Three clever ideas a dealer might adapt

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I respond to clever things. I think most of us do. So when I see something that hits home as a clever idea, I make a note for future reference. After all, successful people don’t try to reinvent the wheel. They just adapt what exists. Here are three clever examples:

Clever No. 1: During Hurricane Irma we had to evacuate our home in St. Petersburg, so we headed north (the only direction to get out of Florida!) to hunker down near the Florida-Alabama line. After Irma passed, the traffic was heavy with people like us heading back home on Route 19.

As we passed through the town of Perry, Fla., I spotted a sign along the road for Wilson’s Bait & Tackle. As I glanced over at the storefront, there it was — unmistakably big and bold: TAKE A KID FISHING.

I grabbed my cellphone and snapped a couple of pictures to later remind me of this clever idea worth sharing.

Today Wilson’s is being operated by the third generation of the family of Wilson Coxwell, who founded the store more than 60 years ago. His daughter, Sandra, and her daughter, Kristi, are among other family members still serving area anglers at Wilson’s. They recognize what Wilson knew: that the future of the business was in giving youngsters a chance to experience fishing.

Wilson’s Bait & Tackle has used its sign to encourage adults to take children fishing since 1957.

Wilson’s Bait & Tackle has used its sign to encourage adults to take children fishing since 1957.

The sign “TAKE A KID FISHING” has been there since Wilson opened the doors in 1957. Well, actually, not. It originally said “Take A Boy Fishing.” But girls, yes, even back in the ’50s, kept telling Wilson that they fished, too. He got their message and changed the sign.

Yes, my mind rolled on to ideas: “Take a kid boating.” “Invite a family aboard.” “Show others the boating life.” And if you happen to be primarily a fishing-boat dealer, surely repeating Wilson Coxwell’s slogan on signs and literature makes sense.

Clever No. 2: My wife, Kay, recently brought home a pair of NYDJ jeans. You should know they are the “original slimming down jeans.” And I must say that denim fit is impressive.

Anyway, what equally impressed me was a sticker on the jeans that called attention to NYDJ’s “lift-tuck technology” this way: NYDJ cannot be held responsible for any positive consequences that may arise due to your fabulous appearance when wearing our apparel.

Voila! My unpredictable mind immediately twisted that into the idea that the builder of my boat could have easily put a tag at my helm, reading: Please hold our employees totally responsible for the great times you will have every day you take this helm!

Or something like that because when it comes down to it, don’t we build and sell only products specifically designed to give our customers “positive consequences” every time they climb aboard? Nothing wrong with asserting it.

Clever No. 3: It comes from Seth Godin, a bestselling business and motivational author and blogger whose thought-provoking posts I read daily (go to: Seth Godin). Last week he penned this:

Here's a sign I've never seen hanging in a corporate office, a mechanic's garage or a politician's headquarters: WE HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE: WE CARE MORE!

It's easy to promise and difficult to do. But if you did it, it would work. More than any other skill or attitude, this is what keeps me (and people like me) coming back.

You guessed it — my mind’s eye could see that claim as a dealership’s statement on the front door or on the business card of every team member from sales to service to clerical. But most important, genuinely caring to meet the hopes and expectations of each customer calls for walking the walk every day. So it must be the corporate philosophy if the dealership is to reach the “unfair advantage.”

So no matter where you are, picking up clever ideas from others is always worth time and consideration.

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