Training — it’s a word that can excite or illicit groans, depending on a person’s perspective.
But most boat dealers are always looking to improve their business, regardless of how they go about it, and presumably all of them want their team and staff to be as knowledgeable as possible.
A growing number of dealers attend the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, co-produced by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and Boating Industry magazine, each fall.
But busy schedules and financial constraints can also prevent dealers from going to access all the training they would like.
In response to a growing number of dealers asking for interactive, engaging online training, the MRAA partnered with Lightspeed VT — Virtual Training — to enable dealers to train on their own time through the MRAA Interactive Virtual Training System.
“People are busy, people are selling boats again and that’s a great thing, but they still need to learn, strengthen their teams and make them better,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said. “They don’t always have time to go to a seminar downtown or an educational event being held by a supplier or association.”
“This is a way for you as a dealer to access high-level educational content, whether you’re at your desk, on your couch or in the service shop,” Gruhn told Trade Only Today. “It gives you access to it on your time through the device you choose.”
The platform is used by companies and groups such as Gold’s Gym, NBC, General Motors, the National Automobile Dealer Association and Crestliner Boats. It’s also used by Jeffrey Gitomer, a popular MDCE speaker and MRAA partner in content production for the site.
When users log in to the system, up pops MRAA education director Liz Walz and she begins speaking as if she were in the room.
She asks you a question and you click your answer and move forward. Managers can give assignments, monitor progress and check in with employee work.
“Until we started going down this path, we didn’t realize how interactive technology was or what interactivity even meant,” Walz said. “This online training really allows them to take it in pieces and bits through various chapters and modules. For example, Jeffrey Gitomer’s content tends to be 5 to 8 minutes in length. So you can take a little bite and that can be your training for the day. It allows for flexibility where training doesn’t have to be an event.”
And now that the MRAA has taken over the Marine Industry Dealer Certification program, the certification process has moved to the platform, as well.
“This gives all dealers access to some of the best trainers and experts out there and puts everyone on a level field,” Walz said.