Outstanding Initiatives

Marine USA Inc.
Listing its inventory of pre-owned boats on its Web site has been a “tremendous success” for Marine USA (Ranked 56). The listings include information on pricing and key features as well as photos. The dealership also auctions off or sells pre-owned boats that don’t meet its specific pre-determined criteria.
Midwest Mastercraft
The current owners of Midwest Mastercraft (Ranked 35) have only been at the dealership’s helm for four years, but they have a clear grasp of the connection between their employees’ well-being and their dealership’s success. Since they took over, they’ve launched a 401K program with a 5-percent company match and provided free health care to all their full-time team members – a benefits package with which few marine dealers compete. It’s no surprise then that Midwest Mastercraft was on track to deliver double digit growth in 2006.
Colorado Boat Center
For a new boat owner, the delivery process can be daunting. On the one hand, they want to know everything about their new toy; on the other, they’d rather be on the water than listening to a sales rep provide even more information. At Colorado Boat Center (Ranked 53), not only do the owners provide customers with a “picking up your boat” sheet and walk them through the features and benefits, but they also give them a DVD of the very same walk through and a “Happy Boating” check list, just in case they need a refresher.
Action Water Sports
Action Water Sports’ (Ranked 14) sales team uses what they call a “20-20-20 morning routine.” First thing in the morning, the dealership’s sales people have a goal to spend 20 minutes on their attitude, doing whatever it might take to get them into a good mood and feeling positive. The next 20 minutes are spent studying up on product knowledge. Team members can review inventory, studying competitor product or read industry trend articles online. The group uses the last 20 minutes to work on their sales abilities. Consistently using this routine has vastly improved sales team knowledge, the dealership said.
Silver Lake Marine
To streamline operations during the busy spring season, Silver Lake Marine (Ranked 88) created its own rigging schedule through the input of each of its employees, with representatives from sales to canvas F&I to demo and delivery giving their advice on the most efficient schedule possible. The schedule keeps things organized for the dealership so every sale goes smoothly and each customer’s expectations are exceeded. It orchestrates all departments so they work together fluidly and tracks all the details of a sale. On the rigging sheet that accompanies the schedule, there is plenty of room for computer or handwritten notes.
Jet Ski of Miami & Fisherman’s Boat Group
When Jet Ski of Miami & Fisherman’s Boat Group (Ranked 62) says it provides its customers with a “rewarding” boating experience, it’s no joke. The dealership puts a branded sticker on each of the products it sells and provides its employees with stacks of “Funny Money.” When an employee spots a sticker, they hand out one of the bills, which can be redeemed for parts, service or count toward the purchase of a new boat. Not only does this policy brighten the customer’s day, it translates into free advertising for the dealership.
Thunder Marine
Acting on the belief that competition brings out the best in people, Thunder Marine (Ranked 40) holds a monthly flagship dealer competition between its four locations to see which store has the highest quota percentage. The winning location receives a flag to display for the month as well as bonus money for its employees.
South Shore Marine
In order to set up its service operations in the most profitable way possible, South Shore (Ranked 23) has broken the service department down into several self-sufficient specialty areas. They include: electronics installation, rigging/repair, fiberglass and gelcoat, bottom coatings, woodworking and cleaning and detailing. These subdivisions are each responsible for their own profitability and organization and each has its own leader.
Crowe Marine
For the past five years, Crowe Marine (Ranked 77) has boosted business in February – traditionally one of the dealerships slower months) by offering a “February Pre-Spring Tune-Up Special.” A mailing to the entire four- and five-year-old customer base offers a $100 discount on all tune-ups done during the month. The promotion has been well received, as customers can avoid the longer wait times that come during busier months, and also helped generate the business additional revenue.
Park Boat Co. Powersports
One thing that stands out about Top 100 Dealers is their ability to see the big picture, and Park Boat Co. Powersports (Ranked 38) is no exception. When it has a customer looking for a boat not in stock, the dealer’s staff actively reviews boat classifieds in marine publications. While facilitating this type of sale may not earn a salesperson a commission, it goes a long way toward earning that customer’s loyalty, not to mention future parts, accessory, service and boat business.
Hoffmaster’s Marina
A salesperson’s contribution to a dealership’s long-term success comes down not just to how many boats sold and at what margin, but how well the person matches their customers to the boats that best meet their individual needs. For that reason, Hoffmaster’s Marina (Ranked 54) offers a 30-day trade-back guarantee. “We consider it a failure on our part if the customer buys the wrong boat and has to trade it,” says owner Joe Hoffmaster.

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