The one way of getting the absolute best out of a marine dealer is by building a good relationship with them. Not only should you be looking for an honest and trustworthy dealer, but you are also looking for one that will offer you the best advice on all things marine, a dealer that is willing to forgo some of their profit margin in order to satisfy you completely with the best service and parts available. So, is it possible to establish if a dealer is above board? The answer to this question is yes it is. Here are some easy methods to establish if the marine dealers in your area are reputable and reliable.
ASK FOR REFERENCES
If you are approaching a dealer for the first time, ask them for references for some of their existing customers. If the dealer is hesitant, they might have something to hide. Alternatively, visit the dealer and chat candidly to the customers in the service department. You’ll quickly gauge whether these customers are happy with the service they have received in the past. Customers are usually brutally honest about good and bad service alike. If a dealer happily puts you in touch of some of their customers this indicates they are confident in the services they offer and confident that their customers will give an honest report back. Don’t forget to ask about service backup and parts availability.
Boat and engine manufacturers offer dealers certification programmes so that staff can be trained to a certain level of competence. If the dealer is certified, they will have all the latest product knowledge and servicing techniques. An uncertified dealer should set off warning bells. Most reputable dealers will have the necessary certification displayed for all to see.
On arrival at the dealership, look around at the staff to see if they are in an upbeat mood. Friendly staff members usually indicate that they are part of a happy working environment, passed down from management to the rest of the staff. If you walk into a dealership and the environment is less than friendly, it might be a suggestion to look at using another dealer. After all, the entire boating experience should be a happy one, not just being out on the water. Look for a dealership that will engage you positively, with friendly and honest interactions.
THE WAITING GAME
Good, prompt service is essential in any business and this includes your boat dealer. If you’ve made an appointment and the dealer keeps you waiting for an hour before you get attended to, you might need to consider an alternative dealer. The same applies to a salesperson who does not keep the allotted appointment time. Does the salesperson follow up with you the following day to gauge your levels of interest in the boat? Are there continued follow ups after the initial presentation? If you’ve made a specific appointment with a marine dealer, you should not be kept waiting. By keeping you waiting, the marine dealer might be indicating that you are not that important as a client.
How often have you strolled into a dealer and looked at their selection of boats without being attended to by a salesperson? Believe me, it happens often. If you are met promptly by a salesperson when you arrive on the showroom floor, this often indicates that they are keen to do business. If that is the case on the showroom floor, then the same ethos probably permeates throughout the business to the service and parts departments. This is the dealership you want to form strong bonds with, not the dealership where the staff are MIA.
DO THE RESEARCH
The Internet is a wonderful tool to research the dealers in your area. Remember, it is always advisable to find a dealer that is within a reasonably close geographical location to you. Online research will often bring up forums discussing positive and negative points relating to dealers and these can help you make an informed decision when choosing a dealer to handle your boating affairs.
Finding the marine dealer to suit your boat purchase and servicing needs is as easy as following the steps set out above. With a little bit of homework, you will be able to find the best boat dealer in your area that offers the best boat service, ensuring your boat spends more time on the water than on a trailer.