When Christmas is upon us, can the winter boat shows be far behind? In just a couple of weeks the New York Boat Show will kick off the myriad of winter boat shows around the country that are still a mainstay of our industry’s annual retail sales efforts.
Regardless of size, every boat show represents a big investment for participating dealers and big investments call for serious advance planning. Here are a couple considerations as we head into the 2008 show season:
First, it’s usually difficult for small businessmen to accept the principle that “doing less will accomplish more.” Specifically, a heads of a business we frequently work under the myth that we must be well-rounded leaders who are good at everything. Not so! Good leaders are not necessarily supposed to be well-rounded; they’re supposed to build well-rounded organizations.
Let’s look at boat shows. ,You may be the leader, but that doesn’t mean you are the most competent to design and put together your boat show exhibit. It’s very possible that others in your organization (sales or service personnel) could be far better than you at creating a display that works. The best thing you can do is get out of the way and let others take the lead in the planning.
Can’t let go? Then, at the very least, get all the input everyone has in your organization before deciding what products or models will be featured and how the exhibit will be designed. Remember, authority doesn’t necessarily equal competency.
Second, size can matter when it comes to boats shows — bigger can be better. Contract for additional space if it’s available. Even a few extra square feet can prove to be a good investment. No, the extra space isn’t for packing in more boats. Just the opposite. It’s to add some spaciousness or “air” to the display.
In my experience, the majority of dealers literally “pack” their spaces as if there was some rule that every square foot needs to be covered by a boat! The result is they can be failing to send out the right message – that they’re clean, well-organized, barrier-free and inviting. Space conveys all those feelings. Lack of it can send the opposite signal.
Remember, exhibit research studies indicate most prospects walking down the aisle will form their first opinion of you in less than 10 seconds as they approach your display. If the impression is negative and uninviting, it will be very hard to overcome, assuming you even get the chance.
In many ways, this coming round of winter boat shows may be the most critical to dealers since. . . well, the great industry depression of the early 1990’s thrust upon us by the notorious luxury tax. It is, therefore, worth every extra effort to plan and utilize all the talents available within your organization.
Merry Christmas to you all.