Keynote speaker named for dealer conference

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New York Times best-selling author and speaker Jeffrey Gitomer was named the keynote speaker for the 2013 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, set for Nov. 17-20 in Orlando, Fla.

“We’re super-pumped because we’ve been wanting to get him for years,” Matt Gruhn, president of show co-sponsor Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, told Trade Only Today. “We made a major investment in the program this year, thinking that bringing in someone with this name recognition should help boost the program.”

The investment is just part of the latest effort between the MRAA and show co-sponsor Boating Industry magazine to continue to boost attendance at the show aimed at marine dealers, which has seen attendance increase tenfold over the last six years, from 97 attendees in 2007 to 1,070 in 2012, Gruhn said.

Gitomer, who outlines areas he’ll address in his keynote in a video, will talk about selling value instead of price, which has been a big topic at the Growth Summit, Gruhn said.

He’ll also discuss how companies can differentiate themselves instead of comparing themselves to competitors and how they can map out strategies for building customer loyalty.

Gitomer will focus on leadership since for the first time, that was what attendees said they wanted organizers to focus on in last year’s survey, Gruhn said. “This year is leadership-focused and Jeffrey’s whole approach is how to be a leader in your business and in your market,” he said.

“It has become a cornerstone of the MDCE to provide outstanding presenters, but we believe that adding Jeffrey Gitomer to the mix takes the entire educational lineup to a whole new level,” Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet said in a statement. “The MDCE’s continued growth, both in dealer attendance and the support of exhibitors and sponsors like that of this year’s educational sponsor, the National Marine Distributors Association, are what make it possible to build an agenda like the MDCE has to offer this year.”

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— Reagan Haynes

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