A well-timed apology to a customer with a problem can save the day. Unless, of course, it ends there.
With representative from all segments of the industry gathered in Washington today for the American Boating Congress, it gives us reason to pause and consider just how boat dealers can really affect what happens to them politically.
We don’t get them because we probably don’t ask for them. We might not always get what we ask for, of course. But if we never ask, we can bet we won’t get what we’re seeking.
Michigan outlawed it. Ohio lawmakers are on course to prohibit it. Arkansas has declared it unconstitutional. If nothing else, the subject of random boarding of the nation’s recreational boaters is finally taking center stage.
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?
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).
The playing field might finally be leveling when it comes to taxes on Internet sales, while a renewal fee for documented boats is being sought by the Coast Guard for the first time.
Republicans, Democrats, independents . . . if they’re lawmakers in Washington, it seems they all claim they want to help small businesses. Sounds good.
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?
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?
What is the largest demographic segment in U.S. history? Baby boomers.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The headline in a recent edition of USA Today read “Homes are selling lickety-split.” I turned to my wife and said: “Now there’s just one more reason I predict 2013 will be a good year for the boating industry.”
When you participate in WTTW (“Welcome To The Water”) on NMD (National Marina Day) you will have a GWP (Great Weekend Promotion).
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.)
I’ve often wondered if top salespeople share common characteristics that could be adopted by those striving to be more successful.
Raising prices is always tricky. We want fair prices for our products and services, but we don’t want to lose customers as a result. It makes for worrisome decisions for all dealers. So when and how do we do it?
The United States Power Squadrons has taught more than 4 million boaters during the last 99 years, but that number is expected to rapidly increase when a new, soon-to-be-announced program begins this spring. Moreover, the value of the Power Squadrons to marine dealers will become more evident, too.
The announcement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association that Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., will join Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., as co-chairs of the Congressional Boating Caucus was welcomed news. It’s timely, then, to look at what the caucus means to all of us in the […]
“Those guys are kicking our butts,” Ed McKnew said to me last week, citing the fact that the RV industry appears to be doing much better in its recovery than the marine industry.
As already reported, the Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail was another success and the Detroit Boat Show that runs until this Sunday racked up a very big first weekend.
A recent email from MarineMax reminded me that the time is now for dealers to plan customer events during the upcoming boating season. In this case, MarineMax was promoting a trip for its trailer-boating customers to Mount Dora in Florida and an antique boat show. MarineMax puts a lot of stake in its customer events […]
Key boat shows at opposite ends of the country — one up north in the Great Lakes’ second biggest market of Detroit, and two monsters in Miami that cover everything the industry has to offer — will open doors today and Saturday and give us a pretty clear indication of just what to expect for […]
What do housing prices, gourmet coffees and boat sales have in common? They all recorded gains in 2012.
“It’s sure not fun anymore.” Sadly, I’ve often heard that during this recession, from dealers to salespeople to association directors. All agree they once were having fun. But, the length and depth of this downturn seems to have pounded the fun out of them.
It’s not the lack of rain, snow or ice cover that has the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition “making noise.”
In what should have been the ruling in the lawsuit against E15 mandates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has finally called out the Environmental Protection Agency for using “an unreasonable exercise of agency discretion.”
It’s called the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s not surprising. If you have, but you’re really not sure what it does, no surprise there either. That’s because this organization “quietly” goes about its work, calling little attention to itself while doggedly pursuing a goal of bringing more people […]
I spent last weekend at the Cleveland Boat Show and watched it swell with visitors. For the first time in 65 years, the show was cut from 10 days to a 5-day event, but the 10-day attendance figures still poured in.
“Play the game, not the score.”
In case you missed it, there’s good news from the National Marine Bankers Association. It recently reported increased loan activity for 2012 through the third quarter, with 92 percent of those reporting expecting the final quarter will prove the same or better than a year ago.
“It was insanity. We are at a record pace,” said Mark Biasco of Munson Ski & Marine, describing the Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show.
If you see the attendance numbers (down 19 percent) at the New York Boat Show last weekend as a bad indicator of the industry’s show season ahead, you’re missing the real picture. Facts support our expectation that the shows will see improved results in 2013.
Now that the media frenzy about the deal to avoid the fiscal cliff has calmed down, details of the bill are being discovered. After all, who reads a 1,800-page bill before voting for it these days.
“Give one hour of your time (or contribute $10 dollars) and join us in packaging 100,000 holiday meals,” the sign read in the service department at Crown Automotive Group.
The news came as a surprise. It was in a video to constituents in which Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., proposed dumping the mortgage interest deduction for boats that qualify as a second home.
Tis’ the time of year when we like to recognize employees with Christmas parties, bonuses and/or gifts. But according to author Cindy Ventrice in her book, “Make Their Day! Employee Recognition that Works” (Amazon), it really doesn’t work. The problem is this: Christmas gifts and bonuses are considered by most employees as some “entitlement” rather […]
Retail dealers shouldn’t need a lot of reasons to be members of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. The fact that the MRAA is the exclusive national flag for the retail segment of our industry is reason enough.
This is a great time of year. It’s a point when the boating business typically slows down enough to allow time to reflect on thoughts and ideas that, while not earth-shaking, might be helpful going forward. Here are three purely random things worth thinking about:
While the Boating Associations of Ohio spars with the Ohio Department of Taxation over the latter’s decision to renege on a decade-old deal with Ohio’s dealers concerning the application of “use tax” (see Tuesday’s Dealer Outlook for details), two Florida associations took on the issue of “sales and use tax” and hit a home run […]
A recent report that the Ohio Department of Taxation is going back on a deal it made with the marine industry immediately grabbed my attention, because I was the one who agreed to the deal a decade ago. This new dilemma, compared with a similar, though not identical, situation in Florida, gives us a great […]
The election is settled and Thanksgiving is behind us. It’s the season to be jolly. And jolly it might be if we look at encouraging reports of positive economic activity and consumer attitudes.
“It is absolutely absurd,” NMMA legislative director Jim Currie told the National Marine Trades Council when describing EPA’s recent approval of a model E15 “Misfueling Mitigation Plan” developed by the so-called Renewable Fuels Association.
What a round of meetings last week in the White House about solving the looming “fiscal cliff.” Union leaders came there Tuesday. CEOs from big corporations were invited in on Wednesday (no small businessmen invited). Why, I’ll bet there was even a delegation from Hollywood packed in there one day.
There’s no more time to put off your active support of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. The bill (S. 3525) is scheduled to come up for a vote tonight after 5:30 p.m. in the U.S. Senate.
If you’re looking for some optimism in our industry, there was plenty of it at the National Marine Trades Council’s two-day meeting, which wrapped up Monday in Orlando.
There’s good news these days from the industry’s Discover Boating national campaign. A report on this year’s results will be discussed this weekend in Orlando at the annual meeting of the National Marine Trades Council. Then, attendees at the 2012 Marine Dealer Conference and Expo that opens Monday will get a first look at the […]