Best in Class

Highest-Ranking Dealer with 1 or 2 Stores: Prince William Marina
As one of the most stable and profitable Top 100 Dealers, Prince William Marina’s commitment to improvement across every area of its business is particularly impressive. During a year in which many marine retailers were downsizing, this Woodbridge, Va.-based Sea Ray Ambassador dealer increased its sales and detail staffs, mobile fleet, Internet presence, customer events, pre-owned and brokerage boat sales and F&I offerings, while introducing a number of initiatives to improve its customer satisfaction, which averaged 97.5 percent in 2007. Those include improvements to its internal CSI survey, a new service department priority scale and a new relationship with TowBoatU.S. to service Prince William’s customers. Put simply by CEO Carlton Phillips, who personally manages the company’s CSI program, reading and responding to surveys, “Our success and growth revolves around customer loyalty. If our customers have the best boating experience possible, the business will grow.”

Highest-Ranking Dealer with 3 or 4 Stores: Action Water Sports
When you’re able to devote seven single-spaced pages in your Top 100 Dealers application to the year-over-year improvements that you’ve made, it’s probably not much of a shock to those at Action Water Sports that their dealership is being honored for the second-consecutive year with this award. One of the many areas in which Action excels, is the level to which it takes advantage of the opportunities the Internet provides. The dealership has created a new multi-location Web site, launched a bi-monthly e-newsletter, started a blog and joined the social-networking site Facebook. Action also utilizes eBay to move old inventory, a practice several dealers in the Top 100 have found success with. And the business has also started using Google Docs, the free Web-based spreadsheet and word processing application, which helps the salespeople and service managers at Action collaborate more efficiently on documents and projects. By embracing the new tools the Internet revolution offers, rather than finding reasons to maintain the status quo, Action Water Sports is working to assure itself a place in the Top 100 for years to come.

Highest-Ranking Dealer with 5 or 6 Stores: Seattle Boat Co.
Seattle Boat Company’s Top 100 ranking has climbed each of the last two years, and when you spend a moment looking at the way the dealership operates, it doesn’t take long to see why. Whereas some businesses are set up for failure, Seattle Boat Company has set itself up to succeed. Thorough, well-thought-out plans are made and then followed. Short and long-term goals are set for the company and its employees, and progress towards those goals is monitored – constantly. The company has instituted daily health reports that let managers continually take the pulse of some of the businesses’ key performance indicators, such as productivity, efficiency, cash received, work orders billed, etc. Nothing is left to chance at Seattle Boat Company, and innovation is the norm rather than a happy accident. The dealership has climbed through the Top 100 ranks these last few years and now it may not be a question of if the company can reach No. 1, but when it will happen.

Most-Improved Dealer: Sea Ray of Cincinnati, Lousiville
Sea Ray of Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington didn’t just move up this year’s Top 100 list, the company’s 45-place climb deserves a word more like jumped, soared or even rocketed. Come to think of it, we have two words that describe the accomplishment perfectly: most improved.
One indication of how much better the dealership performed year over year were its CSI scores, which were up at all three of its locations in the area of service and at two of them in sales. The company’s overall scores climbed from 9.28 to 9.72 in service and 9.51 to 9.85 in sales.
Maybe even more impressive than the CSI jump was the dealership’s revenue increase. The company didn’t want us to share exactly how much that increase was, but we can say it was one of the largest among Top 100 Dealers.
Boosting revenue and CSI at the same time is a winning combination, and if Sea Ray of Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington is able to duplicate those results, this year’s jump is just the beginning.

Highest-Ranking Dealer with Revenue under $4 million: Woodard Marine
As one of this year’s most innovative Top 100 Dealers, Woodard Marine continues to improve its ranking on the list. Not only has this one-location, Hydeville, Vt.-based boat dealership been growing its revenues and profits amidst the market downturn, it has been investing in the launch of numerous new services and programs, from an online ship store to a custom upholstery shop, from a new certified pre-owned extended protection plan to online bill pay, and from the Woodard Marine University series of free seminars open to the public to the adoption of a digital strategy in which all sales and management personnel can be contacted and connect to its dealership management system via smart phones. This can-do attitude, combined with the company’s aggressive goals for growth and 99.6 average CSI rating, suggest that after two years in a row of receiving this recognition, it won’t be much longer before the New England boat dealership busts out of the “under $4 million revenue” category altogether.

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