Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Red alert on red snapper management

For those of us in boating and fishing, New Orleans is a center of activity this week. As you read this, both the Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council are holding separate multiday meetings in the Big Easy.

A strike against voice mail from hell

Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts Charters and pens an enjoyable monthly customer newsletter called “View From The Marina.” This month, in her often humorous style, she hits a subject that genuinely touches us all these days and, thus, merits some serious consideration. Here’s her view of the oft-dreaded automated voice phone systems:

Here comes Santa Claus, Part 3

In this final blog encouraging you to develop a strategic Christmas sales plan, it all comes down to communication with your customers. That assumes, of course, you’ve fine-tuned your timing, deals and delivery.

Here comes Santa Claus, Part 2

As I indicated in this blog last Thursday, if you’re expecting to capture some consumer Christmas spending, now is the time to craft your strategic Christmas sales plan. And, as promised, here are some ideas that could help you arrive at a plan that will work in your dealership.

Here comes Santa Claus, Part 1

I entered Lowe’s Wednesday to pick up a few items and right in my face were rows of lighted Christmas trees, inflatable Santas, big candy canes, piles of green wreaths — you name it.

Lawsuits fly over swipe fees and surcharges

Are retailers that accept debit cards being charged unreasonable swipe fees? Should the firms handling these “interchange” fees (the amount banks charge retailers) be required to refund money to retailers? In the case of a customers using a credit card, is it illegal for retailers to add a processing fee to the credit card charge? […]

We need regulatory reform, Part 1

Reagan Haynes’ report in Trade Only Today on Sept. 25 on the threatened lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency by the Sierra Club and California Communities Against Toxics is a stark reminder that we badly need regulatory reform.

Feel-good news that should boost our spirits

In case you haven’t been following it, thus far every fall show has seen an increase in attendance and better sales reports, clear indication consumers are coming back to what remains the industry’s single most effective medium for putting products in front of thousands of prospects.

California boaters win — and so should customers

Kudos to California boaters on winning a major victory to keep the funds in the Harbor and Watercraft Revolving Fund from being pirated away for non-boating uses. The win reminds dealers of the importance of membership in both your local marine trade association and in the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and to be […]

Video marketing is easier than you think

At the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference this week, the Marine Marketers of America presented their Exhibitor Video Awards for the year’s best product and company videos. And while those videos are truly professional-grade, video use is not just for the big guys. Budget-conscious dealers can easily make videos a part of their content marketing […]

Industry eyes Washington on fishing and taxes

The House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing Wednesday on the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, which is up for reauthorization this year. It’s a law that has caused angst among saltwater anglers and boaters nationwide.

New boaters turn out at Tampa Show

If the Tampa Boat Show was struggling after the 2008 financial collapse, you’d never know it after last weekend’s robust show. Show manager Larry Berryman has succeeded in rebuilding the event into the market’s top show and the public responded accordingly.

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.