“The Return to Regional Dealer Networks”
Do you know who the most powerful person in the diving industry is? Is it a Manufacturer? A Training Agency Executive? A Retail Dive Store Owner? How about a Travel Business Person or someone who works for a Trade Association? I bet that few of you guessed it was the Retail Dive Center Owner. So if you own a Dive Store, YOU are the most powerful person in the industry because, The Person Who Writes The Checks Has The Power. As a former Retail Dive Store Owner myself and a person who has worked for a few Manufacturers, a Training Agency, a few Travel Companies, a few Media Companies, Non-Profits Organizations, and two Trade Associations, I can tell you who has the power in the industry, how they got it and how they keep it. But the interesting point of all this is that the Retail Dive Center sector of the diving industry is the most important, most influential and most potentially powerful sector of the industry. It’s an Industry fact that most of the revenue from the sales of diving equipment, training and travel come from the Retail sector. Now, all we have to do is convince 1,400 Retail Dive Centers that they are the most important part of the diving industry and they can begin to break free from their vendor dominance and dependence.
The most powerful people in the diving industry are the ones who write the checks and sell the majority of diving equipment, training and travel!
So why are Retail Dive Center owners not controlling the diving industry? Sporting Goods Retail Stores control the Sporting Goods Industry. Why aren’t Retail Dive Center Owners the recipients of industry awards and Hall of Fame nominations? Why isn’t the Retail Class invited to the Black Tie Parties and Gala’s? If the Retail Dive Centers account for the majority of new certifications in the industry, the majority of retail sales and the bulk of booked dive travel, then why isn’t there a category for Best Retailer of the Year at the many award programs throughout the industry? Why is Business not considered as important as the Arts & Science categories? The answer is simple but the rational is incomprehensible. And why it has lasted this long is a mystery. Are you tired of being good enough to buy stuff from your vendors but not good enough to go to the parties they go to? Well, that’s all about to change.
The future of the diving industry is in the hands of the Retail Dive Centers. Without Retailers there would be no diving industry. Retailers are responsible for new certifications, equipment sales & service, dive travel and the perpetuation of interest and excitement of scuba diving, as a recreation with local events and activities. Unfortunately there is little or no data on how important Retail Dive Centers are and to what percentage of business they account for. What’s needed is a strong, unified, and independent Retail Association that can gather information and share it with its members. Dive Industry Association has a section of its organization set aside for Retail Dive Centers. The scope of the association is International, and divided into National, Regional, State, and Local Chapters.
Promotion at Regional Shows: Dive Industry Association exhibits at dive and adventure travel shows. Member Retailers are asked to staff our booth at shows in their territory. Shows are supported with pre-show, at-show and post-show marketing campaigns. DIA is working with show promoters to conduct business seminars at each show for members of the local Retail Network. Similar programs have worked well at Our World-Underwater Chicago, Lone Star State Dive Show Dallas, and Beneath the Sea in Secaucus , NJ.
FREE Press Releases: Each Retail Member of the Dive Industry Association receives 24 FREE Press Releases in DIA’s Weekly News. The promotion is published every Tuesday and reaches both consumers and the trade.
Group Dive Trip Calendar: Nowhere else in the Industry can you get an economical listing for your sponsored group dive trip in a website that has an incredible readership. Our website has a DIVE TRIPS page that consumers can go to to sign up for dive trips that are conducted by our Members. One referral could mean thousands of dollars for you and help you fill your trip.
Directory Listings: Look at our Directories on this website. They include a Trade Directory, A Facebook Directory and a Travel Directory. All of our Member Businesses are linked to their websites. That brings them more customers and more sales.
Invitations to FAM Trips: Retail Dive Travel Specialists are frequently invited to participate in FAM Trips conducted by Tourism Boards, Dive Travel Wholesalers, Resort Destinations, and the Dive Industry Association. The locations, time lengths and costs vary. Many of the trips are complimentary, some have minimal costs, some include air fare, some don’t. Our Association identifies and works with some of the best Retail Dive Travel Specialists, worldwide, and our input to Travel Resorts is sought after and appreciated.
Personal Referrals: One of the biggest competitive advantages your business can have is for a respected worldwide Trade Association to recommend your business to the consuming public, for dive equipment, training and travel sales. The same goes for Trade Recommendations to equipment manufacturers, training agencies and travel companies. They are all looking for personal referrals from us because of our personal relationships with successful retail dive center owners and managers. It helps to be in our inner circle.
Retail Center Profile: DIA’s non-profit training organization, The Dive Industry Foundation, conducts an annual Retail Dive Center Profile that establishes a retail baseline for all retail profit centers. Over 70 Retailers have participated in this profile. Participants receive a summary report that shows them where they stand among their competitors. It’s a great way to establish best practices and identify industry trends. The Foundation is running the 2019 Industry Wide Survey and will compare it to the 2002 Survey. This “State of the Industry” Report will be very helpful to the Retail sector and the entire diving industry.
Industry Best Practices: Using the annual Retail Center Profile & Survey, Dive Industry Foundation is putting together an “Industry Best Practices” recommendation that it will share at Regional Business Seminars.
Suggested Reading – Articles and Blogs: The Dive Industry Association is an active spokesman for Industry Issues. Read “Let Us Be Your Ambassador For A Day” to see how we sponsor and promote FAM Trips for successful Retail Dive Centers. Another good article to see our belief in Retail Dive Centers, read our June 2019 Editorial, “Build Your Own “Circle of Influence.” Both Blog Articles are listed on the front page of this website.
How Are We Different Than Other Associations?: We don’t charge you an annual membership fee for the “privilege” of buying products from us. We are not in the business to sell you products. We are in the business to help YOU sell diving equipment, training and travel. We use your annual membership fee to fund marketing services and campaigns to bring you more business.
Eligibility: Membership in Dive Industry Association’s Retail Association is open to all Retail Dive Centers regardless of their Training Agency or Manufacturer affiliation. Annual dues are $125. Membership is not required to participate in the association annual retail profile program.
If you want to be the best Retail Dive Center that you can be and you have always wanted more for your industry membership dollars, try a Membership in The Dive Industry Association for a year and see for yourself. If you have any questions about your destiny in the industry, I welcome your emails, calls and comments. Let’s work together!
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.