Collaboration, Customer Experience and the Boating Community

Constant change, marketplace uncertainty and outside influences can make being a business owner or manager exhausting. But that’s the current state many dealerships find themselves in, seeking solutions to help them recalibrate and plan for 2024. Not only are they having to reassess their approach to sales training, lead generation and turning their boat inventory, but they have to deal with the continuous demands of resolving their workforce shortages and heightening the customer experience at every touchpoint. 

two men seated for question and answer session at event
Soundings Trade Only’s Alan Wendt spoke with Matt Gruhn, MRAA President at IBEX about the current state of the marine industry and more. (Image courtesy

At the MRAA, we understand the current challenges you’re facing. That’s why we remain unwavering in our mission to fuel dealer success by delivering the tools, resources and educational programs you can use to strengthen your business and, in turn, help the industry improve. It’s also why we speak with dealers frequently on the phone, at manufacturer-sponsored dealer meetings and at industry events. We learn and discover industry pain points so we can develop education, resources and programs to help dealers triumph.

Recently MRAA President Matt Gruhn sat down with Soundings Trade Only’s Alan Wendt at the International Boat Builders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) for a one-on-one session to discuss the state of the boating industry, the current issues on boat dealers’ minds and the value-driven framework of MRAA’s Dealer Week 2023 Conference and Expo.

The short, 14-minute interview covers many significant and relevant topics, including:

  • The importance of customer experience.
  • The need for a collaborative relationship between dealers and manufacturers.
  • How dealership success leads to industry success.
  • Why continued learning is beneficial for any business, but especially dealers.

The relationship between dealers and manufacturers plays a crucial role in building, selling, delivering and servicing great products and meeting customer expectations even amidst market challenges.

“It takes that united, collaborative approach between the dealers and manufacturers to make it happen,” says Gruhn. “The price points that we’re at, from a boating standpoint, we have to treat customers like they’re buying high-end vehicles. There’s a different level of expectation when you’re doing that. We have to up our game and deliver an even better, quality, customer experience.”

The video also highlights MRAA’s recent growth, flexibility and readiness to support dealerships with education, resources and world-class events. Gruhn emphasizes the MRAA’s mission to fuel dealer success and the MRAA staff’s passion for equipping dealers on their pathway to improvement.

The magnitude of Dealer Week and the professional experience it provides has proven to be impactful for attending dealers and exhibitors alike. “Our whole reason for existence is to enable the success of the dealer,” says Gruhn. “Because when the dealer sells a boat, and the dealer takes care of a customer and we win a customer for life in this industry, everybody wins. The whole industry wins. That’s why MRAA exists.”

Soundings Trade Only, an MRAA Partner Member and Dealer Week 2023 exhibitor, recently shared several interviews with other thought leaders within the marine industry.