The heart of Top 100 season

By Adam Quandt

I’m sure you and your team are already very much feeling it, but here we are heading into peak boating season. I know myself and the team at Boating Industry is very eager to watch this season, after the buying frenzy we’ve seen over that last year.

However, the boating season ahead isn’t the only thing we’re excited about at Boating Industry right now. We’re also in the heart of the 2021 Top 100 Dealers season, with roughly two months until we hit the application deadline.

Right off the bat, I want to again highlight the fact that there are two different applications for this year’s Top 100 program, depending on what your dealership’s goals are. The streamlined application has reduced the number of questions by half. If your goal is simply to be part of the Top 100, you can fill out this easier application. You’ll still be required to provide your financial information and other basic information, but there are fewer questions requiring long, in-depth answers.

Alternatively, if your dealership’s goal is to be considered for top awards such as the Best in Class awards and Dealer of the Year, you can fill out the longer application. This form is similar to the previous Top 100 application and allows us to take a deeper dive into your dealership.

Both applications are available at boatingindustry.com/top-100/application.

Next, I just want to dive into what the process is on our end, once we receive your completed applications.

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Overall, it’s a pretty simple process that I’m happy to share with any dealer. There are several stages to the evaluation, but here’s a quick run-through.

On first read of the applications, they are evaluated using a scoresheet. Each application is given a possible score of 500 points, with points divided between the five sections of the application: Organization, Sales & Profits, Service & Customer Satisfaction, Training & Education and Marketing. Using those scores, we then group companies into tiers, allowing us to discuss as a team which companies should be considered for cuts, which companies should be considered for the Top 20, etc. The most important factors for consideration are commitment to improvement, financial success and CSI scores, among other criteria.

The overall process takes about three months, so this is obviously a condensed version. If you’d like more details, feel free to contact me any time.

The golden tip

I’m often asked by dealers what they can do to improve their applications from one year to the next.

While it’s always great to move the needle on your dealership’s numbers — from revenue to what you spend on training your employees and everything in between — the best tip I have for dealers comes in two parts.

First, start early. Filling out the Top 100 application is time consuming. It should be. It truly proves who is the best of the best among boat dealers. Rather than trying to knock it out in one shot at the final hour, start the process early and work through it one piece at a time. This will allow you to put more thought and care into every response, which brings me to the second part of the tip.

There really is no such thing as too much detail. The more details you provide us in each response, the better we get an understanding of your dealership and what you’re doing there. You work closely to many of these things every day, however the Boating Industry team does not. Things you may often overlook or not even think to include regularly get missed in the application.

Try and approach each section of the application with fresh eyes and really lay every little part of your dealership out clearly. This will help shine a spotlight on your entire organization and often help your Top 100 ranking in the long run. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out, should you have any questions along the way. We are always here to help and love to see you all succeed.

Adam Quandt is the Managing Editor and Top 100 Program Director for Boating Industry. You can reach him via email at aquandt@boatingindustry.com.

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