As a scuba diving customer, traveling with all your dive gear is a heavy hassle. It can also be pretty pricey. As a result, many divers rely on gear rental. We’ve all been there, you’re given a wetsuit that’s too tight around the neck and end up surfacing with a headache. Maybe your mask isn’t properly sized for your face and you spend the whole dive clearing your mask.
Or, if you’re unlucky, you’re the unfortunate sales victim of a dive operation selling this gear to you. You end up spending money for gear that doesn’t function as it should and causes endless inconvenience. This could be it trying to resell the gear at a loss or trying to use it. Either way, you’re probably not going back to that dive centre again.
Diving sales aren’t regular sales
In your PADI Pro courses, they introduce you to what is known as the customer-centric business philosophy. This entails focusing on your client and meeting their wants and needs, even if doing so means sacrificing a sale in the short term. It basically comes down to having their best interests in mind. This is ideal, but it is easier said than done when you still need to keep a business running
While it may be tempting to make that short-term sale, the end goal for your business is to create consistent revenue. The best way to achieve this isn’t by selling a wetsuit here and a dive computer there, it is by creating customer retention. After all, the primary income for a diving operation relies on daily trips and a returning customer is a sign your business is on the right track and doing well.
Create a customer who creates customers
Michael LeBoeuf said that “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” Ultimately, customers won’t care about you until they know how much you care. Once they care, they become walking advertisements for your operation. Not only will they return to your business, but they’re also more likely to recommend your operation to family and friends.
What can you do?
This begs the question, what can you do to ensure returning customers?
- Personalise communication
Whether it’s sending them a message on their birthday or congratulating them on social media for completing a certain course, clients appreciate a personal touch. It’s also a good idea to follow up and ask for feedback on their most recent experience with them.
- Reward loyalty
Profits increase over the duration of your relationship with long-term clients. Consider loyalty programs. You return to a certain coffee shop or salon to enjoy a reward after a certain number of visits. Those in the dive industry can apply similar strategies. Perhaps offer a discounted rate for a course they’re interested in or throw in a complimentary piece of dive gear along with their purchase.
- Offer packages
If you know the end goal of a client, help them get there by offering a packaged course tailored to their needs. This can be similar to the PADI Zero to Hero programs. Not only does this help you secure more courses than selling them individually, it also shows an investment in your customer’s journey.
- Provide knowledge
Be it recommending diving destinations, giving advice on the best dive computers, or even just explaining the best way to get to their desired diving goal, there’s a lot of questions you can answer. Educate all your staff members to ensure your team is always ready to provide responsible guidance and emphasise that it is about giving answers, not making sales.
- Friendly and approachable staff
Seeing as the dive industry relies heavily on friendly and personal experiences, odds are you’re already focusing on this. However, consistently monitor interaction and provide additional staff training where needed. Also assess clients and match them with instructors or divemasters they’re more likely to relate to and trust.
Ask you customer
Keep in mind that success requires a constant and consistent effort. You should constantly be asking yourself what you can do to provide clients with an even better experience. Often the best source to ask are your customer themselves. You can ask them questions and be sure to listen when they tell you about positive or negative experiences.