Build a service dream team

MINNEAPOLIS — In order for a dealership to achieve industry-leading customer loyalty and profitability, it must employ a highly effective service team. Many dealers are finding that to be a challenge today. Not only are they struggling to find qualified technicians to fill open positions, but increased competition also makes it more difficult to retain employees.

At the 2014 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla., dealership trainer and consultant Valerie Ziebron will review the key human resource elements needed to create an outstanding service department, touching on topics such as recruiting, interviewing, hiring, reviewing and terminating employees; management’s role in creating, communicating and driving goals; and what employees need from managers to be successful.

Attendees will walk away from her MDCE workshop, titled “Build a Service Dream Team,” with job descriptions for service and parts employees, sample interview questions, tips for internet recruiting, employee rewards and recognition best practices, and much more. The workshop takes place Monday, Nov. 17 from 8 to 11:15 a.m. ET as part of MDCE’s Pre-Conference Workshops.

“Many dealerships are unable to take advantage of an increase in demand due to a lack of qualified candidates for service department openings,” explains Liz Walz, director of education for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry. “This workshop will give dealers the tools and insight they need to make the best of today’s job market.”

Other workshop topics include leadership, sales, digital marketing, succession planning, and video production and editing. Each workshop will feature takeaways (job descriptions, workbooks/guidebooks, report cards, tip sheets, etc.) to help attendees implement what they learned in the pre-conference sessions without delay upon returning to their respective dealerships.

“The service department expertise Valerie has to share makes her one of MDCE’s most popular speakers,” says Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet. “We are fortunate to have her tackling such a critical topic at the upcoming conference.”

The 2014 MDCE will offer 30 educational sessions in all, the most the event has ever offered, including seven Pre-Conference Workshops. The conference has traditionally included three educational tracks, but in 2014, it has expanded to four tracks: Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus. A Closing Keynote address also has been added this year.

Pre-Conference Workshop seating is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis. Attendees must select the workshop(s) they wish to attend during the MDCE registration process and pay an additional fee. Discounts are available for MRAA retail members.

The MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 16-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007. In 2013, MDCE featured double-digit growth in dealer attendance, for a total of 615 marine retail professionals. MRAA’s goal is to grow the event to more than 1,000 dealer attendees. To learn more, visit

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