Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Obamacare will impact small dealers

Provisions and rules under Obamacare that could impact marine dealers and employees continue to be uncovered. For example, we know dealers with less than 50 employees are not required to offer health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Make your boat show exhibit fun

Last week I reported on the success of the industry’s first major fall in-water show at Michigan City, Ind., and, in particular, the sales increase reported by B&E Marine’s Rod Bensz. Here’s some more on how Bensz generated excitement in his exhibit that paid off in sales.

From good news to absurd views

There’s good news for boating in that more than 45,000 lapsed boaters in 19 states returned to boating and reregistered their boats in 2013, according to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

Prepare to get your share at the fall shows

As the Michigan City (Ind.) In-Water Boat Show near Chicago opens today — the first of the major fall in-water shows — the economic news is generally favorable, exhibitors have increased participation, and the expectation is that fall shows will show sales are running high.

Flawed credit reports hurt sales

A friend once shared that he went to buy a refrigerator during a “0 percent for 15 months” promotion and got turned down. It seems that a credit bureau had mixed someone else’s bad information in with his. It took more than five months to get it cleared up — and that was fast and […]

Coast Guard sued over wind farm off Nantucket

The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound has filed a federal lawsuit against the Coast Guard, the latest in a series of suits against federal officials and agencies by groups opposing the planned Cape Wind offshore wind farm at Horseshoe Shoal that will include 130 windmills within sight of the shore.  

More bang for your buck at MDCE

There has never been a better year for retailers to attend the Marine Dealer Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla., because there has never been a more extensive choice of educational programs than those being offered this year.

RBFF signs important deal with Disney

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation works with numerous groups nationwide, but its biggest alliance ever was made public this morning when RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson announced a five-year strategic pact with Disney Media Network and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Economic numbers are falling into place

A welcome wave of recent economic signals — record stock prices, soaring home builder confidence, better job prospects and higher-than-expected June retail sales — are reinforcing expectations that the economy continues to grow in ways that can support boat sales.

By the numbers, boating campaign is having an impact

“Welcome To The Water,” the theme of the current Discover Boating ad campaign, isn’t on nationwide TV yet, but that hasn’t slowed the broad reach and big numbers the campaign is scoring so far this year, revealed in an interim report for fiscal 2013 just sent to the Grow Boating Board members.

Customers might not always be logical

People buy when they’re ready to buy . . . not when we’re ready to sell. That doesn’t mean they won’t buy, of course. Many will. But, for the successful salesperson, the goal is to be there — even later — when they do.

RBFF eyes growing Hispanic market

Studies by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation show fishing participation increased from 46.2 million to 47 million last year. But within the huge 53-million-strong Hispanic market identified in the U.S. Census, only 1.67 million are reportedly fishing.

No wind power on our waterways

Let’s build a wind farm. We’ll put windmills just offshore of a major city and disfigure the view of a beautiful lake. We’ll see if winter’s ice will knock them over; if they’ll interfere with established commercial shipping lanes. We’ll count the birds getting whacked in the blades. We’ll see if they endanger pleasure boaters […]

Marine dealers part of swipe fee settlement

If you’ve never accepted a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card from any customer at any time between Jan. 1, 2004 and Nov. 28, 2012, please stop reading the rest of today’s blog. But if you have, you’ll be interested in this:

‘Partner In Command’ debuts today

A new chapter in boater education is set to come online today as the United States Power Squadrons and BoatUS unveil “Partner In Command,” the first in a series of online seminars designed to provide boaters with a convenient way to improve boating knowledge and skills.

No Super Bowl is good, but no E15 would be better

Concerns that the Super Bowl would be called for “clipping” the marine industry’s iconic winter boat shows in Miami were benched on Tuesday when the NFL team owners voted to go to a new stadium in San Francisco in 2016 and Houston in 2017.

A checklist of outlawed phrases

We’re now in our peak months of selling. While industry sales figures are mixed and somewhat below expectation because of the lousy spring weather in the Midwest, our recovery continues to move forward with increased activity at the dealership level.

Lake Erie stakeholders take up fight for clean waters

It’s as much about the economy as it is the quality of life for a group of concerned Lake Erie stakeholders who are notable for their newly-formed economic interest group called the Lake Erie Improvement Association. And perhaps it’s a good model for others similarly affected.

Industry should focus on growing Hispanic market

We frequently talk about our need in the marine industry to embrace — make that vigorously pursue — diversity for our future growth. If being an industry that’s “inclusive” isn’t a motivator, or if “political correctness” doesn’t spur action, how about recognizing that’s where prospects with money can be found?

Employee benefits can benefit you, too

Want to keep good employees? Offer good benefits. There’s great truth in that. But the costs continue to rise, pushed mostly by many mandated benefits such as Social Security contributions, Medicare taxes, disability and unemployment insurance (I don’t even want to touch looming healthcare issues).

PETA could have its eyes on anglers

It seems that fishing is constantly under attack these days. No fishing zones are proliferating. Attempts to ban lead in lures are increasing. Closed seasons based on unscientific data are prevalent. What’s next? Drones watching anglers from above?

Should we look at customer service differently?

I’ve blogged about the importance of good customer service many times. I’ve always focused on the importance of fast response and quick solutions to customers’ problems. However, those factors notwithstanding, could it be that we’re looking at customer service from the wrong direction?

Being bullish about the economic future

As we’ve moved into April, the traditional start of our top retail quarter, dealership teams should be pumped by the economic indicators that continue to move in our direction, especially news that Fannie Mae just announced a healthy profit.

Send emails that get read

There must be several hundred emails in my inbox right now that I haven’t had time to read. Although I think I’ll get to them sometime soon, it probably won’t happen. They’ll just get older until I “clean house” one day without ever reading any of them.

E15 appeal to Supreme Court shouldn’t be necessary

It was a very different world when the idea of turning food into fuel might have seemed sensible. Truth is, it never made sense, except to those who hoodwinked Congress into passing a Renewable Fuel Standard that would pay off big for ethanol producers. Without question, that whole concept has clearly outlived its usefulness.

March Madness spills over into politics

For those who think Madness only comes in March (hope your NCAA bracket picks are holding up), I have sad news. Madness crops up any time. However, March seems to lead the pack and I’m not talking basketball. Just for some laughs today, check out a couple of random examples:

Publicity is always worth pursuing

Maybe I’m living in the past. I was, many years ago, a PR man in the Johnson Division of OMC (RIP). I remember writing news releases about everything from outboards to the Air-Buoy. (Anyone remember that product? It was neat, but it didn’t sell.)