Long before any of us became Dive Professionals, we started to face the question: “Where is your favorite place to dive?”
Most of us, without much thought, probably blurted out whatever was the most memorable and often exotic locale we’d ever had the chance and good fortune to visit!
Now that we’re Professionals, we have to think about the impact we can have on our diving clientele. While we can make the case and justify that this is a great way to recruit for our exotic dive trips, we should ask ourselves, have we properly qualified the diver? Or have we lost another potential diving enthusiast because we have placed the “brass ring” too far beyond their reach?!
I learned long ago that as a dive industry professional, when a customer asks you to tell them about the best dive you have ever done, it has to be the one you just finished. And the best dive site is the one with the easiest local access.
Why are these the best responses? Simply stated: Enthusiasm and Accessibility! The more people seek EVERY opportunity to dive, and the easier it is for your customers to access places to grab those opportunities and go diving, the better it is for your business.
Many years ago, as a Marine Division Training Officer for a Florida Sheriff’s Office, I was captured in a photo with a team of my fellow divers. We had just emerged from less than favorable conditions, and we were being “gently misted” by the Fire Department as part of the clean-up. The water created a great rainbow effect and a photographer from the local paper took a great picture and it ran on the front page.
As you viewed the photo left to right the first two and the last officer on the dive team showed their displeasure at the situation they found themselves in with furled brows and scowls on their faces. I on the other hand was grinning from ear to ear.
Later that week I was called into the Sherriff’s office to discuss upcoming training and procurement of the department helicopters. (By the way…you have not lived until you have jumped from a helicopter into the water, and had someone pay you to do it!)
At the conclusion of the meeting the Sherriff threw the paper on his desk and said “Palmero what were you smiling about?”
I said, “Well sir, we just completed a working dive and it went flawlessly.”
He quipped, “You were diving in an irrigation ditch with no visibility and in a Haz Mat suit!”
I responded: “Yes Sir but at least I was diving.”
This confirmed for me that a bad day diving IS in fact better than a good day at work, even when work is diving related.
Long ago I learned from an Instructor far wiser then me exactly how to respond to many dive related queries such as: “How was that dive?” A safe and excellent response is “unbelievable,” accompanied with a smile, allowing the person asking the question to arrive at their own conclusion.
There are plenty of examples of how to make diving in your own back yard good for business. Take a page from the techniques used by aggressive and creative dive retailers and trainers.
SDI, TDI and ERDI recently attended the Beneath Sea Show in the New Jersey Meadowlands. During that show we were invited to attend an ERDI function on a Saturday night. We figured that close to New York City where distractions abound, how successful could it be? The answer was VERY. Two of our ITs, Phil and Jim from 877 SCUBA, hosted the event and had more than thirty participants turned out for an ERDI confidence building skill set in the Pool!
Well it did wonders for my confidence! It made me confident and proud to have energetic members like these that find the friendship and unity that is brought about by diving. It made me confident that those that strive will survive anything the economy has to throw at them!
Tell us what you are doing in your area to energize local diving; after all we all know you must have some “Unbelievable” local dive stories to tell!
Here is a short list to get you energized to start your local diving progam:
· Re-visit your local OW Training site but not for Training but to show your divers how much fun they can have there, be creative
· Work with one of your favored vendors to create an event to turn divers out, it could even take place in a pool
· Have a “coffee club” that meets one weekend morning a month with vehicles packed and ready to go and choose a “last minute” site you can “go and dive” in a day
· Style a confidence building circuit as discussed earlier but geared to your divers experience level
· Find as many reasons as often as you can to go dive locally
Remember keep your divers diving today to grow your business for tomorrow. Local diving keeps your divers diving, talking diving, buying diving and your classes growing!