Industry to reward certified dealers

CHICAGO – Boat builders and trade associations have come forward to reward those dealers who sign on to the Grow Boating Initiative’s Marine Industry Dealer Certification Program, the National Marine Manufacturers Association has reported in a series of statements this week.

Grady-White Boats of Greenville, N.C., said at its October dealer conference it will cover 50 percent of the cost for any Grady-White dealer to become certified. To date, five Grady-White dealerships have become certified under the dealership certification program.

“We believe the combination of the Marine Industry Dealership Certification Program along with our own Grady-White Dealer Standards will be a very important marketing advantage for our dealers,” said Kris Carroll, Grady-White president. “It is our goal to encourage all of our dealers to become certified and reach even higher levels of sales and service expectations for our customers in the future.”

Manufacturer Regal Marine Industries of Orlando, Fla., has agreed to reimburse any Regal dealer up to $1,000 toward the cost of certification. Regal dealers may redeem the reimbursement upon completion of the certification program.

“Regal strongly believes in the value of the Marine Industry Certified Dealership Program and its stated objective of providing the best possible boating experience for the customer,” said Marty Clement, vice president of materials and customer support at Regal. “That’s why we are partnering with our dealers to help offset some of the costs associated with certification. Those dealers who achieve Marine Industry Certified Dealership status will be the standard by which all others are judged.”

The Northwest Marine Trade Association will cover 10 percent of the early registration fees for the first 20 members participating in the process.

“We believe providing quality service to customers is critical to the Grow Boating effort,” said Alan Bohling, NMTA board chairman. “Dealers are often the first point of contact for boat buyers so it’s imperative that their experience is a positive one.”

The dealership certification program, developed by the Grow Boating Initiative’s sales and service task force, is designed to help dealers improve sales, raise the bar on after delivery support and increase profitability. This program will provide the tools to allow participants to enhance the retail experience for consumers, providing the kind of positive experiences that create long-term customer loyalty. Dealership certification elements will include a customer bill of rights, a matrix of best practices and an independent audit of dealer practices and facilities.

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