By Adam Quandt
Being upfront and open as possible on all fronts can go a long way. This has always been true for both personal and professional situations. However, the need for as much transparency as possible has only been amplified with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
From new procedures at the dealership — cleaning, sales appointments, delivery, etc. — to dwindling inventory available to customers and everything else in between, you’ve had to face a lot these past months. These months have lead to uncertainty across a multitude of things. And there’s no doubt that your customers are feeling some of those same uncertainties.
Coming up with solid plans and procedures to the best of your ability can help alleviate some of those uncertainties. In turn, transparency with your customers can help remove some of their uncertainties as well, making them more confident buyers and in the long run, more confident boaters.
As the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep across the country, and as dealerships opened back up, the key to transparency came in the form of telling your customers first of all, that you are still here for them and second, all of the new procedures you and your staff are doing for their (and your team’s) safety.
Messages of “here’s how we’re cleaning the showroom/boats/etc. to keep you safe while shopping” and “make an appointment with us for showings” popped up in dealership-sent emails across the country. And we at Boating Industry can only guess that your immediate transparency for customer and employee safety, helped make boating the escape of choice through these unprecedented times.
Top 100 dealer, Regal & Nautique of Orlando (No. 4 in 2019) — like many other dealers in the country — took to its social media channels to spread messages of everything the entire staff was doing to maintain safety, being so transparent as to share photos of what they were doing to clean and disinfect boats and the dealership itself.
As dealers became transparent with customers about safety procedures and customers flocked to buy boats as summer heated up, a new need for transparency arose.
Sales went through the roof and inventory disappeared, calling for the need to be upfront with potential customers. While many dealers aren’t in the position to get every customer a boat these days due to lack of inventory, dealers have the chance to remain transparent and upfront with the customers on the situation facing the industry right now. Your transparency and honesty now, will most likely bring them back to you when you have a boat back in stock.
Lastly, transparency isn’t only important with the customer, it also means the world to your staff. An informed staff is a confident staff. If you’re upfront about what’s going on at the dealership, they will have the confidence to go forward and do what they need to within the dealership.
Transparency across the board can lead to flip uncertainty to certainty, which leads to confidence. Confidence helps all around for a better experience, both as a customer and employee.
Adam Quandt is the director of the Boating Industry Top 100 program and the managing editor of Boating Industry magazine. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.