More than a decade ago, powerboat manufacturer dealer meetings were part of the annual summer travel schedules for magazine editors who covered recreational boating. They were basically rah-rah events where the boatbuilders met with their dealers at a central location, introduced new models and got the dealers hyped up before they ordered their boats for the coming year. Of course, there were closed-door sessions the editors couldn’t attend and in the evenings everyone gathered and drank a little too much. The vision of dealers at the Formula Boats meeting one year doing the Macarena still provokes involuntary shudders.
Nor-Tech has transformed the dealer meeting from a hype event to generate new boat orders to an educational experience that puts its dealers in the best position to serve their mutual customers. Photos by Kevin Lane courtesy/copyright Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats
There was, however, one common flaw among the old-school dealer meetings. The dealers didn’t learn anything.
Dealer meetings still exist, but they aren’t the same lavish events they once were, nor do they get the same level of media attention. Six years ago, the management team at Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats decided to start holding a dealer meeting with a different premise. Company co-founders Trond Schou and Nils Johnsen wanted to position their dealers to better serve the customers.
“It’s a team effort,” said Geoff Tomlinson, the dealer manager for Nor-Tech, which is based
in Cape Coral, Fla., and is one of the largest employers in the area. “We all bring a lot to the table and that’s something we wanted to focus on, from the dealers and from our vendors, physically having the boat in the water and having the vendor in it. You can see a different type of engagement.”