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Getting Out of the Way Could Help You Succeed

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.


2 comments on “Getting Out of the Way Could Help You Succeed

  1. Wilson

    What you say makes sense. It also makes sense to make displays extra attractive to women as they usually play a major role in the final decision.

    Merry Christmas

  2. John Ulrich

    This year seems to be bringing back challenges seen over my 30 plus years in the industry. I agree with you that sometimes less is better but if you have been plaged with a small space this year might be the chance to bump up to the next size booth. Lot’s of dealers are downsizing and that leaves space open at shows. What better way to impact your customers than to show more. I don’t agree with you about having lots of space vacant in a booth. People come to shows to see boats. Design your booth for great viewing, traffic flow and private closing areas. Recently I was in Manhattan moving into the Javits Center setting up a booth. My booth is austere. We show boats. They are clean, well lighted, easily accessable and staffed with knowlegeable sales people. As I looked at other manufacturers setting up, I noticed lots of plants, lot’s of empty space and big oversized viewing platforms. Looks pretty, but does it really impress the customer looking for their next “dream boat”? Do remember the customer you are selling to. If you’re selling high end yachts or performance boats then you will need different set ups. This year, I’m selling value priced fishing boats. More boats shown = more boats sold.

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