What’s working for dealers


(This story is a sidebar within the feature story The Affordability Challenge.)

We also reached out to the dealer readers of Boating Industry to ask them how they are promoting boating affordability. Here are a few of the best ideas we heard.

“We show in detail how well most good boat brands hold their value, far better than most any other recreational product we have compared to. That the real cost of boating is what they paid for their boat and the value it retains over a period of time. (we usually pick five years). We show them that they cannot take one one-week trip to Disney with their family for what it costs to own and enjoy an average boat for the season. We go on and on trying a host of different stories and using different tactics to rebuild emotion to hopefully overcome the price.”
– Jerry Brouwer, Action Water Sports

“We constantly remind and train our staff on the family lifestyle in rec boats, the quality time in fishing boats, and the leisure time in pontoon boats. We must continually train and monitor this in order to meet this challenge head on. Glenn Roller training is a perfect example of this new age of selling and those of us who do not buy into ‘lifestyle selling’ will most likely cease to exist.”
– Jeff Wilcox, George’s Marine & Sports

“Clients have become used to purchasing the current/newest model year car with more features for the same or less. The same holds true for all types of electronics and houses for that matter, too, as of the last five years. As a company we are spending a lot of time on that very question: What can we do as Team Strongs to provide a better boating experience in all that we do for less? We are looking at every area, service, storage, dockage, boat sales for ways that we can become more efficient and/or offer/create new programs that provide a better value for the client and at the same time make the experience even better.”
– Jeff Strong, Strong’s Marine

“We are promoting our relationship with SailTime in Boston and with a local sailing club to anyone that says they are ‘just dreaming’ or are ‘a few years away from buying.’ These are great ways to get our prospect on the water in the types of boats that we sell. They become comfortable with boating, see how much they enjoy it, get hooked, and better understand what they want in a boat. They are able to get better educated and are therefore more confident in purchasing in the future. If we can show them the fun they will have, the other vacations they won’t need to take, etc. then they are more comfortable with the costs of boating.”
– Douglyss Giuliana, Advantage Yacht Sales

“We are aggressively buying, trading, brokering and selling used boats. These would be less than $20,000, three to 10 years old. Also we started a pontoon rental business and 2013 will be our third season. As need increases we could start renting runabouts, fishing boats and tow. The rental boats are sold at the end of each year to keep the fleet new and clean. This also gives us four to six, 1-year-old pontoons in the sub-$20K market.”
– Travis Hayes, Hayes Marine

“I don’t think affordability is the issue. The perception of being unaffordable is the issue, and when potential clients are taught about the actual costs, long-term value and they can weigh it against the gains, the affordability concern gets mitigated.”
– Aaron Fell, Breakwater Marine


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