22 Tips to Tackle High Rates & Finance More Deals

Higher interest rates are putting a damper on customers’ interest in financing their boat purchases. In a recent MRAA Pulse Report Survey, about 8 out of 10 dealers cited high interest rates as the biggest obstacle to customer financing. Low lender approval rates came in second, followed by “perceived values of trade-ins” and “other.”

There’s no denying that it used to be easy to get customer approval. Now, it’s tougher, but not impossible, especially with the following tactics to help you finance more deals. We’ve done some legwork to create a list of 22 Tips to Tackle High Rates & Finance More Deals from MRAA.com, resources and partner contributions.

Treat this list as a 22-point inspection for your F&I Department in its quest to secure more deals, and as a way to improve the ownership experience of your customers.

Cover of MRAA's How to Read a Credit Report with boat creating wake in ocean
  1. Offer in-house financing options to provide more financing opportunities to customers, maintain contact and control the sale.
  2. Have a full complement of lending options for the various credits and collateral you deal with, including national and local lenders, as well as credit unions.
    • Lenders with strong rates for Prime Credit
    • Lenders for Subprime Credit (Below 700)
    • Lenders with larger advance options to help maintain front-end profit
    • Lenders with lower down payment options
    • Lenders who financed pre-owned boats
    • Lenders who finance repowers and loose engines
    • Lender and brokers who will finance Consignments and Commercial Use
    • Visit National Marine Lenders Association (NMLA) to find a list of Marine Banks and Credit Unions
  3. Learn to read credit to better qualify your customers.
  4. Understand what each lender’s credit buy box is to increase funding percentages.
  5. Offer pre-approval options for customers to streamline the financing process.
  6. Provide financing calculators on the dealership’s website to help customers estimate their monthly payments.
  7. Do not quote rates, quote payments.
  8. Understand “cash” is not always cash and develop scripts to better capture outside finance opportunities. For example, cash is good anywhere. Your financing is only good with you.
  9. Train sales staff to effectively communicate financing options and benefits to customers.
  10. If available, utilize manufacturer-sponsored programs to offer financing options to customers.
  11. Leverage trade-ins as a way to reduce the overall cost of a boat purchase for customers.
  12. Provide financing options for used boats to expand the potential customer base.
  13. Offer financing for boat accessories and upgrades to increase the overall value of the sale.
  14. Offer financing for boat repairs and maintenance to retain customers and generate additional revenue.
  15. Use social media to promote financing options and attract new customers.
  16. Create financing guides and resources to educate customers on the financing process and options available to them.
  17. Consider offering boat ownership programs such as boat sharing or boat clubs to attract customers who may not want to finance a boat purchase outright.
  18. Host financing events and seminars to educate customers on the financing process and options available to them.
  19. Work with manufactures and lenders to leverage financing incentives such as rebates or discounts for customers who choose to finance their boat purchase.
  20. Leverage customer reviews and testimonials to showcase the financing experience and benefits of financing through the dealership.
  21. Implement a referral program to incentivize current customers to refer new customers who may be interested in financing a boat purchase.
  22. Continuously evaluate and update financing options to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of customers.

    If you’re already implementing some of these 22 Tips to Tackle High Rates & Finance More Deals at your dealership, great! Adding more can help your F&I Department and dealership finance more deals in 2023 while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    For more F&I tools, resources and tips, visit the MRAA Resource Center and the MRAA Spotlight page: “Finance More of Your Deals.”

    Jerrod Kelley, MRAA Content Manager dressed in blue shirt standing outside by a tree
    Jerrod Kelley, MRAA Content Manager

    Share Your Story: Reach out with some of your team’s clever ways of handling the current market conditions. Email me: jerrod@mraa.com.