a few boating magazines and constantly read how the boating industry is hurting. I can tell you after Wednesday that I wouldn’t blame it entirely on the economy. We all left with the impression that many boating sales people are aloof and treat you as if they are doing you a favor to talk to you. Maybe another slow year will bring some people to the reality that you need to treat everyone with courtesy because they very well may be your next customer.”