Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

I don’t want to hear any more doom and gloom

During the recent Houston and Cleveland boat shows and, undoubtedly, in other cities, too, the media was filled with headlines about possible recession and market drops and mortgage foreclosures. “Don’t buy any big ticket items,” one so-called expert financial reporter wrote, “this is not the time.”

Well, people who write that stuff are loons! I’m convinced they wouldn’t know a good time from a bad time. The only concept they understand about reporting the news is that “bad news is good news, and good news is bad news, and the only thing worse would be no news!”  They’re obviously unable to comprehend, for example, that even if all the sub-prime mortgages defaulted, the world would keep turning. In fact, the actual troubled mortgages represent only 1% of all mortgage portfolios. But, that’s not bad enough news to print.

So, I’ve decided to only take in good news from now on.

That means I’ve called the Cleveland Plain Dealer to cancel my subscription and verbally protested the fact that the publication is a negative piece of paper no longer fit for even wrapping fish! You should rename it “The PAIN Dealer” I said, trying not to totally anger the lady taking my cancellation. After all, she knows where I live!  And, I’m sure it made no difference to her or the management, but I, for one, felt some sort of great release in doing it!

It’s time to shake off that negative crap and concentrate only on the reasons to be optimistic about the future of our industry. 

The market will recover; I have no doubt. It did quite nicely last week, thank you. Or, if history repeats itself, the President’s economic stimulus package coupled with lower interest rate moves from the Federal Reserve will be a boost in the spring. That’s assuming, of course, the Senate has the common sense (I know, that’s a stretch) and decency to pass the package quickly. If they want to add a few billion dollars for small business, fine. But get the thing moving now – it will be a boost. Or I want to think about the ever increasing success of our Discover Boating Campaign and its positive impact.

I also want to dwell on the fact that the lenders who deal with the boating industry are ready and willing to increase their stake because boating consumers represent a positive performing portfolio. The rate of marine loan delinquencies was actually level in 2004, ‘05 and ‘06. The National Marine Bankers Association expects some increase when the ’07 figures are compiled, but no one is sounding any alarms and as Jim Coburn, the NMBA President reports, the availability of consumer credit for boat loans remains excellent. There are lots of deals and incentives out there, too.

More good news. Boats, lots of them, were sold at shows in Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, New York, Chicago, Kansas City and, I’m sure, elsewhere. And that’s without the proposed economic boost! So, even if we didn’t sell as many as we wanted to, I’m only thinking about the fact that boats were sold and we’re going to sell a lot more in the months ahead!

This is the time to buy!

Comments

15 comments on “I don’t want to hear any more doom and gloom

  1. Jimmy Clark

    Norm,

    I could not agree with you more. Having been in the industry for more than 22 years on the manufacturing and dealership sides, this bump is nothing new. It is a time to reflect on your business and what you can do to separate yourself from the rest! Keeping a customer for life will make the new customers easier to find and sometimes I think in the pursuit of new customers dealers seem to forget this very basic fact. Keep up the good work!

    Jimmy Clark
    JBC Solutions

  2. R. W.Salter

    Our problem isn’t the Home owner that is losing his home as he already lost his boat and his SUV. Our problem is attracting new customers. In New England our cost for heat, light and power, along with gasoline leaves little for the little guy to buy and operate a 20 to 30 ft boat. THen there is no place to keep it that he can afford. Our industry has made boating more expensive than it should be. Our land cost to much so our cost are high. Boston’s Boatshow was down 17% in attendance, sales were also down.
    So Mr Schultz where are all our dreamers?
    I’ll tell you they are, buying RV’s and playing golf.
    Sincerely R.W. Salter 35 years in marine.

  3. Pete Peterson

    Thank you for echoing what I have been telling dealers for months. If you let the media run your business you will be gone next month. There are still a tremendous number of qualified buyers in the marketplace today and more millionaires than ever before in the history of the country. Sell the positive side and the lifestyle. I talk to prospective buyers everyday, who are in or near their retirement years and they keep telling me I am running out of time, I want to enjoy my life and boating is a big part of that. Focus on your current customer base and show them advantages to moving up. If you treat them fairly, they will not only move up but recommend you to others of similar mind and means. America needs to do the same thing yo have done Norm, turn off the negative vibrations in this World, it does nothing to improve the situation and everything to make it worse.

    Pete Peterson
    World Cat

  4. Dave Donchecz

    I agree with you 100 per cent. I have been in this industry for over 22 years and
    have experienced this in the past. We will get through this like we have in the past.
    Frankly the houston show was better for my dealer this year than last year. I am
    sick of people crying about the tough times. All of us need to think positive and
    act positive and that will reflect in our sales

  5. David Black

    I agree, the national media trys to push their own agenda. They push for candidates, try to bully the fed, and play chicken little by trying to make the world seem like it is ending. It is not and things will get better. The media is actually pushing for a recession and i am sick of it. They scare the public into being “sheeple” which only makes the economic situation worse and it causes panics in the market. We will recover like we did in the 30’s, the 60’s, the 70’s, the 80′ the 90’s and the 2000’s. What we are dealing with is nothing new i promise you… I was born into and raised in this business. I have over 25 years of experience in the marine industry and i am only 31! What happened to the nerves of steel, smart reasoning, and the willingness to work hard that the depression in the 30’s ( and every ecomomic downturn since then) taught ( well..just some of us it looks like).. Prosperious dealers never give up and fight hard everyday because this is a tough business even when times are good..thanks norm and jimmy

  6. Strongsail

    I also agree. The media, especially television news, is becoming amazingly undisciplined. Their pursuit of bad news and their over-reaction to events of the day is feeding the national propensity to see disaster around every corner. In the case of TV news, I’m a “refugee” from that business – I left local market TV in the 80’s to enter the yacht business, silly me – and I now define all local market TV news, from the biggest to the smallest markets, as “children with expensive toys.”

    The economy, of course, will recover. It always has in the past, so what’s so different this time? Nothing. But that’s not “news.” But I’ll tell you what won’t recover: Newspapers. Print media is changing, and it will never be the same. Classified ad revenue is gone. Display rates are way down. Page count in metro dailies is way down. Our papers in the Seattle market are pathetic, and they’re both going broke. The Seattle Times doesn’t even have a separate classified section on weekdays any more! The classifieds make up just four pages at the back of the business section. And, in my condo building with 60 units, there are only 4 subscribers to our daily papers. I’m one of them. At least the Seattle Times still has a few good editorial writers. Who knows for how long?

    So, my point is, as the media landscape continues to shift under our feet, existing media are becoming more and more desperate, and that desperation is driving quality reporting into the tank.

    The real revolution in media is happening right here, in this blog and thousands of others like it. Two-way media, with the readers providing real-time feedback and input, is still in its infancy. Where will we get our information five years from now? Your guess is as good as mine. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to work…

  7. Vera Locke

    Norm —
    Despite an extremely negative article in a major area newspaper on the eve of opening day, the Marine Industries Association of the Treasure Coast’s 34th Annual Stuart Boat Show (Stuart, Florida) was our best ever! Gate was up an average of 12% over 2007, and boat dealers and brokers sold product. Exhibitors were happy with the number and quality of show attendees.
    You are on target about good news is bad news for the media — as only dire predictions of doom and gloom on all fronts is supposed to sell papers.
    Vera Locke
    MIATC

  8. Wilson

    Did you see my coment of the other day in which I lifted ( and perhaps embellished) a couple of lines from the Glen-L kit bosat news letter in which it was said….Sure the economy is bad and some will be hurt buy the housing and stock market disaster… BUT then there will also be many who will make money during these same markets….Could be that just messing about in boats takes your mind off those troubles.

  9. Kyle Damron

    Amen Norm, After finishing the Cincinnati and Louisville boat shows it was quite apparent that the media has got boat buyers second guessing themselves. It’s also made those that still intend to buy feel that they can beat us up even more because of the supposed state of the boating industry.

  10. Blaine Schwarzel

    Norm. I’m with you, I could just kick the media’s butt. Who are these guys? And do the even know what a boat is? There are sales to be had. And yes I am getting beat up more on freebie stuff “to make the deal” but over all I think we will see a better year than we all think.

  11. Kevin Mahoney

    I challange every newspaper in the country to publish a “good news” postive section only in their newspaper, and TV Newscaster to have a minimum of 10 minutes of fun, wholesome, uplifting newstories in prime time. I am so sick and tired of the media exploiting the negative. Every day…thousands of positive things happen in the country. Poepl are crying out for positive….the media really does have it’s head up their butts!!!

  12. Kelly Plummer

    Hi Norm-
    Thought you should see this regarding the Dallas Boat Show:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contacts:
    Kelly Plummer Michael Deering
    651-207-6242 952-944-1319
    kellyplummer@odcom.com michael@superstarpr.com

    NO DOOM AND GLOOM IN DALLAS!
    BOAT DEALERS REPORT IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS
    Sellers at the Dallas Boat Show shedding new light on reports of a
    “down-turn” in the boating industry.

    Dallas, TX (February 6, 2008) – Come on in! The water is just fine at the 55th Annual Dallas Boat Show! That’s the sentiment from many dealers ringing in sales from eager boat buyers attending the show. Sellers from all ends of the boating spectrum are already reporting great numbers and overall consumer confidence.

    “Last year we only contracted 3 boats total. So far this year we’ve probably got 10 to 12 and all kinds of demo rides and prospects set up for after the show! I’m so busy right now I may have to hire some help.”

    – Joe Ham- President Advantage Marine

    “We’ve sold twice as much this year as compared to last year. As well, our January has been very good, up about 100% from last year.”

    -Mike Tomlinson- General Manager Eliminator Boats – Dallas

    “Our sales for the first weekend of the boat show are up 70% over last year.
    We’re seeing a dramatic increase in financing due to lower interest rates. The traffic may be down, but the people here are genuine purchasers.”

    -James Selman- General Manager of Marina Partners, Uncle Gus Marina

    “No doom and gloom here. In fact, 2006 was our best year ever, 2007 was our second best year and right now, 2008 is looking very good.”

    -Tim Cvar- Owner of WaterSki America-

    The Dallas Boat Show, running February 1-10 at Dallas Market Hall, features more than 800 boats from dealerships offering manufacturer rebates and the best prices of the year. Selection includes watercraft in all shapes and sizes including yachts, power boats, pontoons, fishing boats, water toys, aquatic gear and more.

    For interview opportunities, please contact Kelly Plummer at 651-207-6242 or kellyplummer@odcom.com

    To learn more about the 55th Annual Dallas Boat Show, visit http://www.dallasboatshow.net

    ###

  13. JACK DOLAN

    HEY NORM, I CAN SEE ITS TIME TO GET OUT THE” MARINE FOCUSER “AGAIN. ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO I DID A PRESENTATION FOR MY 20 GROUP{HAIL 103}. I TOLD THE MEMBERS I WOULD BE PASSING OUT THE MOST VALUBLE SALES TOOL IN EXISTENCE AT THE NEXT SESSION. AFTER THE TOOLS HAD BEEN PASSED OUT AND OPENED, ONE OF OUR MEMBERS EXCLAIMED “THIS IS NOTHIN BUT THE CORE OUT OF A TOILET PAPER ROLL”. I HAD TO ADMIT IT HAD STARTED OUT ITS LIFE AS SUCH, BUT NOW WAS GOING TO TURN AROUND HIS DEALERSHIP FORTUNES. USED PROPERLY THIS FOCUSER WOULD ENABLE THE USUER TO FOCUS HIS ATTENTION ON THE PERSON COMMING INTO THE DEALERSHIP. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE. JACK DOLAN, RETIRED

  14. Blake Davis

    I see many buyers but I see sellers that are delusional in their pricing. The “sellers” are wanting to net what they paid for their boats 3/4 & 300 hours ago. Buyers just want to buy at “market” the same as the current owners did.

    That said. Dockage is outrageous IF it can be found in Florida and I just had a client quoted $24k for annual Insurance on a boat worth only $224k. Insurance on a late model diesel boat that cost $3k OUT of Florida is now $8k IN Florida.
    Add price of fuel, dockage rates that are more expensive than the 3 star hotels they sit behind, hassles of Marine Patrol, Customs and Bahamas fee’s… buyers are like “who needs this crap”?
    And spend their time and money playing Golf, Snow Skiing, or Mountain biking. All great entertainment for a fraction of the hassle.
    Money never disappears it just changes hands, but at some point the aggravation of our hobby outweights the enjoyment. Oh, don’t forget “SERVICE”. oy vey!

  15. MATT

    I agree 100%, and yet I click to open Feb 19th addition to Trade Only, and what do the headlines read?
    Miami Boat show, “sales anemic” as expected, according to one analyst.
    One analyst? Who is he? How about a room full of analyst. What would they say?

    Negative. Its everywhere you read. Even from your favorite publications.

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