Tuesday, October 18, 2016


(1:02) "You had me at Hello." I imagine most of you recognize that line from the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire. For me, it speaks to that moment when we first meet someone and impressions begin to form. There's a reason your mother schooled you about first impressions.

(0:56) First impressions really are important. They set the stage for every interaction that follows. It's not to say you can't overcome a bad first impression, but you will certainly have your work cut out for you.

(0:51) So why not start every relationship on a positive note? Create a great first impression. For a marina, this almost always happens with your dockhands.

(0:47) I continue to be amazed at dockhands who fail to welcome boaters as they pull in. I've been horrified to watch a dockhand assist a boater with lines without a word and then turn and walk away. This sends the clear message that the boater is not welcome.

(0:40) It's so easy to start with a simple, "Hello!" Offer a smile, make the boater feel that you are glad they came to your marina.

(0:37) Of course, there is a certain finesse to the interaction. I'm not looking for an involved conversation as I'm securing my boat to the dock. This is especially so if the conditions are difficult or I've had a long, maybe rough, journey. But every boater can receive a smile and a "Hello, welcome to XYZ."

(0:29) Once, we are securely tied you can follow up with an offer to help along with providing useful information about the marina and surrounding areas. The more you learn about the boat, the better service you can provide them.

(0:24) Be sensitive to the boater's needs. If your offer of help is turned down, smile and tell them where they can find you if they need anything. Our routine is to tie up and settle some things onboard before we connect to power or water. So we decline that help and are happy to handle it ourselves later.

(0:15) Research shows that we size up a new person in somewhere between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. And that a first impression will tend to dominate even when future interactions are different. This is true for both positive and negative impressions.

(0:07) Don't saddle your marina with a bad first impression. Make sure your staff is trained to welcome every boater and provide excellent service from the start. That will payoff in positive reviews and more business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.