At the Helm: Sailing into the holidays

By David Gee

I love this time of year; for its festiveness, for the chance to gather with friends and family, for ancient stories and meaningful traditions.

However, as a boater and watersports enthusiast living where there is winter, I am less of a fan of this time of year. More accurately though, I am fine with December, it’s just the three months that follow that I struggle with.

Poets and philosophers over the years have spoken to these feelings. You might know a few of these: “God gave us memories so we can have roses in December.” “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” And so on.

I certainly have good memories of this past summer boating season. Sunset slalom sets with just me and my wife on a quiet, glassy lake. Not-so-quiet mid-afternoon, mid-summer wake surfing on crowded boats and crowded lakes. A guys-only sailboat charter on Lake Superior to explore the Apostle Islands. Center console demo rides at IBEX.
It’s all good stuff, and hopefully it can sustain me through my non-boating season.

You know what else is good stuff? The Boating Industry Top 100 applications I recently had the pleasure of poring through.

It’s a lot of work for us to read and score and discuss, and we know it’s a lot of work for dealers who go through the process (by the way, we are trying to streamline that for the future). But we find it extremely interesting and revelatory, and hopefully those who go through it learn something valuable as well.

One of my biggest takeaways from the dealer stories is the contrast between sophisticated and simple that was apparent in so many of the applications.

On the one hand, top dealers are using the latest CRM programs, SEO and SEM tools, creating copious amounts of content and doing everything possible to generate leads, sell and service boats, stand out in the market and give back to the community.

On the other hand, many of the mission statements and company mantras are pretty basic; work as hard as possible, take care of people, treat co-workers and customers alike with respect, plow profits back into the business, and grow. Rinse and repeat. Year after year.

Simple, but not easy, right? At any rate, we trust you will enjoy reading about these top dealers as much as we did. Congrats again to all of them.

We also trust you will find some holiday cheer this season, on – or off – the water! From all of us at Boating Industry, to all of you, Happy Holidays.

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