MDCE 2016: Pre-conference workshops open educational sessions

Educational sessions began at the 2016 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo Tuesday morning with more than 250 dealers attending Pre-Conference Workshops that traditionally kick off the education portion of the event.

The 11 morning sessions were attended by 257 dealers who came to learn about topics ranging from leadership to new sales and marketing strategies to social media efforts. MDCE runs Dec. 5-8 at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

After successfully launching the Pre-Conference Workshops in 2013, MDCE organizers have improved and refined the sessions each year. The workshops give marine retailers access to hands-on training with leading experts in areas that have the biggest impact on their future success.

“Historically, our Pre-Conference Workshops have been our highest-rated sessions of the entire MDCE,” said Liz Walz, vice president and director of education for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which produces the annual event in partnership with Boating Industry magazine. “That’s because of the in-depth, hands-on nature of these small group sessions, where dealers can get some work done while they’re here, on site.”

This year’s workshops included sessions on leadership, sales, marketing, social media, event planning, pay plans, increasing F&I profits and online chat. Each workshop featured takeaways (pay plans, assessments, workbooks/guidebooks, report cards, tip sheets, etc.) to help attendees implement what they learned without delay.

“We’re thrilled to once again have a great turnout for these workshops,” said Boating Industry Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Sweet. “The value-add that these sessions have provided MDCE attendees really is a tangible takeaway they can put to use immediately upon returning to their dealerships.”

In addition to the Pre-Conference Workshops, MDCE 2016 features 20 educational sessions and four educational tracks: Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus. Three keynote sessions, Learning Labs, Innovation Spotlight sessions and more than two-dozen Dealer-to-Dealer Roundtable Discussions are also being offered at this year’s event.

The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo has attracted an increasing number of dealers every year since 2007. To learn more, visit

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