Manufacturers take responsibility for internal training

Robalo Boats has seen the potential with the Hispanic community and while it is not the company’s sole focus, training its dealer network on how to address the changing demographics is a priority.

Robalo hosts corporate-level training for its dealer network, as well as multiple regional training opportunities in the field, in which the company aims to make its sales force aware of the evolution of today’s customer.

“The customer profile is changing and the way that we approach customers [and] market to customers has to be different,” said Ann Baldree, vice president of Chaparral and Robalo Boats.

Robalo assumes the responsibility of educating retail salespeople in its network on how to approach these new buyers and how to train the customers so that they are comfortable with the purchase and operation of a boat.

One of Robalo’s dealers, Bob Hewes Boats, has been very successful with selling to Hispanic buyers, which the dealership attributes to the awareness training provided by Robalo.

“I lose a couple days from my salesmen, but I think it’s well worth the training. Even if they’ve already been before, I still send them back because they always learn something new,” said Jim Wiborg, president of Bob Hewes Boats.

The success of its training has brought about significant results for Robalo: While the industry average is 1.1 percent, Hispanic buyers make up 9.2 percent of all sales for Robalo Boats.

“We’re bringing new people into the market that have never been in our marketplace before,” said Donna Giddens, CSI coordinator of Robalo Boats.

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