We know that headline flies
in the face of conventional thinking about client/salesperson relationships, but
this is, after all, the boat business, not the real world. If you want to maximize
your boating pleasure and minimize frustration, you need to make sure you buy your
next new boat from someone with whom you have a relationship, not just a well-scrubbed
kid in topsiders or a grisly old salt who says he knows it all. The Ft. Lauderdale
Boat Show coming up on October 30th will be not only a good place to zero-in on
your next boat, but it also provides an excellent opportunity to establish some
relationships with dealers and their salespeople. You should take the first and,
possibly, the second step to building a relationship. Yes, the customer is king
and the salesman should be following up; but the trouble is that he/she is dealing
with dozens of
people who are all “playing it close to the vest” and the salesperson
doesn’t know who is real and who is a just a hull thumper. That’s why you need to
take the extra step. Trust us, it will be worth it.
The Galati family, who own 10 dealerships all around the state of Florida, is remarkable
because not only have they won Boating Industry Magazine’s highest honor, but they
also represent eight of the top boat brands. For many of these brands Galati is
the builders’ top-selling dealership. The Galati credo is to make boating more pleasurable
for their clients, and profitability will take care of itself. Their efforts at
customer service and at building customer relationships have obviously paid off
on both scores. Our congratulations to Galati Yacht Sales!
Galati Yacht Sales 10 dealership locations with phone numbers…
A recent two-month study by BoatTEST.com has discovered that 36% of reader requests
for dealer contact go unanswered by dealers after 72 hours, and it is not much better after five days. Yes, this summer was one of the worst in anyone’s memory for boat
sales, and yes, every inquiry should have been answered. But this is the boat business,
and if you are a long-time boater we’re sure you’ve noticed the difference between
boating and the rest of the world.
Finding the Right Dealer
Dealer contact info next to tests.
The fall is a good time to be doing research on your next boat and also research
on your next dealer. A good dealer will make your boating experience more pleasurable
and more rewarding. Once you have developed a relationship with a dealer you like
and respect, good things will flow from it.
Three dealer contact buttons that transmit
your member data ONLY to your local dealer in real time.
BoatTEST.com provides three devices to help you find the right dealer: 1) The red
Dealer Contact Card next to the boat tests (as seen above); 2) The three buttons
that appear on every boat test page (see above); 3) Owner reviews that can steer
you to or away from a dealership (see below). This link appears on the BoatTEST.com
home page and on each test page by brand.
Owner reviews also contain comments about
Choosing the right boat is not easy. That’s why BoatTEST.com is in business – to
help sort out the best boat and brand for you. But once you have made that decision,
you need to find a good dealer and salesperson for that brand. Be advised that most
boat builders do not like customers buying boats from dealers outside their “territory,”
because it often causes servicing issues. Consumer laws permit you to buy from whomever
you want, and shopping dealers will inform you of the best price on a boat, but
you should think twice about buying from a dealer outside your “territory.”
Industry Certified Dealers
The boating industry has a Dealer Certification Program to train marine dealers
in good customer service. Over 400 dealers nationwide have been certified, and this
list is a fine place to start your quest for a good dealer. To access the data base…
The Salesman is Your Friend
The power of a salesperson can be huge. A good one knows the lowest price he can
sell the boat for. He also knows what equipment you should have, and what you should
stay away from. He knows which lending institutions are likely to accept you and
how you can save money on financing, insurance and many other things. While the
right salesperson might not be worth his weight in gold, he could be worth his weight
Certain models in some boat lines are hard to sell on the used market. The good
salesperson will know which ones they are and – if you have a relationship – will
steer you to something else. He knows where slips are available, the electronics
geek who can install your aftermarket chartplottter, and which canvas maker really
stands behind his work.
Long story, short: whether you know it or not, you should never be without a strong
relationship with both a salesperson and a dealership. Boats and boating are simply
too complicated and problematical to go it alone.
Should You Make Contact?
During the last several years boaters have discovered that if they put their name
and email address in the wrong place they may be called or spammed when they don’t
want to be. Unfortunately, some organizations in the boating business have advertised
for names and then distributed them to a dozen builders to send to their dealers.
It was a well-intentioned effort (it is still going on), but it drives both would-be
boat buyers and dealers’ salespeople nuts.
BoatTEST.com advises that you simply pick up the phone and call the dealer yourself.
Ask for the sales manager. Tell him the truth – you are doing research and you would
like to ask him some questions.
FYI, when you click on a dealer contact button at BoatTEST.com like the ones shown above, we send your contact information ONLY to the brand you select – once. You
should get a call back quickly during working hours if the builder and dealer are
on the ball. (Some aren't.)
Where to Make Contact?
Of course the best place to establish a relationship with a dealer is on his home
turf. There you can see the dealer’s infrastructure and service facility. Is the
place neat, clean and tidy, or a sloppy mess?
Boat shows are a good place to make your initial contacts. In that way you can meet
several salespeople, take their measure in a relaxed atmosphere, then follow up
after the show with the person with whom you connect best.
Use the fall to do your research, make your contacts and build relationships. And
be sure to make your significant other part of the process. Then, when all of your
ducks are lined up, you’ll know what to do.