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What makes a good boat dealer???

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Old 02-17-2005, 09:42 PM
  #11
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

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Originally Posted by IDRPSTF
Considering the Lip Ship thread is up to 5 pages, I think its a good time to ask this question. What makes a boat dealership good? Im not talking about a broker, brokers are middle men and don't claim to be a one stop shop for buying a boat. (No offense, I know its not an easy job!) I mean boat dealers that actually have lines like Cigarette, Baja, Donzi, Fountain, etc. that they rep for and have a territory.
In years past I have sold both High Line cars, Bikes, and Offshore High Performance boats at dealerships. I never understood why buying a boat is so unnecessarily hard to do? And from what I have seen, its the unprepared dealers that foul things up.
All sales, boat or high line car, go down like this:
1. Market the product (Accuracy counts, because if you embellish, lie, or misrepresent, you will just irritate the buyer when they show up in person).
2. Price the product within reason. Or watch it sit on the lot while flooring accrues and buyers go elsewhere, its the Internet age for gods sake... its not that hard to shop around.
3. Listen to the buyers needs and wants. I watched a dealership owner meet a buyer at the door one day. The buyer already had a boat on the same lot that he had purchased before. This particular buyer showed up in a Ferrari 575 Barchetta (About as rare as they get). He just bought the car that afternoon (No waiting list for this guy) and dug it so much he decided to get a 46 Cigarette in Ferrari Red with Tan Camel interior. The owner of the dealership (Who was partial to Skaters) took the buyer upstairs and tried talking him into a cat. The guy left an hour later not buying anything.
4. Finance. This one is simple. Learn what the hell you are doing. There is a certain amount of trust involved when allowing an individual or company run your credit. And every time its done, you take a hit on your score. So when your credit is run... Make it count. I have seen dealerships with no business running bureau's to qualify customers. Most people have a good idea of there own score. Unless the dealership is buy here pay here, tell them your score and limit the credit hits to the bank, it makes difference in the long run. And ask what bank. If the dealer runs the credit, then uses a lending agency, who then uses a bank... you just had your credit run three times!
5. PDI or Test Drive before the buyer arrives- For new boats, this means the boat has been run and meets the builder and dealers requirements. Many dealers will wait to PDI a boat until the Sea Trail. And guess what folks, all boats have problems...ALL of them. If the dealers would just PDI the boat when they get it, you don't become the test pilot on the gremlin hunt. As for used boats, why in the world do dealers not run the boats before putting them into inventory? How do they know how they run, how they handle, if there are problems?
6. Extras- "Sure we will throw in a trailer at dealer cost. Sure you can have the slip for a year. Sure we will detail the boat and install the electronics... Just sign here showing that you give final acceptance of the boat and we will get right on that." Good luck ever get a return phone call!
7. Training- Trace, Phill, Creig, you guys are men among men in this industry. I have heard from everyone I know that has purchased a boat from you all, that they learned how to drive it. And by learned I don't mean 1 hour and "See Ya Later". I mean these people now know the basics and can drive the boat. So what is wrong with the rest of these dealers?
Liability? Then go sell teddy bears. You sell someone a toy that requires some training, train the person or I hope you loose sleep at night when that buyer doesn't ever come home because they made a rookie mistake with a high powered hobby.
8. And last... Fallow up. Every boat brakes. So does that mean that a dealer should be afraid to call after three weeks and ask how things are going!
Many places make tens of thousands off these boats at sale and don't ever fallow up due to fear of customer complaints. That just plain sucks.

These are my gripes from years in the industry, and still being baffled by the fact that a car takes 3 hours to sell, and a boat takes 3 weeks.

For those dealers who have lasted and given great service, this is not directed at you, Lipship, Lake Cumberland Marine, Martin, etc.
I am just trying to make sense of a purchase that should be fun and exciting, always turning into a headache!
Yahh no BS.
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

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Originally Posted by Troutly
Honesty and fairness. The rest will take care of itself.

To get the above I had to go all the way to Jasper, Alabama. I'll go back, too
Thats the truth, unfortunately not easy to find thses day
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Old 02-18-2005, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

"Alot of good points,but I for one am not baffled.A boat is a huge expense.For example,your typical Rolls Royce customer takes up to six months to finalize the purhase.A boat is usually someones second largest purchase,and therfore is not likely to buy in three hours.Three weeks seems reasonable to me.Much more money,risk and committment."

Actually I have sold $150K cars in less than 3 hours. And to be honest, it wasnt my abuilities as a salesperson. I worked for a dealership that made it easy. And that was not a one time deal. The dealership averaged 50 cars per month. I even sold a 2001 996 Turbo one night when the electricity went out. (I turned another Porsche around in the showroom and shined the lights on my desk) We all got a good chuckle, but the dealer made a grip of cash.
Why dont Boat Dealers bring in Experianced Finance people to close deals on the spot. If you have a 750 score and 20% Down, the dealer should be able to hook it up to your truck and wish you well on your way in a few hours!
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