• MRAA

Dealer Week Session Recommendations for Leadership, Sales, Service and Marketing

If you’ve looked at the Dealer Week education lineup, you’re probably noticed that we organized things a bit differently than at past MRAA conferences. This year’s sessions are grouped into three main pathways, The Dealership, The Customer, and The Employee, which we believe represent the three pillars of any successful marine business.


You’re free to experience Dealer Week in any way you’d like. However, if you’re having a tough time deciding where to send your team, the following pages include recommended schedules based on their roles.


Download our recommended sessions document here or keep scrolling to read them here!


Leadership

Session 1: Create a Culture that Delivers

Tony Gonzalez, Garage Composites

There’s nothing more important to your dealership than culture, but the people who preach about its importance often don’t provide much in the way of actionable advice for leaders. In this session, Tony will guide attendees through an evaluation of how well their culture is performing today and diagram exactly how culture is built within an organization. Culture sets the tone for your business, and kicking off with this session will help set the tone for your Dealer Week experience.


Session 2: Dealer Case Study: Succession Planning

David Spader, Spader Business Management, & Carrie Stacey, Carrie Stacey & Co.

This session provides a double-whammy of advice from two experts on succession planning. David Spader will interview Carrie Stacey, who has owned two powersports dealerships and has worked within both marine and RV dealerships as well, about topics including succession planning, the recent sale of her dealership, business valuations, and more.


Session 3: Intrapreneurship: Developing Early Adopters & Harnessing Innovation in Your Company

Samantha Cunningham Zawilinski, Portratz Partners Marketing

There have always been go-getters in companies who try to move the needle forward and push the status quo to become champions of your brand. Intrapreneurship is creating and harnessing this culture to better service our clients and retain our team. This session will help leaders learn how to take advantage of the creativity and enthusiasm that they might not even realize exists in their workforce. Samantha has previously been invited to present her insights at automotive conferences, but this will be the first time she has shared her strategies with the marine industry.


Session 4: Ease the Pain of Seasonality Through Better Processes

David Foco, A World of Training

The sessions at Dealer Week were all developed to address the biggest pain points that dealers have shared with us, and for most dealers, seasonality is toward the top of the list. This advanced course will take a deep dive into appointments, write-ups, customer follow-up, and active delivery processes that can deliver a better customer experience while boosting off-season revenue.


Session 5: The Managing Me Workshop

Art Hill, University of Minnesota

Speaking of pain points, perhaps the most common thing dealers told us caused them stress was a lack of time. This session addresses that head on by sharing the latest research on personal productivity and offering foundational strategies to succeed in a fast-paced world. Professor Art Hill specializes in supply chain and operations management, and he applies the same principles that drive efficiency in major manufacturing operations to improve personal productivity. He has consulted for 3M, Best Buy, Boston Scientific, Cargill, Delta Airlines, Donaldson, Dow Chemical, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Target, US Bank and others, but this will be his first time speaking to the marine industry.


Session 6: The Agile Dealership: Confidently Responding to Change & the Unknown

(Workshop)

David Spader, Spader Business Management

No one knows exactly when the next recession will hit, but we do know that if we’re not prepared for change, we’re in big trouble when it comes. This session will help dealers identify, monitor and respond to the key issues they face now and in the future. It will cover characteristics of the agile leader, concerns employees have during change, and indicators you can use to ensure your business is on track.


Sales

Session 1: Go For No

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz, Courage Crafters

Sales experts Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz believe that the relationship you have with the word “no” — what you think and feel when you hear it and what you do afterward as a result — is the single most important factor in determining the level of success you achieve. Learn how a simple change in attitude and new way of setting goals can transform you and your team from being slowed down by failure and rejection into actually being energized by it.


Session 2: Segmenting Customer Data

Sam Dantzler, Wheelhouse College, and Kevin Zoodsma, Action Water Sports

If your dealership has started tracking data that's a good first step, but are you actually using the data you have about prospects and customers to drive your sales outreach and improve the customer experience? Sam Dantzler will interview Kevin Zoodsma of Action Water Sports about how they slice and dice their prospect data to make more sales.


Session 3: F&I: Does That Stand for Fairies and Imps? … No, The Money is Real

DJ Stringer, Garage Composites

Just like fairies and imps, some people believe in F&I and others don’t. Learn how to seamlessly hand off a customer to the F&I department and understand how the techniques and measurables behind a winning F&I department can translate into a better sales process throughout the dealership.


Session 4: Developing Your Personal Brand

Allison Chaney, Boot Camp Digital

The first interaction most prospects have with the dealership is online. This interactive and inspiring presentation will empower and motivate sales professionals to create a powerful, positive and purposeful image of themselves online. At the end of this session participants will understand how their personal brand contributes to boosting their credibility, growing their reach and ultimately increasing sales at the dealership.

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Session 4: Texting Customers: Do’s, Don’ts, and How to Make It a Win-Win

Bob McCann, MRAA, and Graham Anderson, Kenect

We’re certain most of you have discovered the benefits of texting with your customers. This course will help you do it right and discover ways to improve the customer experience with texting. Bob McCann, MRAA’s lead certification consultant, will take a deep dive into the best way to use text messages to communicate with customers (and potential customers). This session will explore the legal and privacy considerations of texting, sample scripts, how to create a texting policy, the best practices for outreach, team training and what the future of texting looks like. Joining Bob will be Graham Anderson, cofounder of business texting platform Kenect, to share lessons learned from working with customers across the U.S. and Canada.


Session 5: Let’s Play Detective and Solve a Mystery: The Customer

DJ Stringer, Garage Composites

Whether you’re selling boats, parts, accessories, service, storage, finance or insurance, you have several mysteries that you need to solve. You have to figure out the customer, discover the motive, find the equipment, and analyze and present the evidence. In this session, we will explore the psychology of the customer as it relates to the greet and discovery, and how to use the information you have to get all the clues you need to solve the mystery of how to sell more. In addition, we will construct a useable greet and interview process that will allow you to go back to the dealership and use what you pick up in this session immediately.


Session 6: Supercharge Your Customer Experience (Workshop)

Theresa Syer, Syer Hospitality Group Inc.

When a customer walks into your dealership, deep down, you’re wondering how far along they are in the process, what they’re thinking, and how they’re feeling. While you’re not going to walk up to that customer and ask, “How are you feeling today,” you can, in fact, drive how they feel during the course of their experience with you. Theresa Syer will share 7 Key Emotional Motivators that can shift the tide emotionally for customers. She’ll also show you how to develop your own Key Emotional Drivers that will affect those Emotional Motivators and keep customers coming to you, working with you and ultimately buying from you.


Service

Session 1: Go For No

Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz, Courage Crafters

Being proactive with maintenance is good for customers and good for your service department, but is your team being proactive about going out and asking for their business … or are they holding back because they don’t like to hear the word “no”? Sales experts Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz believe that the relationship you have with the word "no" — what you think and feel when you hear it and what you do afterward as a result — is the single most important factor in determining the level of success you achieve. Learn how a simple change in attitude and perspective can transform you and your team from being slowed down by failure and rejection into actually being energized by it.


Session 2: Combating a Local Tech Shortage

Jim Million, Million Learning, and Eric Smith, Colorado Boat Center

One of the most common issues we hear about from service departments today is a lack of qualified techs. The team at Colorado Boat Center has been creative over the years in its approach to hiring in the service department. For example, they fly candidates out to Colorado, then have them work in the shop as part of a weeklong interview process. Jim Million will talk to Eric Smith to give you the details on this and other innovative approaches to keeping your service department fully staffed.


Session 3: Reducing Repair Cycle Time

Valerie Ziebron, VRZ Consulting, and Carrie Stacey, Carrie Stacey & Co.

The faster your shop can get boats serviced properly the happier your customers and the more efficient (and profitable) your shop. This session will look at what shops of all sizes can do to fast track service and close out a larger percentage of work orders quickly. We will uncover the top areas where work gets stalled and share best practices on how to pick up the pace in your shop. Learn from service department expert and noted trainer Valerie Ziebron, alongside CPA Carrie Stacey who has worked in the "trenches" as a dealer, GM, CFO and dealership consultant.


Session 4: Ease the Pain of Seasonality Through Better Processes

David Foco, A World of Training

If you’re a marine dealer, the seasonality of the business is a brutal reality, but the service department can be one of the keys to staying busy during the offseason. This advanced course will provide ideas on how to improve your service and marketing processes. By refining the way your business approaches appointments, write-ups, customer follow-up and active delivery, you can provide a better boat ownership experience to the customer while boosting off-season revenue. When you combine this with a service and storage marketing strategy that takes into account today’s trends and technologies, you can achieve major improvements that can significantly reduce the challenges of seasonality.


Session 5: Let’s Play Detective and Solve a Mystery: The Customer

DJ Stringer, Garage Composites

Whether you’re selling boats, parts, accessories, service, storage, finance or insurance, you have several mysteries that you need to solve. You have to figure out the customer, discover the motive, find the equipment, and analyze and present the evidence. In this session, we will explore the psychology of the customer as it relates to the greet and discovery, and how to use the information you have to get all the clues you need to solve the mystery of how to sell more. In addition, we will construct a useable greet and interview process that will allow you to go back to the dealership and use what you pick up in this session immediately.


Session 6: Telling Ain’t Training (Workshop)

Jim Million, Million Learning

One of the most important ways you can make up for a lack of skilled technicians is through apprenticeship programs. This "training for non-trainers" session will cover what every manager should know about training. It will teach managers how to take the information they've learned during Dealer Week and share it with their teams in a way that will engage them and help them remember it. It will cover: What training is, why most training fails and what makes training successful, basic adult learning principles, and more.


Marketing

Session 1: Stop Letting Data Get Between You and the Customer

Sam Dantzler, Wheelhouse College

Past generations suffered from having too little. Today, we struggle with having too much, at least when it comes to information. Most consumers, and, let's face it, dealers, are getting bogged down by the noise created by all the data, advice and insight available today. Don't let information overload cause you to miss out on the opportunities right in front of you. In this session, Education Host Sam Dantzler will cut through the clutter dealers face every day and focus on overlooked strategies you can use with customers and your team to improve the buying and ownership experience.


Session 2: Segmenting Customer Data

Kevin Zoodsma, Action Water Sports, and Sam Dantzler

If your dealership has started tracking data that's a good first step, but are you actually using the data you have about prospects and customers to drive decisions about marketing? Sam Dantzler will interview Kevin Zoodsma of Action Water Sports about marketing topics including how they slice and dice their prospect data.


Session 3: Intrapreneurship: Developing Early Adopters & Harnessing Innovation in Your Company

Samantha Cunningham Zawilinski, Portratz Partners Advertising

There have always been go-getters in companies who try to move the needle forward and push the status quo to become champions of your brand. Intrapreneurship is creating and harnessing this culture to better service our clients and retain our team. This session will help you learn how to take advantage of the creativity and enthusiasm within your workforce. Samantha has previously been invited to present her insights at automotive conferences, but this will be the first time she has shared her strategies with the marine industry.


Session 4: Texting Customers: Do’s, Don’ts, and How to Make It a Win-Win

Bob McCann, MRAA, and Graham Anderson, Kenect

We’re certain most of you have discovered the benefits of texting with your customers. This course will help you do it right and discover ways to improve the customer experience with texting. Bob McCann, MRAA’s lead certification consultant, will take a deep dive into the best way to use text messages to communicate with customers (and potential customers). This session will explore the legal and privacy considerations of texting, sample scripts, how to create a texting policy, the best practices for outreach, team training and what the future of texting looks like. Joining Bob will be Graham Anderson, cofounder of business texting platform Kenect, to share lessons learned from working with customers across the U.S. and Canada.


Session 5: How to Hold Your Digital Accountable

Rich DeLancey, Dealership Toolkit

Despite what you may have heard, the goal of digital marketing is simple: To acquire leads for sales, service, parts … any and all revenue centers in your dealership. Developing a gorgeous website, producing stunning videos and posting social media content that gets shared across the Internet is great, if it generates enough leads to be worth your time and money. During this session, you’ll not only learn what data to collect, how to collect it and how to analyze it to determine how your digital marketing is performing, but you’ll also gain new strategies for using digital to take the pace of your lead acquisition up a notch, regardless of your budget.


Session 6: Supercharge Your Customer Experience

Theresa Syer, Syer Hospitality Group Inc.

When a customer walks into your dealership, deep down, you’re wondering how far along they are in the process, what they’re thinking, and how they’re feeling. While you’re not going to walk up to that customer and ask, “How are you feeling today,” you can, in fact, drive how they feel during the course of their experience with you. Theresa Syer will share 7 Key Emotional Motivators that can shift the tide emotionally for customers. She’ll also show you how to develop your own Key Emotional Drivers that will affect those Emotional Motivators and keep customers coming to you, working with you and ultimately buying from you.


Download the printable PDF and share with your team members!

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