Step 5 to uniting the diving industry is to participate in the international diving cooperative program, DIVE LOCAL. DIVE LOCAL is a project of the Dive Industry Foundation, a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax-deductible, charitable organization. DIVE LOCAL is international in scope and one of its sponsors is the Dive Industry Association. DIVE LOCAL has a Blog Website, a Facebook Page and its own Twitter Account. The main goal of DIVE LOCAL is to create opportunities for local diving businesses and help them succeed in business, thereby growing the industry.
Our first task is to define the size of the industry and its economical potential. To do that we must identify the dive businesses and dive industry professionals that make up the dive business community. To ensure that only current dive businesses are listed in our directories on https://divelocal.wordpress.com we are asking dive businesses to send us their current business card and any marketing materials they may have on their company.
Anyone who comes in contact with a Dive Industry Professional can participate in this project. Manufacturers can send us a business card from each of their key employees and Reps as well as their product catalog, Dealer Price Sheet and any marketing materials they may have. Dive Retailers can get a business card from every Sales Rep who visits their store. Sales Reps can get a Business Card from every Dive Store they visit throughout the year or see at the DEMA Show or Regional Dive Show they attend. It would be very helpful if you put them in the mail to us on a monthly basis. Training Agencies come in contact with a tremendous number of Dive Industry Professionals and can and should be a big help in this project.
The reason we ask for the original business cards is that we use Card Scan hardware and software to process and file the cards for our industry database, which is currently at about 4,300 Dive Businesses and Industry Professionals.
But first, allow me to destroy some common myths and assumptions associated with this project and give you some guarantees that will make you feel more at ease. First of all, DIVE LOCAL will not share any sensitive content about your company to any individuals in the industry. In the case of dive companies, we only list the name of the company, it’s city, state and country and its website address on our Regional and Worldwide Directories. That is to give you exposure and promotion to potential customers, not to get you on everyone’s spam list. In the case of Dive Stores and Dive Boats, 99% of these businesses want people to visit their business website. That’s how you get customers. Dive Clubs and Dive Instructors may have different ideas on how they advertise for customers and that is on our “To Discuss” list.
Secondly, we are listing dive businesses (Manufacturing, Retail, Training and Travel) that are registered businesses with their city, state, county and country governments. They are finite in number and their contact information is available to the public. There is no secret as to who they are or where they do business. Why would any company doing business in public want to hide from being discovered by potential customers?
DIVE LOCAL already has special cooperative programs for Training and Manufacturing Sales Reps to help them identify Retail Dive Centers in their territory. We have gotten business cards from a number of Reps and even listed their accounts on a database that is specifically tailored to them. Their list can be emailed to them quickly and as needed should they lose or forget to bring their Dealer Accounts Book with them on the road. Of course, their list is never available to anyone but them. A great benefit of this program is our automatic updates to the Reps when we discover an out-of-business Dealer or a new Dive Store in their territory. Any Sales Rep can call our office for details and how our program can be of value to them.
The last myth I would like to dispel is the fact that any customer is “Your” customer and belongs to you. First of all, customers do not belong to you. They are yours only for that period of time when you meet their needs with goods and services they need, want and can afford. If you want them to be your customer for a longer period of time, you must continue to meet their needs. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the major certification agencies published Directories of their Scuba Instructors. The directory listings helped working Instructors find new students. As Instructors stopped teaching classes, the need to be in a directory vanished and actually became a problem with unwanted phone calls asking about new classes. Another problem was that agency competitors may have been using their directory to solicit their Instructors. Either way, the working Professional Educators lost a good source of marketing exposure.
Now in the 21st Century we have Instructor and Dealer Directories on-line. It seems that everyone has a directory, but unfortunately many are not well kept or current. And there still is no all-inclusive, industry-wide directory. Maybe with DIVE LOCAL, that will all change.
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