In my last blog, I wrote about the opportunity presented by today’s economic conditions for marine companies to re-evaluate and potentially upgrade their staffs. But perhaps even more significant are the opportunities for dealers and manufacturers to re-evaluate and potentially upgrade their business partners.
As many before me have pointed out, the dealer-manufacturer relationship is a little like marriage. None of us know the exact formula for lasting love. But there are some things all successful marriages have in common. Both partners take their relationship seriously. They trust and respect each other. They have strong communication skills. And they’re dedicated to making their marriage work, “for better or for worse.”
While there are so many other factors that contribute to a relationship’s success, if you see evidence of those things in a dealer or manufacturer partner, you know you have a strong foundation. And if you don’t, you have to ask yourself whether your potential or current partner is truly interested in partnership. Now is perhaps the best time in recent history for you to explore other options, both because the shake-up created by the downturn has dealers and manufacturers looking for new connections and because the time of change we’re living through has caused all of us to rethink how we conduct business.
If we’re going to recover from the challenges of the past few years, we have to do it together with a spirit of partnership, and that begins at a micro level with strong relationships between each dealer and their manufacturers.
We invite you to share with us the most important criteria you use to make decisions about your dealer or manufacturer partnerships – and how this many have changed during this economic downturn. If you’re a dealer, do you take into account warranty policies? CSI scores? J.D. Power & Associates rankings? NMMA certification? Boat ordering policies? Feedback from other dealers?
If you’re a manufacturer, do you take into account financial metrics? Dealer certification? CSI scores? Inventory levels? Business plans?