From the Captain’s Chair: Boat Show Season is Upon Us September 28, 2017
We are so grateful that Hurricane Irma was not as destructive in Broward County as she was to our neighbors in many other parts of Florida, and along with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. The overwhelming needs of all those who have been negatively impacted by these two Category 5 storms can feel overwhelming. We have learned that the Florida Keys are operating in emergency mode and the U.S. Coast Guard is handling boats, the Department of Environmental Protection is tackling marine debris, and Monroe County Marine Resources is responsible for the boats and debris in canals and on land. At MIASF, we are planning to have a coordinated effort to provide meaningful assistance in the U.S. and our impacted territories, and we are helping to identify marine and aviation resources that can help address the urgent humanitarian response needed throughout the affected areas. Our hearts and prayers are with those who have lost everything and are desperately seeking help. Be on the lookout for an MIASF Call to Action in the coming weeks.
We thank the everyday heroes who worked 24/7 in preparation of Irma and who continue to work to help Florida recover. In the marine sector, the teamwork and coordination between businesses and government agencies resulted in the safe harbor of many vessels, with most boatyards and marinas in Broward and Palm Beach Counties reporting they received minimal damage and are open for business – including the seven boat show sites.
Many companies are more than likely moving in to “Boat Show mode” this month, including MIASF. We are working closely with Show Management/Informa to ensure that the experience of our exhibitors and visitors is enhanced with some of the changes being made, such as new floating docks, wi-fi improvements, and Wayfinding signage.
Being a successful exhibitor at FLIBS requires an approach that is part science and part art, but there are certain actions that will considerably improve the chances of profitability. Bring your individual best game and choose representatives that project the right attitude and have the highest aptitude to increase success rates. Set a goal. If sales at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show contribute a large percentage to your annual bottom line, make sure everyone is aware of the objective and is aiming for the same target. Don’t forget the importance of setting a stretch goal and including incentives to reach the highest levels.
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and it can become easy or convenient to blame external factors and forces. Avoid any confusion or uncertainty by making sure internal staff and functions are designed to provide appropriate efficiencies and the best customer service possible. Make sure everyone at your booth is gracious, greets every visitor, and is trained to look customers in the eye, which means their eyes are not glued to their cell phones. Remember the adage, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s always been true.
Getting back to the basics of salesmanship and being an ambassador of the marine industry helps elevate who we are and continues to build our brand. Being helpful goes a long way in establishing a long-term client, even if that means referring them to another company that can meet their needs. Exhibitors are always wondering where they will find their next customer. Look up, they could be right in front of you.