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Why should I spend 3 days at a conference?

Remember the advice, “There’s always room for improvement”? Well, it may not inspire after hearing it for the thousandth time, but it nevertheless holds true for the marine industry. Whether positive economic trends continue or we enter a downturn, there are ways all of us can continue to make our businesses stronger.

And industry-wide, we need to keep improving as well. If you haven't read the research from Grow Boating about first-time boat buyers and boating attrition, these facts might come as a bit of a shock ...

  • First-time boat buyers have dropped 37% during the last 15 years.

  • In 2013, the number of first-time boat buyers was 380,000. By 2018, 39% of those sold their boat and didn't replace it.

  • 66% of lapsed shoppers said they didn't have a helpful experience at the dealership.

Here are some more facts that may surprise you. The MRAA recently mystery shopped a number of dealers by submitting leads via their websites and waiting for a response. The data was pretty alarming.

  • 163 dealers were contacted;

  • Of those 163 dealers, 30 responded within an hour;

  • And 55 dealers (33.7%) never. even. responded.

So, there's no denying we can do better as an industry. And it starts with tools, resources, education and collaboration on all fronts. The mission of our Association is to help in that process. And Dealer Week is one of the ways we do this. We have seen many success stories over the years from dealerships that have invested in self-improvement. And to be honest, a lot of the time it’s the ones that are already pretty darn good that are working to get even better.

You might be thinking, “Okay, so I need to learn and grow, but I do it from the comfort of my dealership.” Well, that may be true, but our next blog will emphasize the importance of face-to-face learning … aka, Dealer Week.

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