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The drive to continuously grow and improve is at the heart of the MRAA, our members and our staff. That’s why we’re launching this blog: to share what we’re learning in our work and in our lives with you – and in hopes you’ll share what you’re learning too.


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What's in a Name (Tag)

Posted By Bob McCann, Monday, July 17, 2017

What do you think about your crew wearing name tags? If it was up to me, I would have the customers wear them too! I’m the worst at remembering names, even two minutes after an introduction. As a customer, I love it when the employees I meet are wearing name tags. It allows me to use their name, and I feel like I get better service because of the instant rapport we build. This is especially true when trying to get out of a middle seat on an airplane, into a nicer rental car or into a room with a view!

For the not so selfish, there are plenty of reasons for name tags too:

  • Ease of starting a conversation. Lack of communication is one of those reasons that often surfaces when we take a good look at an issue causing conflict at the dealership. If we can make it easier to get people talking and avoid the awkwardness of having to ask a staff member their name, it will help us avoid issues with customers and might even help us sell service or a boat.

  • Simplicity when reporting issues and problem solving for both customers and mangers. When a customer leaves the keys to a boat with the guy in the parking lot, it’s much easier to find the keys when that same customer remembers seeing Bob’s name tag!

  • Balance the playing field when talking with customers. It’s often taught to seek out and use the customer’s name during a conversation. This is done from reading the name on a credit card, warranty card, appointment card, etc. Why shouldn’t customers know employees names as well?

  • Credit where credit’s due when an employee goes out of their way to please a customer. It’s easier to tweet or post on Facebook, “Bob saved our day of fishing with his quick service to get our baitwell working before the start of the tournament” than “The tattooed guy with hipster facial hair…”

  • Deterrence and accountability. An employee who has had a long day would be less likely to tell off (or flip off) a customer if they have a name badge on. They provide deterrence and instant accountability.
Should all employees wear name tags?  Or should owners and managers be exempt? I’m always impressed when I visit MarineMax Team Support in Clearwater, Fla., where there are no customers but everyone wears a name badge, including Bill McGill. I don’t think you can tell your staff that for the above reasons, name badges are a good idea and not wear one yourself!

Name tags help to develop a genuine relationship between staff and guests. And “genuine” matters a lot to today’s customers. Rightly so.

Tags:  accountability  communication  credit  customers  ease  employees  name tags  sales  service  team 

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Marketing Certification to Consumers

Posted By Bob McCann, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions by dealers considering getting Certified is: “What is the industry doing to make consumers aware of the benefits of doing business with a Certified dealer?” The answer is: Quite a bit!

  1. First and foremost, we believe in empowering YOU to tell your story of how Certification makes you a better boat dealer. We help you by providing resources like press releases, advertisements, sales strategies, the Consumer Commitment and more.

  2. Second, the Dealer Certification Program was launched by Grow Boating, and MRAA continues to work with a Grow Boating Committee to build a relevant program for today’s industry. Grow Boating, through its consumer-facing Discover Boating website, promotes Certified Dealers and why it’s important to buy and service a boat from a Certified Dealer.

  3. Speaking of why it’s important to buy or service your boat at a Certified Dealer, here’s an article we collaborated on with Boating magazine. Each year we work with Bonnier Corp., which publishes Boating magazine, to tell their subscribers about the value of doing business with Certified Dealers. Ads in their magazine and their newsletters, as well as custom content in their newsletters and on their social media sites, promote Certified Dealers and are distributed to boating consumers on an annual basis.

  4. Each year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association promotes Certified Dealers at its boat shows, providing a page in its show directory that highlights all the Certified Dealers displaying at that event as well as signage for Certified Dealers’ booths.

Tell Your Story
When you reach the pinnacle of the industry as a Certified Dealer and adhere the badge to your front door and your website, it’s a good time to take a breath and pat your team on the back for a job well done.

Then, use the marketing tools provided to you to create awareness and put the question in the mind of the boat buyer or owner: What does Certified mean? This is your team’s opportunity to blow their own horn and enthusiastically explain what a Certified Dealer must go through to reach this level of recognition.

This is the purpose of displaying the Consumer Commitment, aka ‘The Customer’s Bill of Rights.” Truth be known, customers come to your dealership to look at boats or to get their boat serviced. Reading plaques on the wall doesn’t rank high on their priority list during their visit. Therefore, mentioning Certification needs to become part of your pitch to every boat buyer or service customer. The plaque on the wall is simply a visual aid to help tell the story.

One of MRAA’s top performing dealer groups has taken this to the next level by restyling and enlarging the Bill of Rights to free standing banners that are proudly displayed in each of their many showrooms.   This group and others also bring the Customer Commitment with them to their boat shows because it helps separates them from the sea of fiberglass or aluminum at the show. They realize that a boat show often levels the playing field. The boat buyers only see bright shiny boats, all perfectly displayed for the weekend, and can’t see exhibitors’ decked-out dealerships (or not). I’ll never forget when one of our dealers told me that they walk everyone over to the Bill of Rights before they leave their boat show display and say, “When you’re looking around the Boat Show, make sure you look for dealerships that display these Bill of Rights.” He went on to say, “This sets up the next dealer for failure, and we enjoy a larger amount of B-Backs.” So, if you’ve been looking for the elusive B-Back powder, this might be it!

Bottom-line: You must beat your own chest and tell everyone you’re Certified because your competition won’t. Use all that we provide to help you create awareness and get customers asking: What does Certification mean?

Tags:  certification  competition  marketing  sales  service 

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