Selecting the Best Boat Dealer

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Talk to existing clients

An excellent way to get good, honest information about a marine dealer is to talk to some of their existing clients. Existing clients will usually be brutally honest when
it comes to good and bad service. But how do you get the names of their existing clients? Ask the dealer!

Red says no:

A dealer might be reluctant to give you customer names for fear of violating their right to privacy, but if the dealer flatly refuses, he might have something to hide. It might allude to the fact that the dealer is fearful of what the customers might say.

Green for go:

If the dealer is happy to give you the names and contact numbers of his customers (once the dealer has confirmed with these customers he can
give out their details) and then furnishes you with their details, it means the dealer is confident that he will get a glowing report from them. Apart from the service aspects, enquire with the customers about the salespeople at the marine dealer as they too, like the workshop, backup and parts departments are an integral part of the business and the better they are, the better your dealer experience.

Why are we waiting?

If you’ve made a specific appointment with a marine dealer, you should not be kept waiting. By keeping you waiting, the marine dealer is indicating that you are not
that important as a client.

Red says no:

If you arrive at the dealer at the designated time for your appointment and the salesman you were meant to meet is not around and you are
asked to wait more than a few minutes, this ethos might pervade throughout the dealership where there is a general disregard for customer time. Another indicator that things are not up to scratch is if you are busy in your meeting with the salesperson and he takes a phone call during your interaction. This again might
indicate that you are not at the top of his list. It’s also bad manners.

If salespeople are in a meeting with a prospective new customer, they should give the instruction to switchboard to hold their calls.

Green for go:

If you arrive at the dealership and you are greeted promptly by your salesperson and offered a refreshment or coffee before you get down to the
nitty-gritty of going through the sales and purchase processes, then the dealership is heading in the right direction. Once you have left the dealership with all the
brochures and information you need, a follow up call the following day will give the dealership top marks. If they continually follow up over the next few weeks and months, the dealership should sit at the top of the podium.

Is your dealer certified?

Boat and engine manufacturers offer dealers certification programmes for the service department staff. These programmes are designed to keep service staff up to date with the latest engine technologies and product development, allowing them to be at the pinnacle of servicing their particular brand of product.

Red says no:

Ask the dealer for their manufacturer certification documentation for their service department. If they are not certified or can’t produce this documentation, it should set off warning bells.

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