MRAA Spotlight Series
A monthly program delivering timely and relevant education and resources.
APRIL — Prepare Your Team for Peak Season
MAY — Dealership Events that Deliver
- Get Ready to Magnify Service Customer Experience
- Sales Strategies to Boost Your Closing Ratios
- Acquire More Customers with Digital Marketing
- Prepare for 2024: Service & Parts
- Prepare for 2024: Sales & Marketing
- Prepare for 2024: Leadership
- Cash Flow Planning
- Upselling in Service
- Take Stock of Your Inventory
- Keep Your Customers Boating
- Finance More of Your Deals
- Employee Onboarding
- Pre-Sale Follow-Up
To elevate your user experience and gain access to the full spectrum of valuable tools and tactics within MRAA’s Spotlight resources, explore membership here!
Magnify Your Service Customers’ Experience
Providing a world-class experience for your service customers is not only a requirement today, but also the pathway to creating lasting relationships for your dealership. With strong communication, service procedure transparency and consistent performance, your Service Department and service team become beacons of trust for your brand and the boating community you serve.
Sales Strategies to Boost Your Closing Ratios
To enhance the customer experience, meet clients where they are in their journey. Understand their boat preferences, usage requirements, and objections. Ensure alignment across dealership departments for a cohesive approach. Implement a designated sales process with honesty and meticulous communication to improve effectiveness and closing ratios.
Aquire More Customers with Digital Marketing
Optimize your marine dealership for the digital era by mastering online marketing. Leverage digital strategies like content-rich emails, targeted ads, and interactive social media campaigns to build customer trust and drive sales. In today’s omnichannel landscape, these efforts enhance in-person interactions, extending your dealership’s reach beyond the showroom. Focus on establishing robust connections with boat buyers and owners to generate leads and secure sales.
Prepare for 2024: Service & Parts
In order to keep your service and parts departments running effectively, you need to install processes, best practices and the correct people and right amount of employees to help you maintain a level of efficiency that satisfies both your customers and your bottom line. Re-evaluate how this essential part of your business is operating in preparation for 2024 and the challenges ahead.
Prepare for 2024: Sales & Marketing
Your dealership faces some pivotal moments heading into 2024 selling season. To adapt to the rapid changes within the industry, you have to recalibrate your sales and marketing strategies to meet your customers’ evolving expectations and navigate the current shift in marine sales.
Prepare for 2024: Leadership Edition
As a leader within your dealership, your actions can make or break your team’s approach to change. It’s imperative to create a strategic plan for every department that helps the business navigate the current marine industry marketplace. Manage your staff with sound tactics and add innovative methods to help your team adapt so you can endure marketplace uncertainty and continue to produce world-class customer experiences.
Cash Flow Planning
In today changing market, you’re in good company if you’re concerned about your dealership’s financial health and readiness for the future. Particularly if you’re a seasonal business that normally slows down in the fall and winter.
Upselling in Service
Winterization and storage season is right around the bend. How can you take advantage of this service time with your customers? Upgrades and upselling are your ticket to more cash flow and happier customers.
Take Stock of Your Inventory
If your dealership is like the rest, you have excess 2023 model year inventory on hand, and new 2024s soon to be on the truck to your facility.
With rising interest rates, persistent inflation, and consumer hesitancy to invest in new boats, it’s crucial for you to adapt your business to the softening market now while planning smart for the future. It starts with conducting a mid-season inventory audit.
Keep Your Customers Boating
Your customers leave the market because they become disinterested and don’t use their boats enough to justify the cost. History shows that first-time boat buyers depart the marketplace within five years after purchase and at about a 40 percent clip.
Engaging your customers should be a top priority! This starts with authentic follow-up and includes holding community events and educational resources on operation and ownership. These touchpoints are critical for increasing boater retention.
Finance More of Your Deals
Prevail Against Higher Prices & Rates by Financing More Boat Sales
Wouldn’t it be nice to exceed customer expectations and increase dealership profitability in your F&I department? With current market challenges such as higher prices, customer objections, and stringent loan approvals, maximizing F&I profits can be difficult. Offering financing to every customer and improving lender and outsourcing company partnerships is crucial to avoid losing sales.
The Key to Effective Onboarding & High Retention Rates
An onboarding process, which can last from 30 days to up to the first full year of employment, is critical for your business if you want to cultivate a supportive environment that nurtures and keeps employees engaged. You need to view your staff NOT only as “assets,” but valuable, unique contributors to your mission, vision and values. That’s why it’s important to develop an onboarding system that will improve learning, growth and retention.
Master Pre-Sale Follow-Up
To outperform the market in 2023, your dealership and sales team will need to get back on track with pre-sale follow-up. Some tactics that worked for you back in 2019 will continue to help you convert leads into sales, but a lot has changed in the last four years. Here’s what you need to know to nurture your boat sales leads today.
Ease the Service Stress of Spring Deliveries
Now is the time when you starting to think about the spring launch of boats you’re storing and servicing for your customers. You’ve just sold additional vessels at a recent in-house or external boat show during the winter and your customers an anxiously hoping to get out on the water. So how do you remain efficient in this important step of the service process?
Overcoming Price Objections
How can you continue to win in sales at your dealership when boat prices have increased and your customers are holding their discretionary income a little closer to their vest? Price objections are natural, but may require your team to use more strategies to overcome them.
We’ve compiled some best practices and resources to help your dealership face these hurdles with confidence.
By taking an initiative early in the process and using the correct tools and tactics, you can reduce the severity of price objections. Learn how you can help your sales team learn tactics they can implement to respond appropriately when customers share a concern about pricing.
FTC Safeguards Rule: Commit to Compliance
Chances are you do a great job of protecting your customers’ personal information, but the FTC Safeguards Rule sets provisions that, as a U.S. marine dealership, you must adhere to in order to avoid fines for non-compliance. These per-customer basis fees can add up significantly and reign heavy on your dealership! Do you understand what is involved, how to proceed and what necessary steps to implement to meet compliance?
Focus on Your Base: Win with Existing Customers
Imagine if you could build a customer list that’s reliable, loyal, creates future sales and trusts you like no other boat dealer in the region. While that list may seem dreamy, it’s not out of reach because it already lives in your dealership’s files. It’s your existing customers!
Retain Your Employees to Improve Your Dealership
It has been said time and again that your workforce (your employees) are the heart and soul of your business. They are the guts of your business that make it function the way it should.
That’s why the MRAA’s Spotlight shines upon employee retention. This page is dedicated to helping guide you to retain your employees, offering tips, tools, tactics and expert advice to help you develop strategies and processes to keep your employees engaged, happy and yearning for a long career at your dealership.
Get Back on Track with Disciplined Operations
Is your dealership properly prepared for a slowdown? Can you be disciplined in the face of all this disruption you’re experiencing? Nobody wants their business and the outside elements to run them. Instead, it’s better to use discipline and processes to ride out storms and create flexibility for your team. That’s why the MRAA Spotlight aims to help you “Get Back on Track with Disciplined Operations.” This page and resources can help you get a better grip on your dealership in times of uncertainty by installing improved operations.
Succeeding at Seasonality: Your Plan for Offseason Profit
The sun has been shining lately on your dealership and the boating industry as a whole, despite some recent marketplace hiccups with increased consumer hesitancy related to inflation and fears of a recession, and industry delays for inventory and parts.
Now is the perfect time to prepare for the offseason you know lies ahead. In the upcoming months, as both summer and the recreational boating season wind down (specifically in the snow belt), your team will make its annual shift to your fall (and winter) planning.
Chances are this year has been different than what you expected. So how will you adjust in the second half of the year to hit and exceed your goals — and successfully prepare for 2023?
Improve the Customer Experience
A Step-by-Step Guide: While at one time “satisfactory” service levels were considered good enough for creating customer retention and building brand loyalty, it’s not like that anymore!
Drive Success In Your
One of the most significant opportunities to fuel your bottom line, especially in today’s market place, can be found in your pre-owned boat business.
Recruiting, Hiring and Onboarding
There’s nothing more critical to your dealership’s success than your team. Recruiting and hiring new team members to fill the gaps in your workforce has always had its challenges, but never has that hill been so steep for marine businesses as it is now, during what some are calling “The Great Resignation.”
Improve Repair Event Cycle Times
Amidst the craziness of today’s pandemic-fueled boat marketplace, your service department faces more pressure and more challenges than ever before. And just when you thought it was as bad as it was going to get, along comes an industrywide focus on Repair Event Cycle Times (RECT), or the amount of time it takes to get boats repaired and back on the water.
Lead Generation and Nurturing
Developing your leads into real business for each of your departments can take a lot of collaboration between marketing, sales and F&I offices. It involves CRM technology, processes and more! Check out the resources below, which include both free and MRAA member resources.