A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Don’t be a ‘stupid salesman’

We need to grow the pie. We need to attract more women, more young people, more minority-group members — more people who don’t look exactly like me and, no offense, probably don’t look like you, either.

The Recreational Boating Stakeholders Growth Summit sketched a clear picture of the narrowing path we are traveling and how future success relies on adjusting to shifting demographics and diversification — on casting a much wider net for prospective new boaters.

No surprise there.

As an industry we certainly are doing a better job than we once did at recognizing not only the important role that women play in the buying process but also in understanding that they represent viable prospects in their own right.

Keep in mind, veteran marketer and longtime Trade Only columnist Wanda Kenton Smith has been beating the proverbial drum for women in boating since the late 1980s, when she founded International Women in Boating, the first of two groups she formed highlighting the expanding role and influence that women have in boating.

As Wanda has pointed out in previous columns, women make the majority of consumer purchasing decisions. They control as much as 80 percent of spending in the United States, including purchasing upward of 60 percent of new cars and more than 50 percent of used cars. And they “influence” more than 80 percent of car purchases.

What about boats?

“If Mama doesn’t want the boat, he ain’t getting the boat.” That’s a mantra Wanda has cited to explain the influence of women on an activity too often seen as dominated by men. Given that more than 80 percent of boaters are married, don’t just look at the name on the boat registration if you want to get an accurate picture of the dynamics of the purchasing process. It’s a joint decision, with both spouses sharing to varying degrees the “veto” and “yes” powers.

All that is prelude to a cautionary tale that appeared recently in Fortune magazine, a reminder that for as far as we’ve come, we still have a ways to go when it comes to shedding social and cultural stereotypes and adjusting our behaviors to a rapidly changing world.

The story involves financial journalist Becky Quick, a co-host of the morning TV business show “Squawk Box” on CNBC, and her experience buying a minivan.

When she was seven months’ pregnant, Quick visited several car dealerships with her husband and two children to test-drive a minivan — and to make a purchase. “But getting someone to take $40,000 from you can be tougher than you might think, as I learned at one Chrysler, one Honda and three Toyota dealerships,” Quick wrote in a column in Fortune, where she is a contributor.

All of the scenarios were similar to the one she encountered at a Toyota dealership near her home, where the salesman looked past her to find her husband, Quick writes. The sales rep responded to Quick’s questions about the car by speaking directly to her husband, essentially ignoring the real buyer, until Quick’s husband suggested that the salesman speak to his wife.

“When the guy took me to his desk to take down my information, he asked me for my home phone number and followed up with: “Obviously you don’t have a work phone.” Oops. Last time I looked, Quick was interviewing billionaire investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Quick also relates an experience that former Xerox chairman and CEO Anne Mulcahy had shopping for a Porsche several years ago. After a test drive, Mulcahy said she’d take the car. The salesman paused and asked whether there wasn’t someone she wanted to talk to first, according to Quick’s account. “If you don’t start working on the paperwork in the next 10 seconds,” Mulcahy replied, “I’ll drive 30 minutes to the next Porsche dealer and buy the car there.”

“It doesn’t take an M.B.A. to recognize the bad business practices on display,” Quick wrote. “The issue may be that the problem is so pervasive in the auto industry. Every salesman I dealt with on my minivan adventure automatically deferred to my husband. And in the end, even a stupid salesman can make a sale when he’s selling an essential good.”

She says she bought the minivan from the dealer described in her column because she was tired of shopping and the baby was coming.

We’ve come a good ways in the marine industry since Wanda first began raising our collective consciousness almost 25 years ago. Whether it’s cars, boats or homes, prospective customers have to be treated with respect, regardless of gender, age, color and ethnic background or the type of shoes they’re wearing or the car they drive up in. It’s just the right thing to do.

Deep-six the stereotypes. Success today and tomorrow requires smart, insightful sales teams who can better see the world as it truly is.


26 comments on “Don’t be a ‘stupid salesman’

  1. Old Boat Guy

    Are you just figuring this out now, Sherlock? Who is paying your wages for writing these boring columns? You said in your third paragraph, “No surprise there.” And then it took 15 more paragraphs to convince yourself, apparently.
    Go for a walk and get out into the real world once in awhile.

  2. denise

    Hey Old Boat Guy, you’re an idiot. Car salesman will never change. They’re stuck in the 70’s and most of them are selling cars because it’s the only job they get. I enjoyed the article because this has happened to me on many occassions.

  3. Jim Glus

    As my mind wanders back over my 28 yrs in the industry I can’t think of one time where I ignored the wife, girlfriend, or female partner in the buying equation. Nor can I think of any salesperson that worked with me or that I knew that ever did either. I learned early in my career that it usually takes two to tango and that their is usually a lead and that in more cases than I can remember was the female factor. I truly believe that it’s not that much of a problem in either the boating industry or the RV industry but stills continues in the car industry. That said, does anyone care to tell me why dealers keep hiring car sales people to represent them? Agresive sales people tend to go for the close way to eary in the process hence blowing the client out the door. We work in a “Recreational” industry and one of the major key factors that I have found that works the best is getting those clients to relax first, without it, it turns into an uphill battle.

  4. Ancient Mariner

    I find I have to start the conversation with a lot of appropriate buzzwords. Then most salesmen will engage in a real conversation with me. Otherwise, I am pretty much ignored. This is useful at boat shows, where I usually prefer to be ignored while I give the boat a good looking-over.

    Among all the other reasons, salesmen probably don’t like selling to women because we are, in general, better shoppers and harder to con. I say this as a former retail store owner. I didn’t con anyone, but I did love the guys who would come in and choose the most expensive option without asking about alternatives. I think it was a status thing. Women always asked.

  5. Scott Croft

    Old Boat Guy-
    What’s with all the anger? No need to bully here. If you knew Bill Sisson like the way I do, you’d know how inaccurate your comments are. Sorry sir, but you’ve just lost credibility with me.
    And if you can’t understand why Bill brings up such a topic and its relevance now, you’re kindly never going to understand.

  6. Wanda Kenton

    Bill, thanks for your reinforcement to the message I’ve pounded for the past 20 years! Our boating sales force is much more savvy about selling to women these days than they were in the past, but I’ve continued to watch even the good sales pros direct attention and questions to the “him” in the couple, while ignoring “her” in the process … or hold questions for the woman on things like colors and galley appointments, when that may or may not be her hot buttons. The bottom line here is to recognize the power and persuasion of women in the buying equation and to give them equal respect and attention in the sales process. Women are loyal customers. if you hope to earn the business, treat them right. And remember – it’s not a matter of WHAT boat she may want, but whether a boat is even an option! One more note … if SHE walks into the dealership, don’t ask where the husband is. It’s an insult. She may be fully capable of buying the boat and making the decision solo. The minute you treat her like a decision maker and with all that entails, the sooner you have the opportunity to earn her trust and business.

  7. Smitty

    Geez, Old Boat Guy, go down to your drugstore and look for the aisle marked “astringents.” Then read the article again. It’s pretty good.

  8. jimbucks

    Mr. Croft,
    You comments are not necessary in any form. If you have a situation with Mr. Sisson, handle it, it doesn’t belong here. And, if your the same Scott Croft from Boat US, you can be assured that they (Boat US) has lost credibility with me and hopefully others.

  9. jimbucks

    Oops, Sorry Mr. Croft, I should have read your posting better. I thought you were “Old boat guy” but were listing your name. Sorry, My bad.

  10. Mike

    The only man of the house that controls the decision of making a major purchase is a single man. And, if he is not single and does not solicit the input of his partner these days, he will soon be single. And, she may get the boat!

    Kudos on the article Bill. And kudos Wanda for pushing the issue!

  11. Michael Sciulla

    Bill, you’re right on in bringing up this subject again. I am not aware that much has changed since I produced and moderated a panel discussion at the 2008 Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show entitled, “Expanding the Boating Universe Beyond Middle-aged White Males” in which Wanda Kenton Smith was a panelist. The time for talk is over. The question is, when and what concrete steps will the industry take to broaden boating’s appeal beyond an ever-diminishing demographic?

  12. Pingback: Buying Power — Ignore Women at Your Own Peril « Margo Myers Communications

  13. CaptA

    Here is how it work in my house:

    Captain (me): Wow I like this boat. Maybe we should purchase it?

    ADMIRAL (MY WIFE): I need to see it and if I like it I WILL DEAL WITH THE SALEPERSON.

    Captain (me): Great. I’ll go get some oysters and a Dark-N-Stormy.

    Nuff Said.

  14. wetnwild

    I agree with many of the commenters here. Is this really newsworthy? Granted there are probably still some biased and stereotypical car salesman out there, but boating is largely a family activity and as such, generally follows a purchase process that engages more than just the male subject in the equation. Has there been any evidence presented to the contrary? or is someone scorned?

  15. Arch

    OLD BOAT GUY- I might absolutely agree with your take on the story, but that doesn’t justify being an arsswipe to Bill. Didn’t you learn from Limbaugh’s mistake? Rush was absolutly right about FLUKE, but he lost the narrative by personally attacking the messenger.

    The great thing about a FREE MARKET is that if a salesman offends a woman or minority, they can go down the street and buy from somebody else. It doesn’t bother me a bit if some GOOBER wants to offend women and minorities because that will just drive more traffic into my dealership. WE would NEVER have that kind of attitude towards woman, minorities, etc. I would fire them on the spot. NOR do I think most dealers have that kind of attitude. I don’t even hear about it anymore from ANYBODY except those womens rights activists and media members, both of whom have an agenda and struggle to remain relevant.
    WE ELECT A MINORITY AS PRESIDENT and yet racism has gotten worse, not better. Why? Well, that is for another post on another day. But it has a lot to do with the continued talk about race by the press, fanning the flames basically. The same can be said about people in our industry that are obsessed with women and minorities being victimized by our industry. It’s really pathetic.
    I find JIM GLUS as a voice of reason here. On the flip side, ANCIENT MARINER is WAY OFF BASE, with all due respect.
    WANDA, I really like you, but simple cannot agree with some of your comments. They certainly are textbook, very well written, and I know you are an industry expert. But I’ve been working at boat dealerships across the south (FL and other SE states) for 25 years and some of what you are saying is just not reality. Do you know why salesmen talk to women about color and galley appointments, it’s because that is USUALLY what the women want to talk about. Men have certain hot buttons and women usually have others. IF DANICA PATRICK were married and went car shopping, (assuming the salesman didn’t know who she was), the saleman might talk mechanics and performance with the man, yet direct functionality and cosmetics with the woman. That isn’t a HORRIBLE thing to do. In 80-90% of the cases, that would be perfectly ok. That isn’t disrespecful or sexist. If it is, then the man could make the same argument that HE is offended that the saleman discussed interior appointments and color with her, when it might be a hot button with him. Salesmen know that if the women is there (and not off taking care of the kids while the man deals with the salesman), she is involved in some way in the decision making. If he doesn’t want to give her equal attention or respect, that is his perogative and to his detriment. She can buy elsewhere and file a complaint with the dealership. That is the beauty of the free market and it helps the dealers that do it right. She isn’t going to NOT buy a car or NOT buy a boat because some salesperson focused 80-90% of his conversation with the man.
    But let’s be honest. To imply that men aren’t TYPICALLY the primary decision maker when it comes to married couples buying a boat is completely dishonest and unrealistic. Does that mean the women should be disrespected, ignored, or that the salesmen should ASSUME she is only there to pick colors and care for the kids? OF COURSE NOT. The salesman should ask some qualifying questions, treat them as equals, figure out what EACH of their hotbuttons are, and then sell the boat. It’s not rocket science.
    One more thing WANDA…..you mentioned a scenario of a woman walking into a boat dealership to buy a boat. You mentioned it as if it happens all the time. Next time you are driving around, go park in a boat dealership parking lot, and wait for a married woman to show up to go boat shopping without her husband. You might want to make sure you have a lot of time on your hand before starting that endeavor. In my experience, if a woman shows up at a boat dealership to look at boats, she is either meeting her husband there, or more than likely, there is no husband and probably never will be.
    I realize that most of you high profile industry people can never write unfiltered TRUTH, as I just did. You have to work an angle, be an advocate for something or somebody, and not offend anyone along the way. What you write is under constant scrutiny. I’m sure it’s tough to do day in and day out. But many of us are just sick of the political correctness we see by so many writing and contributing to these articles. Just look at the difference in rhetoric, tone, and talking points between the high profile industry people versus the owners of marine related businesses that are NOT under the same scrutiny. What does that tell you?
    Nevertheless, I think all of you do a very good job and we do appreciate the time you invest in writing these articles/op-ed pieces.

  16. AnonymousBob

    Holy cow, Arch!!

    You need to use the name “Archetype” from now on. Your post is the archetype of the stupid salesman mentality that could be the main character in Mr. Sisson’s post. Wow!!

    Did you even read what you wrote? The first example you use regarding Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke is an indicator as to your viewpoints. I know you have no concept of the issue at hand if you’re praising Limbaugh’s recent mysoginistic tirade.

    You criticize Wanda’s thoughts on the topic but then proceed to prove her right. Example: “to imply that men aren’t TYPICALLY (your emphasis) the primary decision maker when it comes to married couples buying a boat is completely dishonest and unrealistic”. You’re clueless. It may be the male that initiates the process, but the final purchase decision is (or should be) based on a coming together of the minds of the couple. If the female doesn’t want to buy the boat, the boat TYPICALLY (my emphasis) doesn’t get bought. If you’ve worked in the industry for 25 years as you claim, then you should have picked up on that concept by now. Of course, you state you’ve “been working at boat dealerships across the South (FL and other SE states) for over 25 years…”, which leads me to believe you haven’t owned a dealership, or been responsible for the overall management of a dealership. Because if you’re post is any indication of your overall attitude, then your attitude, your preconcieved notions, your beliefs, and your ideology would have driven that dealership straight into the ground and created a gaping crater of a hole.
    You don’t get it, you refuse to get it, and you’ll never get it. But, please, please keep at it, because GOOBERS like you keep my employees busy, my bankers smiling, and my wallet happy!

  17. Arch

    Nobody is supporting the appalling names that Rush called FLUKE. That doesn’t mean Rush lost the argument, nor does it mean you discredit everything Rush said because he resorted to using inappropriate language to attack her. We know FLUKE’s agenda now. She is worse than Rush. At least we can change the channel when Rush is on, but what FLUKE was trying to do was force a University and all religious institutions to turn their back on their beliefs, their doctrine, their legal rights. She is a menace and an agitator, which I’m sure is why YOU support her. And she specifically went to Georgetown to lobby against them and against the rights of religious institutions, but doing it under the guise of healthcare. By the way, FLUKE also supports and lobbies for gender re-assignment surgery to be covered by insurance companies. She sees no harm in her behavior because she is a PROGRESSIVE, and their motto is “The ends justify the means.”

    There is NO DOUBT that if the wife doesn’t want to buy the boat, in a high percentage of households, they aren’t getting the boat. I never stated or implied otherwise. I simply said that when it comes to BOATS, the man is typically/usually the primary decision maker. THAT IS A FACT. I never said he was the SOLE decision maker, or that her opinion didn’t count. You need to carefully read what I write, and then OBSERVE how things work in the real world for most boat buyers before getting your pantys in a wod. And a little civility wouldn’t hurt either. I defended Bill and respectfully disagreed with Wanda. I never attacked anyone.

    Oh, the last sentence of your post is real original, practically straight off my post. Nice work.

    It’s amazing to me that people like you are UNABLE to acknowledge reality, to recognize the different roles people have, the dynamics between a husband and wife, and to restrain from seeing someone as the victim. Women ON AVERAGE are more involved in the decision on a family automobile for example, because ON AVERAGE, she will probably be driving it around with the kids more than him. Can you process that ANDROGYNOUS BOB? Let me guess, you are thinking that is a SEXIST STATEMENT and that I think a woman belongs in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant.
    I know you are offended by that family automobile scenario but it’s REALISTIC for many families and just one of hundreds of examples I can give you that certain decisions, certain duties, the influence each has on a decision is RARELY 50/50. I would say buying a house would be in most cases because it is such a huge purchase and is truly on neutral ground. But if my wife does most of the cooking, and she is a stay at home mother (don’t worry, I let mine work, lol), she might be more inclined to want a kitchen renovation versus the man who really just sees $50k worth of cabinets and appliances as a waste of money. So she may be the primary decision maker on that one. And when it comes to boats, the man is typically the primary (not only) decision maker. That is just reality. You dont have to like it, and I’m sure it hurts your feelings, but it is what it is. But if the husband absolutely doesn’t want the kitchen, she probably wont get it. And if the wife absolutely doesn’t want the boat, he probably won’t get it either. Is it really that difficult to comprehend?

    Bob, why don’t you do what I suggested to Wanda. Drive your Prius over to a boat dealership, hang out in the parking lot, and let us know when a MARRIED WOMAN shows up without her husband to go boat shopping. Or better yet, let me know how many husbands are at the closings by themselves versus wives at the closings by themselves, and then report back to us.
    It’s funny how you half-heartedly acknowledge that men might initiate the process (and maybe do most of the boat shopping) yet she is there at the end (coming together of the minds- ahh, that sounds so cute and politically correct). In a scenario where that was true, where in the end he is just looking for his wife to OK the purchase, would he not usually be the primary decision maker?
    Have you ever heard a woman at a boat show tell you that the boat is “HIS BABY”. Do you need me to explain what that means? I’ve also heard women say it’s MY BABY while the guy sits there speechless. I have no doubt that the woman is the primary decision maker with that couple. Does it offend you when you hear a women say that or do you do bust into a little cheer for equality, woman’s rights, and gender justice? Fluke would be so proud of you.

  18. AnonymousBob

    Arch, Arch, Arch…

    You are so easily riled. You really do make me laugh.

    Your assumptions and generalizations are precisely why diversity in our industry will be so hard to realize. I beg of you to change the channel from Rush because he is filling you with spite. You, nor Rush, nor I, know the ulterior motives of anyone, but to say Fluke went to Georgetown Law School for all these years just for the sole purpose of attacking their supposed religious beliefs is a bit of a far-fetched, ludicrous conspiracy theory. But, that’s what Rush said, so it’s gotta be true, right?

    Look, you’re going to believe what you want to believe (no, I don’t drive a Prius), and I believe what I believe, so that is what it is. But, I do know that demographic changes in our country require the Marine industry, and all industries, to broaden our horizons. Not to the EXCLUSION of white males and females, but to the INCLUSION of everyone. Females, of all races, are the major purchase influencers in our society. Whether they initiate the purchase process is irrelevant, regardless of boats, cabinets, houses, or a Prius. Whether you warm up to this; whether you embrace it; or whether you keep fighting it – it is what it is. Lump it or leave it. The only time you will find a male as the sole decision maker for a major purchase is if he’s single.
    I am all for equality, because I want the biggest customer base possible. Like I paraphrased from your original post, I will gladly take business away from the GOOBERS out there that continue to live in the Stone Age. I’m all for fairness because my values, integrity, and reputation dictate that. My customers know it and can count on it all the time.
    I enjoy the dialog we have primarily because I enjoy seeing you get your panties in a wad. Your replies also are proof positive to me that my moderate viewpoints, my equality stance, my fairness, and my common sense will keep me successful, like I have been all these years. I’ll gladly take you as my competition any day.

  19. Arch

    It’s so funny…you have lost the debate, so now you are DEFLECTING by stating I said things that I actually never said. For example, you are using the word SOLELY and I NEVER SAID MEN WERE THE SOLE DECISION MAKERS. I only said that with boats, on average, they are the PRIMARY decision makers. Perhaps you should look up the definition of those 2 words and then maybe you will realize why you look the fool right now. And I never stated or implied that women aren’t the major purchase influencers in society. That is probably true, but that isn’t what we are talking about here. We are talking about who the major purchase influencer is WITH BOAT PURCHASES. With boats, I”m telling you that the major purchase influencer is usually the MAN and you deny that even though it’s FACT. Nobody in their right mind would disagree with that. The reason you will not acknowledge that is because you think that by doing so it makes you insensitive, racist, sexist, or a redneck. And with liberals and progressives, that would be true (which is exactly why you think that way), but it isn’t. That is simply the inconvenient truth.

    And whether a dealer embraces it or not is irrelevant and none of our business. They are entitled not to. Dealers don’t have a sign on their door stating their position on women and minorities. It’s hilarious to me that you (and probably a few others ) think that a dealer who doesn’t openly embrace women and minorities as boat buyers will suffer and go out of business. As if there was some litmus test. Hypothetically, you can have a dealership that has nothing but racist and sexist salespeople, and their success in the industry will have very little to no correleation with that at all. The economy, their product line, their customer service, their location, their advertising/marketing, their pricing, business decisions made over the years by it’s owner, etc…..all have much more to do with it. This is why most of us see these articles and opinions from people like you and we just shake our heads. Sure, they need something to write about, and libs/progs need a cause to take up, so I understand that side of it. But to imply that this is a real important issue, as if the very life of our industry depended on it is ridiculous. It’s basically just something to write about when you are out of ideas.
    A dealership should be INDIFFERENT TO SEX, RACE, etc . I have no doubt that there are hundreds if not thousands of racist and sexist boat salespeople out there. But they exist in every industry and guess what, in probably 99% of the cases, the buyer has no idea what is in the heart of the salesperson they are dealing with. The salesperson could be a hateful bigoted SOB, but in most cases the buyers will never know it because that salesperson wants to earn a commission and keep their job. I’ll prove my point. For ex: Some of my best customers over the years have been GAY WOMEN. UNLIKE YOU and OTHER LIBERALS/PROGRESSIVES who have to categorize everyone, I just see them as customers, not as gay customers. I’m INDIFFERENT about their sexual preference, as I am about race, nationality, sex, etc. They love me, yet I may very well be completely against gay marriage (as most of the country is). If they knew that, they would probably choose not to buy from me and I would completely understand. But guess what, they don’t know that. And this happens with all of us everyday. We do business with people that may not like us or have issues with our race, color, sex, personality, the way we discipline our kids, our political affiliation, whether we smoke or not, whether we drive a gas guzzling pollution machine, or that we hate country music, etc.

    Also, NOBODY SAID FLUKE WENT TO GEORGETOWN FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF ATTACKING THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. She admits that was one of the reasons she chose Georgetown. Whether Rush said it or not is irrelevant. That is what SHE said. Everything I said about her is fact and indisputable. You aren’t entitled to your own facts just because you’ve lost the debate.

    YOU SAID – I am all for equality, because I want the biggest customer base possible. WHO DOESN”T?
    YOU SAID- I will gladly take business away from the GOOBERS out there that continue to live in the Stone Age. THAT IS ALMOST VERBATIM WHAT I SAID IN MY LAST POST.
    YOU SAID- I’m all for fairness because my values, integrity, and reputation dictate that. My customers know it and can count on it all the time. I DON”T DOUBT THAT, but here is the kicker, I SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT MYSELF ALL THE TIME, and my customers and the marine industry says the same thing about me. I have been recognized in the community and by the marine industry for it. And I HAVE TONS OF GAY and MINORITY CUSTOMERS AND THEY ALL LOVE DOING BUSINESS WITH ME because I treat them with kindness, respect, and Integrity, as I do any other customer.

    My point is that one doesn’t have to prescribe to the idea that we have to apply SOCIAL ENGINEERING to the marine industry. I actually have too much respect for women and minorities to think that, and enough intelligence to know that it won’t work.

    If you go back and read my posts, I presented actual facts, scenarios, and realities and you conveniently didn’t address any of them. You just reply with some general nondescript textbook politically correct reply with no facts and no responses to my questions and statements.
    I’ll give you one thing, you sure have the politically correct buzzwords downpat….Moderate, equality, fairness, etc. If this boat thing doesn’t work out for you (and it probably won’t since the industry is DOOMED due to being dominated by misogynistic racist republican white dudes), you definitely have a career in politics. But you will probably want to buy that Prius first.
    I stand by my original comment…

  20. Scott Croft

    This discussion was not about politics, it was about how to sell more boats in the future and the idea that there are other untapped markets out there that may not look like the (declining) current target market of white males. We are all free to agree or disagree with Bill Sisson.

    Political correctness, women’s contraception, media bias, or driving a prius are irrelevant and don’t have a place in this conversation.

  21. Arch

    The other thing that drives RATIONAL people crazy is this business is the media obsession with trying to pinpoint what is wrong and then grabbing at straws at what and who to blame. I”m not saying that some of it isn’t worth discussing, but I wish somebody would just say the truth: INDUSTRY SALES ARE OFF BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY AND LACK OF CONSUMER CONFIDENCE.
    It’s not because of misogynistic racist boat salesmen, too few boat shows, too many boat shows, too many mfg’s, not enough mfg’s, life jacket requirements, manatee zones, the lack of green products, and whether we should fund grow boating.
    Somebody came up with this and it’s very appropriate for our industry, “It’s the economy stupid!” It boils down to the economy and affordability. What the industry can’t wrap their heads around is how to address the fact that boats are becoming more expensive to build and yet less affordable to own. Now that is the real issue. All this other stuff is just bs to take up space. NONE OF IT will amount to a hill of beans in the end.
    THere is very little we can do to address the build costs of boats. Material costs keep going up, more regulations and bureaucracy increase a builders cost, and the fact that we don’t mass produce in large numbers like other industries makes it really hard to contain costs. So, it boils down to the economy. We have an election coming up. You will have a choice then to make a difference or not. Best of luck.

  22. Arch

    While reading the paper this morning, I came across this article by Esther Cepeda, a respected hispanic nationally syndicated columinist for the Washington Post. Before you make any assumptions, she has made it very clear in past articles she is NOT a Republican. She champions issues that are very popular with liberals and democrats. So her comment might surprise some of you that insist on marketing to a group that is ALREADY part of the mainstream.
    The link is below, but I’ll summarize the last paragraph…
    “Hispanics don’t like to feel like they’re being marketed to differently than their English-speaking neighbors.”
    That is EXACTLY what I’ve been saying all along. All this non-sense about marketing to hispanics, having spanish ads, spanish websites, black magazines and black tv channels, etc is all garbage. Minorities don’t need you to invite them into the mainstream when they are already here. They don’t need you to lend them a hand. If they want a boat, they will buy one. What we need to focus on is getting adults behind the wheel of boats and introducing boating to kids. For those of you that have to put everyone in categories, that means ALL KIDS and ALL ADULTS (all colors, all nationalities, etc).

  23. Scott Croft

    So you are saying that, for example, boating advertising should only show old white men as all of the other stuff is “non-sense”?
    I would have to respectfully disagree with you.
    I, sadly, don’t see any of the minorities you mention at my boat club (“mainstream”), and that’s at the core of the problem. (note: it’s not the only problem…your point about cost is very relevant).

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