Be what you sell

By Jean-Marc Claes


Did you ever hear about the following phrases:


Teach what you preach,

Practice what you preach!


If this is news to you, look at the following picture.


Now, even before you enter this guy’s door, he has already lost you as a client unless you really have a strange sense of humour, you are just checking out what this guy does, or you are so desperate that there is no other choice left.


During my many years as a dive professional, we had several dive shops, dive schools, dive centers, a liveaboard (still running this as I write this article), a scuba equipment wholesale company, a boat shop, a boating school to get your boat license, etc… you get the idea, we were busy!


But, during all my visits to colleagues or other dive centers, when I saw a group out diving, I could immediately recognize the divemaster in charge. How? It was generally the person with the oldest, most worn-out equipment!


Does that image ring a bell to you? It probably does, and you might even have been that person.

Is your staff the same way? If no, good job! If Yes, time for a change!!


When we had new divemasters in training, we gave them a choice to get a completely new set of equipment, and they did not even have to pay for it upfront. Once certified, we allowed them to stay with our company and have a 50/50 deal or even a 100 % deal, meaning either all money they earned was used to pay for the equipment or 50% was used. In that way, they could decide how fast, after receiving their certification, they would settle the expenses they incurred.


We used to offer them high-quality gear at our shop’s dealer price as the DMs were our publicity sign! They would be the persons in closest contact with the students/customers and show off their equipment.


At one point, I remember taking an underwater group photo that got the attention of one of our suppliers. In the picture, you could see 14 divers, all using the same brand and type of regulator, all being top-level. So naturally, they wanted to know how we had achieved this.


The next step towards this supplier was easy, as we asked them to join forces with us and supply us with special offers for our staff. For example, having top-range equipment offered at low-range pricing.


Remember, cross-marketing is not about having things for free, we all need our cash flows, but it is about creating a WIN-WIN situation on a long-term bases.


The next step was to change this equipment on a regular base so our staff would always look presentable and up-to-date.


Those who dive a lot will understand that the dive suit (or, for that matter, the complete neoprene collection we use as divers) is probably the equipment most influenced by wear and tear and thus needs to be changed often.


We asked a specific supplier specialized in neoprene products to offer us these products, including co-branding, so our company name would also be on the neoprene products. In addition, they would have their name visible on all our social media and directly in front of our students. This resulted in our shops selling many more neoprene products of this specific brand because if the staff uses this brand, it should be the best for the students as well. And believe me; all companies are looking for partnerships and direct marketing.


Our staff was given a special deal on neoprene products. The more they were diving, they collected bonus points (the logbook was used as proof, with this, you make sure they will use/keep on using the logbook: practice what you preach!). Those bonus points would make the next dive suit available at a low price or even for free. For example: offering the staff a new suit when they had performed 200 dives would motivate them to organize dives, participate more in club dives, etc.


Considering the costs, if a new suit would be 200$/€ and using 200 bonus points to get a new suit, that would be 1$/€ per dive as a bonus.


Having read my article in the ScubaBiz.Help February Issue “1$/€ is making a difference”, then you will agree that this value is highly underrated and often not used at all! Small things can make big changes!


One extra advantage we noticed was that many other divers wanted to become staff members at our dive centre to take advantage of the excellent equipment deals. These incentives meant we would never run out of staff to help us teach our courses.


We implemented this principle on dive travel as well. As a result, we had certain staff members diving so much that they collected so many bonus points that we would offer them the possibility to join organized international dive travel at special rates. You can not even imagine the impact of this on your group. These staff members are the perfect example of what you can achieve in scuba diving!


Teaching with the right equipment includes a lot:

  • Correct size and, yes, making a difference between male/female fitting
  • Hygiene (read the article about ‘Hygiene in diving’)
  • Stylish, colour connected
  • No broken, rusted, corroded equipment
  • Complete outfit always, even when ‘just’ diving the local lake.


Do you tag your equipment with date tags of the last maintenance? You would be surprised how fast one year has passed by and the time for another equipment check-up is there.


These date tags also give an excellent example to your clients when using the rental equipment that you are taking care of the equipment and them. Of course, we all know that date tags can be used on BCDs and regulators. But what about neoprene products? They work there as well. Check our next article about HYGIENE & diving!


Date Tag on regulator hose


If you need help setting up a good cross-marketing deal with a supplier or a system for your staff, contact us, and we will HELP. Remember that our mission is in our name, ScubaBiz.HELP. It stands for…helping others in the dive business to become more successful!

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