A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Don’t forget the independents

In the last two years dealers have made great strides in bringing the consumers back into the independent marine dealers’ stores and  marinas.  All off this was accomplished because they had the inventory and knowledgeable staff. They need to continue this even in a down season of new boat sales. Advertising, marketing and full stores is only way to go in 2007! Don’t drop the ball!         

Bob Staehle    
Kellogg Marine Supply 


3 comments on “Don’t forget the independents

  1. Tommy Leek

    Bob Staehle is right about consumers increasing in the marine independent dealers and marinas. Some of this increase comes by service traffic into the stores that have improved their inventory selection, staff, and general store appearance. When customers are satisfied, they return.

  2. Dale Landrith Jr

    In every boating season there are dealers who continually find ways to grow, and dealers who always have a complaint. The dealers who constantly are in a growth pattern seem to have found much of their solution in Bob’s methodology; however, the real solution starts ealier. I once heard it said: “You cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails!” Many dealers who are in a constant complaint mode seem to create their own nightmare. They down-size inventory, reduce marketing budgets, hire less help, or participate in less shows as a result of a poorly forecasted upcoming season. The problem with these actions is that every consumer who comes to their location wonders if this dealer really wants to be in the boating business, and many times this consumer will leave to shop elsewhere.
    Dealers who are in the constant growth mode, understand that slow times are the time to better focus on the exact things which Bob outlines. Down seasons are perfect for expansion of Marketing, upgrading store appearance, and in general trying new things. Consumers can sense the difference in this type of store. They see changes, and upgrades as well as a different service attitude. Every action the dealers make will not succeed, but the important factor is the consistent pursuit of “a little bit better.” The dealers which follow Bob’s recipe, are the ones who seem to be taking over more market-share every year, and growing in the midst of gas prices, rain, poor economy, product recalls, EPA requirements, etc. These dealers who “Get it” find ways to make their own success happen, and Bob’s recipe contains the solutions for any dealer who needs to start a growth pattern now.

    Lets have a Great 2007!

  3. Bob Harris

    Amen! It all comes down to delivering quality customer service. You have to have knowledgeable staff, good inventory levels, and competitive prices. You also have to find ways of getting consumers into the dealer stores.

    This is a recipe for success. I have witnessed on many occasions that the dealer states business is down because of this reason or that, and they regress their business model for the year, vs. creatively marketing, and strategizing to “attack” the business for the upcoming year.

    Surivival of the fittest. Get them in your store; service the heck out of them; and don’t forget to thank them for coming in.

    You can’t sell out of an empty wagon. No sale, no profit. Simple as that.

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