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Don’t be an old dog; learn a new trick

“The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks.” I don’t know who said it, but it has long stuck with me … undoubtedly because it’s true. And the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas believes it, too, as demonstrated by its wide-ranging online educational offerings.

I’m reminded today of Bob Clemons, the founder of Clemons Boats in Sandusky, Ohio. He passed away recently, but I was privileged to work with him for 19 years. Of all the dealers I’ve worked with, Bob tops my list of those who were always seeking to learn. He never missed an educational meeting. He always asked how and why questions and sought to apply what he learned back in the dealership. (Clemons Boats is marking 50 years and is bigger than ever.)

MRAA is a great source for learning. Frankly, if you’re not an MRAA member, I must ask why. If you understand the need to continually learn, you should join. The benefits far exceed the cost. One of the benefits is access to nearly 100 online educational opportunities. These are the four most-viewed courses on

“Make Customer Service Your Competitive Advantage,” with Theresa Syer. If you think viewing customer interactions as just another transactional part of your dealership, you won’t succeed. In today’s selling climate, the customer experience is everything. Syer shares how to incorporate the “human factor” into every aspect of the customer experience. Once you hear the details, you’ll relate and do just that.

“A is for Attitude,” with Sam Dantzler. If you want a Knute Rockne-inspired “let’s win one for the Gipper” presentation, this ain’t it. Dantzler takes a deep dive into the science behind what happens around you when you come to work in a good mood. In fact, the MRAA team took this one together for #TrainingDayWithMRAA, and the description after was, “mind, blown!”

“The Key to a Killer Sales Process,” with Sam Dantzler. How do we motivate our sales employees? It’s an enduring question for dealership leaders. No question it’s a critical piece in the sales success puzzle. In this presentation, Dantzler walks you through an understanding of why this is so important, then gives solid advice on how best to implement a great sales process into your team.

“The Rules of Engagement,” with David Martin. Researchers at Harvard have identified that every customer goes through a certain process before making a big purchase. So it’s crucial that all members of the sales team understand and follow the process. The incentive to learn this is more sales. In this presentation, Martin demonstrates eight steps to getting the write-up and, in turn, closing the sale.

Finally, MRAA’s Marine Dealer Conference and Expo in Orlando, Fla., is slated for Dec. 9-12. MDCE delivers the most comprehensive educational programming in the marine industry. Its proven ability to deliver real-world opportunities and solutions has attracted a record number of dealer registrations this year. But there’s still time to plan to attend.

Dealerships of all types turn to MDCE to gain insights into the latest trends, strategies and best practices, and to help them prepare to maximize their success in the year ahead. There are educational tracks in four disciplines: Sales, Marketing, Service-plus and Leadership. Moreover, each session is rated as Fundamental, Intermediate or Advanced, so attendees can make appropriate selections.

MDCE, produced by MRAA and Boating Industry magazine, is the largest annual conference designed by marine dealers for marine dealers. The fact that hundreds of dealers return each year is testament to its value. I encourage you to attend. Get all the details here.



AMI Hosts Pre-Conference Sessions

The sessions on leadership and marina management, and a tour of a nearby marina and boatyard operation, precede today’s official kickoff of the group’s annual conference.


Boating’s Greatest Thingamabob

The Seattle Boat Show kicks off next week with nearly 300 exhibitors, 800 new boats and the construction of a 100-foot Rube Goldberg boat machine.

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The company announced that it purchased facilities in Hampstead, N.C., and Georgetown, Md.


Gillen Announces Expansion, New Hire

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Companies have a unique platform to make people’s lives better through products and services, how we treat employees and the kind of advocate we are for our industry.


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Net sales of $596 million were up 11% compared with the previous-year quarter, and profit was reported at $2.6 million.