Create an atmosphere

Many dealers deliver boats out in the back parking lot with a technician providing the overview. At Marine Center of Indiana (Ranked 50 in 2006) customers are wowed by an atmosphere that blows them away with both sight and sound.

Based on the belief that buying a boat, as a “primary water fun tool” second only to the house in cost for most families, generates great customer anticipation, Marine Center has capitalized on the emotion by turning its delivery into “pure pleasure, enjoyment and satisfaction at first sight of their fully outfitted and detailed boat.”

And as Michael Hoffman, president, puts it, “anticipation cannot be turned into instant pleasure without atmosphere.” To that end, when customers arrive to pick up their boat, they are led to the door of the presentation room. As the door lifts, they hear music and “grin from ear to ear” as they walk inside the room to a musical theme and a multi-colored light show on the floor and walls.

As they near their boat and the music volume increases, the spotlights focus to fully illuminate the trailer-mounted boat. And the customer is welcomed to the presentation by the voice of the customer relations manager booming over the public address system: “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, here is your new Regal 2200 LSR. Let’s get ready to have fun!”

The customer and his group are directed to walk around the boat and get in, and as the music volume decreases, illumination is increased to full brilliance, and the customer relations manager emerges from in back of a display to congratulate them on their purchase and to walk them through operating procedures and the features and benefits.

And all that happens before the on-water tutorial.

“Most dealers use either a boat storage lot behind the service shop or a lake launch ramp for delivery,” Hoffman says. “Neither provides the atmosphere.”

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