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MDCE 2012 VIDEO: Organizers talk about show opening

The largest-ever Marine Dealer Conference & Expo opened this morning with a 5 percent increase in registered attendees, according to the show organizers.

"We're excited, attendance is up a bit and we still have to look forward to onsite registration, as well — that is usually another 50 people," said Amy Collins, the group publisher of Boating Industry, which co-produces the show with the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.

The more than 500 dealers registered for the conference represent the highest-ever dealer attendance for the conference, which runs through Wednesday at Orlando's Orange County Convention Center.

The show differs from others because marine dealers, rather than manufacturers, drive the event, said Boat Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet.

Click play for a conversation with Collins and Sweet.

“We are all about dealer education and giving dealers information that they need to be successful," Sweet said this morning. “It is an independent show, so all the different boat brands are here. You will get a full range of what is available on the market."

Attendees also have the opportunity to attend more than 20 educational sessions from big-name marine industry companies.

The keynote presentation will be at 5:30 p.m. In the presentation, “How the Best Get better," author and internationally recognized speaker Robert Stevenson will deliver strategies to help companies improve sales, customer loyalty and referral business.

The conference features 22 educational sessions organized into three tracks: sales and marketing, powering profits and service and marina.

— Chris Landry

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