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What makes a good boat dealer???

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Old 02-16-2005, 10:37 PM
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Default What makes a good boat dealer???

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!
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

That was well spoken. I have never been to a boat dealer that I have felt comfortable at yet. Seems to me they are a tad bit sneaky or that is the way I feel. Prices are made up as they go along.
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Old 02-16-2005, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRPSTF
I mean boat dealers that actually have lines like Cigarette, Baja, Donzi, Fountain, etc.
In that order?

Damn Bob Dylan was right. The Times are a changin!
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
That was well spoken. I have never been to a boat dealer that I have felt comfortable at yet. Seems to me they are a tad bit sneaky or that is the way I feel. Prices are made up as they go along.
I agree... Boating season where I boat is pretty short, so you would think dealers should be straight forward and earn your business. But for some reason, it's the other way around... I've been shafted 3 times by the same dealer, and that was 3 times too many...
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

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Originally Posted by Harper220
I agree... Boating season where I boat is pretty short, so you would think dealers should be straight forward and earn your business. But for some reason, it's the other way around... I've been shafted 3 times by the same dealer, and that was 3 times too many...
I like to go to the boat dealers around here in a old beat up auto, holes in my jeans and junk shirt. This is when I have to chase down the sales people in order to ask about the price of a boat or get any questions answered. For some reason I get a much lower price during that visit than when I go back in a day or two without my junk clothes on. I love the statement I get sometimes from the sales people that I probability don't want to know the price of that boat or when I am told you can't afford it. WTF
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

i'm just going to add one thing.. maybe two... first my reading that and coming from someone that sells boats.. yes that is the way MOST dealers want to do things.. it kind-of helps them stay in the industry.. and i could set and comment on each one to the statements but i won't.. i think if you look at any intruders you can pick it apart and always point the bad out in it very easily..and when the statements post above does happen in the ownerships of the boat no on really things much of it.. but on the out side the service depart gets slammed and the the salemans has to PDI the unit, slash, and sea trail the unit.. and the factory doesn't hook up the hose camp right and water or what ever fills the bilge..(and remember with are still talking about boat right.. you know the one that start yesterday morning and now had white oil in the block.. been there) and god forbid someone wouldn't take care of there boat and maybe mistreat as boat.. i know the first person they blame.. THAT DAMN BOAT SALEMAN...
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Old 02-17-2005, 10:56 AM
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We just purchased a new boat....possible the best buying experience I've ever had. I had the boat built to my spec., promised the boat in 6 weeks from when it comes out of the mold & had it completed in 5 weeks. I made a small down payment & I had to give them money, never once asked after initial down payment. They listened & built it the way I wanted. They added several extra's at no charge. I have heard so many horror stories about buliders & dealers.
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Old 02-17-2005, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

Back in 1987 I bought a big Mako from a local dealer. At that time the hulls were shipped bare to the dealer for rigging with the customers outboards of choice. I was very concerned having a dealer completly rig a boat. A few previous customers told me to not worry.
The dealer called me in to go over the dash layout for twin engine gages. They then made a templete and called me in again for approval. They then did everything by the templete.
Later they called me in for the assorted electronics I wanted installed. We again went over the layout and marked where everything went in the overhead, on the dash orin compartments. They installed everything correctly again. They installed outboards, oil tanks, etc. Two transducers, three antennas, outriggers, loran, radio , two sounders, stereo, speakers.
I kept that boat until 1998 and never had one wire come loose in any of that dealers installation, never had a gage come loose in the dash.
They were not the cheapest around but they were the best.

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Old 02-17-2005, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
That was well spoken. I have never been to a boat dealer that I have felt comfortable at yet. Seems to me they are a tad bit sneaky or that is the way I feel. Prices are made up as they go along.

So true
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Old 02-17-2005, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: What makes a good boat dealer???

[QUOTE=IDRPSTFfor :
)
8.
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.

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.
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