Having Referral-Ready Contact Information
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional
The primary mission of the Dive Industry Association is to bring Buyers and Sellers together. Knowing who the sellers are, what they sell and how to get a hold of them are our primary challenges, and therefore, essential components to the successful completion of our mission. A good deal of the Association’s work is behind the scenes. We gather information, knowledge and experience about the industry’s diving equipment, training and travel. These are the three most important categories that contribute to the industry’s economic development. In short, this is what the industry sells. The second thing we do is maintain an industry database that includes the current contact information of the buyers and sellers of diving programs, products and services. Again, this is an industry service that, in itself, is not an income generator for the Association but is vital information to the industry. The third thing we do is facilitate exchanges between the buyers and sellers.
Purchasing decisions are made when a customer with a need decides to purchase a program, product or service to satiate that need, after they have completed their research into the vast array of products that will solve their need and the competitive sellers who provide those products. Referrals from Trade Associations make the purchasing decision quicker, easier and less risky for the consumer. Based on our experience in the industry and the market place, we are familiar with the products and the suppliers. We understand how the products are used and why they satiate certain physical, psychological, social, and recreational needs. Many times, our Members and our Staff are currently using the products that the potential consumer is considering. Our credibility, integrity and professional relationships with both the buyers and sellers far outweigh any trust issues a consumer may have with a unknown sales person. Especially if the seller does not have a current professional relationship with the buyer.
Believe it or not, many times we cannot make a referral to a willing customer because the supplier of that product does not have their current contact information in our system. They may have moved, gone out of business, or opted out of our requests for information. Many times they don’t have current information about their products, no catalogs, no brochures, don’t have business cards or have changed the name of their companies. Many of them have outdated or no websites at all. The only thing our industry can do for these businesses is either help them become more professional, productive and profitable or just not promote them and their products to the consumer market.
For our Association to successfully promote the industry and refer good sellers to potential buyers we need good, current information. We are asking the industry to send us your current catalog & dealer price lists. It would also be helpful if your send us your current brochure and business cards for your Key People. When we conduct industry surveys, it would help all of us if you participated. Needless to say, opting in to our Weekly News and Monthly Newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with what we are doing in and for the diving industry. Our contact information is listed below.
Psycographics is the study of why people make purchasing decisions. Achieving a successful sales outcome takes a lot more than knowing why people buy. As providers of programs, product and services, we have to know why people buy what they buy, where they buy products and when they are most likely to make purchases. A successful Seller has to be accessible to the customer when they choose to act on their buying decision.
A single ad in an on-line newsletter is not going to take a consumer through the entire purchasing decision making process. Rather, it takes a coordinated process of press releases, product advertisements, endorsements, demonstrations, recommendations, referrals and a strong, genuine and timely call to act. That’s how sales are made. And depending on the value of the product in question, you may have to use more than one type of communication. Combining print, digital and face-to-face marketing vehicles works very well in getting to a successful sales outcome.
That is why the Dive Industry Association takes its role in the industry to bring Buyers and Sellers together so seriously. We know the products, the sellers, the buyers, the marketing messages, the marketing vehicles and the market places. We know that the industry’s growth is primarily because of the sale of diving equipment, training and travel. We know that the majority of recreational diving programs, products and services are sold by Retail Dive Centers and Scuba Instructors. We also know that to grow the industry we have to focus on teaching people to dive, selling them gear, taking them diving and keeping them active.
Think of the diving industry as a very big boat with thousands of oars. The boat is not going to get very far if we all aren’t rowing together, and in the same direction!
Now that the Scuba Show in Long Beach has concluded for the year, it’s time for half the industry to get to work (Retailers, Dive Operators, Instructors, Travel Destinations) and the other half to take a much needed vacation and then get ready for the 2020 season. In the mean time, have a great 2019 season and we’ll see you at Dema Show (Booth 447).
For more information contact: Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904. Phone: 321-914-3778. email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.diveindustry.net