Boating Industry

November 2016

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Page 25 of 51 26 | Boating Industry | November 2016 A s the boating season ends in most regions and winteriza- tions are winding down, it's time to start looking at the biggest selling event for dealers: boat shows. Whether you sell one boat or 50, there is no denying that a boat show presence is integral for a dealership's visibility and success. We talked to several dealers about their most successful strategies and compiled the following 17 tips for your 2017 boat show season. A SELLING AND BRANDING EVENT The fi rst tip any boat dealer should keep in mind is that shows are not just selling events anymore. Certainly the goal is and always should be to eventually sell more boats, but dealers need to also see boat shows as a "branding" event. "If you focus on just [branding or just selling], you miss out. If you focus on just the selling, you miss out on the branding and the social side. If you focus on just the social and [not] the selling, you make a lot of friends and don't sell anything," said Barrett Canfi eld, president of South Coast Yachts. "The most important thing at a show is to ex- hibit your dealership's culture and friendliness and desire to help people reach their goals in boating." IDENTIFY YOUR BOAT SHOW DEMOGRAPHIC Dealers can maximize their boat show success by determining who will be the demographic visiting a particular boat show ahead of time. Candlewood East Marina participates in three shows – Norwalk, New York and Hartford – and each of those shows attract a slightly different clientele. Norwalk, for instance, attracts a more mature buyer, whereas Hartford brings in more families and price-conscious customers. "When you have a limited number of boats and you're not going to have every one model on display, we defi nitely put some thought into who we think is going to be there so we bring the right product mix to appeal to that audience," said Mitch O'Hara, vice president of Candlewood East Marina. OFFER TRANSPARENT PRICING Today's buyers want to know exactly what they are going to pay for their boat. Include your monthly price breakdowns on all signage and don't leave anything out. Buster's Marine goes so far as to factor in and include the tax on the monthly payment. "We want to make it so the number we're giving you is a realistic monthly number," said David Schmitt, vice president at Buster's Marine. UTILIZE MANUFACTURER RESOURCES It's diffi cult for a dealership to come up with the creative needed to design a top-notch booth. Using your manufacturer's artwork, fl ags and other collateral will help give your booth a professional look. "It's nice to align with a manufacturer, and Beneteau really goes in completely, professionally and classy," said Canfi eld about one of its

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