Upselling in Service

As a boat dealer, you need to diversify your product, service and offerings to your customers to be able to adapt to market fluctuations. The problem is you’ve become ultra-dependent upon your boat sales and forget about everything else you provide customers, from your boat rentals to in-house financing to the strength of your Service Department.

That’s why it is imperative, with winterization and storage season right around the bend, to take advantage of this service time with your customers. Upgrades, maintenance plans and upselling within service and parts are your ticket to more cash flow and happier customers. It’s time to emphasize your value-added services, confidently upsell and explore cost-saving measures to maintain more control. By adopting these best practices and strategies, below, you can create a more resilient dealership with a thriving service department that generates increased profits as well as customer loyalty.


Upselling in Service Course Package

A series of tactics to help you maximize profits and enhance customer satisfaction through the services you offer.

Courses included in this course package:

  • Increase the Profit of What’s Already on Your Lift Package
  • Guerilla Marketing for Service
  • Master the Write-Up
  • Guide to Building a Service Menu

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Survey: Upselling Service

Learn from other dealers and use the same tactics they are using to upsell in your service departments.

Headshot image of MRAA Data Specialist Drew Mick in a collared blue shirt at Top Golf

July Industry Insights with Drew Mick

From marine retailer sentiment to inventory levels in both new and pre-owned boats to authentic dealership survey feedback, the MRAA Pulse Report identifies today’s trends to improve your decision making. MRAA Research Specialist Drew Mick gives you a sample of this valuable resource in his Industry Insights video series.

Learn tactics from other marine dealers and what they reported throughout the month of July. Tactics to help upsell in your service department and a new service department survey that will help benchmark your service team across the marine industry.


Step 4 of Service Process Map – Write Up

The Check-In or Write-Up is the final touchpoint in the first impression a customer will have with your shop. It falters when your service department forgets process and mismanages the 3 Cs: Complaint, Cause and Correction. That’s why your team needs to establish a service process map and a definitive role for your Service Writer or Advisor so nothing is missed, your customer is happier and more loyal than ever.

BLOG: Building Your Service Process Map

Person in beanie hat writing on large whiteboard with his back facing us.

The Service Shuffle

How do you schedule more work and upsell in service, when you don’t have the time or the workforce to make it happen effectively or efficiently? Surveyed dealers shared this pain point in the most recent MRAA Pulse Report. Let’s take a look at these responses and examine some potential solutions and additional tactics for greater upselling success.


“Many dealers have found that their high-margin service departments can help drive sustainability in downturns. If you focus on value-added services and upselling opportunities, and couple them with cost-saving measures, you will set yourself up to dominate your marketplace.” — Matt Gruhn, MRAA President

Soundings Trade Only Column: “Time to Buckle Down”

Matt Gruhn of the MRAA
MRAA's Building a Service Menu

MRAA Guide to Building a Service Menu

In order for your dealership to be strong, your service department must be solidly built. Without a service menu, however, your chances of increasing revenue, profitability and stability of this department are more challenging. That’s why a service menu is such a no-brainer. Watch this video and download the MRAA Guide to Building a Service Menu and learn how create your own service menu.

Members ONLY:

Not an MRAA Member? Learn more about Membership!

Image of subject matter expert and speaker David Parker of Parker Business Planning in a blue vest and long-sleeve button up at an MRAA Dealer Week event

Service Menu Blog

A Service Menu is a great tool to send out with annual maintenance or winter storage agreements in order to streamline the check-in process and increase winter work. (Recently updated by author David Parker)

“Focus on the customer and what is genuinely the best thing for them – what will save them time, what will save them money, what will make their boating more enjoyable – selling really is about helping.
The ironic thing is, the more you help customers in this way the more it really will help you and the dealership.”
— Valerie Ziebron, VRZ Consulting, MRAA Platinum Partner, Dealer Week 2023 Pathway Host Course Handout: “Service CSI & Upselling: Not an Either/Or Proposition”

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Image of Dealer Week 2023 Sales & Service Pathway Host Valerie Ziebron, VRZ Consulting

Online Courses to Help you Upsell in Service

Training ‘N’ Tactics: Service CSI & Upselling, Not an Either/or Proposition

It’s been said the service department is the foundation upon which the strongest dealerships are built, however, service CSI and upselling are often viewed as either/or propositions, resulting in problems. That’s why it’s important to treat them as hand-in-hand, says Subject Matter expert Valerie Ziebron of VRZ Consulting. With proper service process maps in place and intelligent, proven tactics, your service and parts advisors can improve both your CSI and your service profits.

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Increase the Profit of What’s Already on Your Lift Package

with Jordan Schoolmeester, GarageComposites:

As a successful dealership, you sell boats. The problem is you also sell service, parts and accessories, so if you forget to increase the profit of what you already have scheduled for service, you’re missing out on potential revenue. That’s why you need to add billable hours to every invoice! To do this, you need to focus on the science of selling and how this process can be engrained into the conversation of every service writer or advisor at your store. It’s time to get more than just the low-lying fruit.

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Guerilla Marketing for Service

with Matt Sellhorst:

Your service department has big profit potential. But if you’re not marketing it properly, you’re leaving major money on the table. During this MRAA Education course, you’ll learn how to boost your average transaction size, increase off-season work orders and increase service, parts and accessories sales using five guerilla marketing techniques just about any dealer can afford.

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Master the Write-Up

with Valerie Ziebron:

Your team generates work orders on the daily. The problem is you cannot just go through the motions, because miscommunication at write-up is the No. 1 cause for customer comebacks and it is preventable. That’s why you must view the write-up as far more than just generating a work order. It builds (or breaks) customer confidence and trust in the entire dealership, and it makes (or breaks) profitability. This course shares with you what master advisors do to build rapport, identify needs, make recommendations, address concerns and reach agreement with the customer, one write-up at a time. A write-up done well helps the shop runs smoother and more profitably.

Silver & Gold Members ONLY:

Not a Silver Member? Learn more about Silver Membership!

Need more Service Department resources?

Offseason Profit

Now is the ideal time to prepare for the upcoming seasonality shift in boating  — as you are transitioning from a summer of recreational boating to the fall and winter seasons — by focusing on your service and parts & accessory departments contributions this offseason. View MRAA Spotlight page on “Succeeding at Seasonality: Your Plan for Offseason Profit.”