Off Shore Marine is on a growth trajectory. In both 2015 and 2016, the dealership reported impressive double-digit revenue growth, and it’s on pace to do the same this year.
With limited boating areas near its sole location in Branchville, N.J., Off Shore Marine has buckled down and worked hard to market to customers as far as 120 miles away. “Our business has been built the hard way, with integrity and persistence,” President Louis Cecchini said.
The dealership relies heavily on meeting its customers and prospects face-to-face at in-dealership and off-site events.
In February 2016, Off Shore hosted its fifth annual Open House and combined it with the third annual Inboard Customer Appreciation Night. New to the customer appreciation dinner was an unveiling of two boats that had recently been delivered from the factory. The new owners cut the shrink-wrap off their boats as other customers watched in anticipation.
“The sales team spoke of how rare it is for such an opportunity, and enhanced the experience by explaining all of the new boat smells that are gone by the time of delivery — fresh fiberglass, new vinyl and new upholstery smells. The experience was enjoyed by all,” Cecchini said.
In addition, Off Shore Marine named July its Customer Appreciation Month, offering free cookies and miscellaneous giveaways, like pens, key chains and knapsacks left over from the February event, to customers who stopped by the dealership.
Other in-person activities revolve around partnerships Off Shore has developed. DeFeo’s Cove Marine, a non-competing dealer at a nearby major lake, hosted an on-water boat show with Off Shore Marine.
Also, Pine Crest Marina and Off Shore Marine display non-competing products at each other’s locations, with Pine Crest advertising Off Shore on its electronic sign. This partnership has led to at least two sales for Off Shore Marine.
Though some of Off Shore Marine’s events are centered around customers and prospects, others are focused on giving back to the community. The dealership hosts a Thanksgiving food collection, a school supply and backpack collection, various food pantry collections and a Sister to Sister Prom Shop collection for gently used formalwear.
The dealership also collects toys in a “Stuff the Boat” drive for Project Self-Sufficiency, which offers support for low-income individuals and families. Last year’s Stuff the Boat campaign included support of Off Shore’s customers, two local volunteer fire departments and a ladies auxiliary group, which combined to fill a 23-foot boat up to the windshield with toys. Two newspapers covered the event, as Off Shore employees delivered the boat full of toys to Project Self-Sufficiency.
“One-on-one experiences have proven to be our most effective sales strategy,” Cecchini said. “We strongly encourage prospective buyers to visit our showroom and display lot. So many times, as their questions are answered, they find the model they are most interested in is not the perfect fit for their boating or performance needs. Dealership visits and demos provide a better opportunity to sell ourselves, our facility and build confidence in the new relationship — the first stages in building loyalty!”
Off Shore Marine also participates in the New York Boat Show, and in 2016, after five years on the waiting list, the dealership had a booth at the New Jersey Boat Sales & Expo.
While consumer engagement has been growing in importance to Off Shore Marine, so has employee satisfaction. Before completing year-end reviews in 2016, the dealership gave each employee a five-question survey to facilitate better discussions. The dealership then implemented new ideas to engage its staff.
The new “Catch of the Month” employee recognition program allows staff to nominate their peers for exceptional behavior throughout the course of a month. At the beginning of the following month, all of the nominations are read aloud in a meeting, and an employee is drawn for a prize ranging from a free lunch to leaving work an hour early to a $25 gift card. At year’s end, the employee with the most nominations receives a grand prize.
This past July, Off Shore Marine also added a barbeque for employees and their families to thank them for getting through the Memorial Day and July Fourth deadlines. Plus, the dealership added a simple IRA plan with 3 percent match.
All of this is in addition to the dealership’s annual employee Christmas dinner, free breakfast and lunch every Saturday, and cash bonuses throughout the year and at the end of the year.
“At Off Shore, we understand the value of exceptional employees and know that we are successful because of their commitment to our company principles,” Cecchini said.
With its ever-improving customer outreach and dedication to employees, Off Shore Marine is slated to surpass this year’s revenue growth and continue its upward trend.