MDCE 2015 expands Pre-Conference Workshops

MINNEAPOLIS — In response to record-high ratings from attendees in 2014, the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo has expanded the number of Pre-Conference Workshops offered at this year’s event from seven to 12.

“When we consider where to invest in growing MDCE, the most important consideration is the potential impact it will have on our attendees,” explains Liz Walz, vice president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry. “The workshops were a natural fit this year because not only were they rated higher than any other type of education at last year’s event, but as the most in-depth sessions at MDCE, they also give dealers a chance to do the most work on their business.”

The MDCE Pre-Conference Workshops were first launched in 2013 to satisfy dealers’ requests for hands-on education that digs deep into the issues that have the biggest impact on their success.

“More than half of our dealer attendees have yet to experience an MDCE workshop, and I don’t think they realize that they’re missing one of the most powerful offerings of the event,” says Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet. “In 2014, 99.3 percent of all workshop attendees reported that the experience was ‘well worth their time and money.’”

MDCE Pre-Conference Workshops are designed to help dealers build processes, tools and strategies to drive their success with expert guidance from leading authorities.

In 2015, that not only includes MDCE opening keynote speaker Steve McClatchy, but favorites like Valerie Ziebron, Sam Dantzler, John Spader and Jennifer Robison, who will be back by popular demand.

Here’s a brief overview of workshop topics on deck for MDCE 2015:

  • Performance guru Steve McClatchy will show dealers four keys to effective execution, three skills possessed by the most organized executives and numerous ways to manage interruptions and improve efficiency.
  • Merchandiser Jennifer Robison will return to MDCE to give attendees the tools they need to improve sales through better showroom design.
  • Perennial favorites Valerie Ziebron and Dan Fujiwara will help attendees make more in the service department by analyzing and improving their scheduling of repairs, maintenance and rigging.
  • Expert instructor John Spader will expose attendees to a 20 Group experience and teach a step-by-step process attendees can use to analyze their financials.
  • Workflow specialist Jack Huffman will identify strategies dealers can use to improve the front and back end of their parts and accessories departments.
  • Finance teams will learn how to get more boats sold and deals during a how-to workshop on subprime lending.
  • Leadership specialist David Spader will lead a young professionals workshop on the difference between leading and managing, and how to determine which your dealership needs.
  • Industry educator Bob McCann and marketing expert Colleen Brousil will share social media skills and strategies that are proven to deliver dealership ROI.
  • Marketer Samantha Scott, APR, will show dealers how they can use data on today’s consumer and their buying process to succeed with a higher percentage of prospects.
  • Dealership consultant Sam Dantzler will use personality profiling to help dealers gain insight into customer behavior and close more deals.
  • Industry veteran David Parker will help dealers identify and create the most effective compensation plans for their team.
  • Marine Industry Certified Dealership consultant Paul Weaver will provide step-by-step instruction on improving dealer performance through process mapping.

In addition to the Pre-Conference Workshops, MDCE 2015 will include an opening and closing keynote address and four educational tracks — Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus — specifically designed to address the most critical aspects of marine dealer operations. New for 2015, MDCE also will include Learning Labs, where attendees can consult one-on-one with leading experts.

The 2015 MDCE is scheduled for Nov. 15-18 at the Orange County Convention Center, Rosen Plaza Hotel and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. The Pre-Conference Workshops are scheduled for the morning of Monday, Nov. 16. To learn more, visit

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