Inside MarineMax, Part 4 — Building the Boating Lifestyle

Showing people how to have fun with their boats and fall in love with the boating lifestyle is MarineMax’s central tenet.


This article originally appeared on boats.com. Reprinted by permission.


How does a company like MarineMax engage customers for the long term? Our boats.com team stopped in at stores across the country to learn what taking the long view means in practice. In the final video of our series, we explore how the company addresses what is often the missing link for new boat owners—developing their engagement in and love for the boating lifestyle

“One of the things that Bill McGill, our CEO, has said forever is ‘Show them how to have fun,’” says Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer.

That’s why every store runs a series of events called Getaways, which can last from an afternoon to a week or more of cruising. The Pompano store has an epic one called the Lobster Bash, on Bimini, Bahamas, which recently had 75 boats attend.

Cruising in company, customers enjoy fun, safe chances to go farther and learn along the way, not only from MarineMax staff. Captain Chris Finck, of Pompano, FL, says, “One of the nice things is watching how the customers who have a little more experience under their boat like to help the newer customers.

Anthony Armao, Pompano’s boating gear center manager, adds: “Getaways are great because you’re out on the water with people who are learning at the same time. And you’re also with people who are experienced so one boater might help someone else and vice versa.”

Getaways that bring boaters together from across different regions are MarineMax stores’ signature events.
Getaways that bring boaters together from across different regions are MarineMax stores’ signature events.

Getaways are not MarineMax’s only events. Stores also offers customers continuous training with regularly scheduled events such as Women on Water, navigation, and electronics classes.

Every staff member is aware that MarineMax surveys their customers to regularly measure satisfaction levels and is determined to provide service levels that will prompt customers to recommend MarineMax to their friends.

Mike Nolan, Clearwater service manager, says, “Our No. 1 priority is to keep the customers happy. That means we need to help them learn what they have as well as service their product so it will last for years to come.”

Jay Carroll, Pompano service manager says: “We have a good team. Sometimes we have to work until 10 o’clock at night or I have to send guys over to the Bahamas, but we all get it done and make sure the customer stays happy.”

Reflecting on the larger picture, Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer, points out: “At MarineMax, you’re a buyer for just a second. Once you own that boat, you’re part of our family.”

How do you measure that? Maybe you just have to listen; here’s what a couple of examples sound like to us:

Diana De Carvalho, Getaways & events coordinator in Clearwater: “If you’re here after the second or third time we all know you by name, It’s just a very warm feeling when you walk through the door.

Darren Phillips, sales consultant in Pompano: “I take it as a partnership. I tell everybody I am here and I’ll walk beside you, in front of you, or behind you, but I’m always going to be there.

At boats.com, we knew boat sales and the chance to find a boat at MarineMax was something the company had under control. What we learned were the other key themes that the MarineMax team consider of the utmost importance, including keeping buying and ownership simple, making the experience all-inclusive, developing lasting personal relationships, and creating a lasting affection for the boating lifestyle.

Editor’s Note: This video is the concluding video in a series that began with It’s Not About Buying the Boatcontinued with Inside MarineMax, Part 2 – A Simpler Process is the Priority and then Inside MarineMax, Part 3 – An All-Inclusive ApproachPromotional consideration for this article was provided by MarineMax.

 

 

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Inside MarineMax, Part 3 — An All-Inclusive Approach

The boats.com team toured a variety MarineMax stores to speak with staff members in sales, business, service, training, and marketing to learn how the company has become the largest boat dealership. In this video, we examine how the company works to provide a comprehensive set of services to every customer.

“Understanding what is important for customers is something that’s ingrained in you from the day you start at MarineMax,” says Paul Cummings, regional vice president.

We learned that for customers, that often means a red-carpet experience as they receive the boat of their dreams, but it doesn’t stop there as delivery captains provide new owners with instruction at whatever level is appropriate.

“It’s very exciting for the customer,” says Collin Heimensen, general manager in Clearwater, FL. “You’ve got this brand new boat and you get to learn how to use it and take it home.”

A personalized orientation is important, because the experience level of the new owner is one thing and the size of the boat is another. Larger boats involve more complex systems and storage that can take a while to learn. Handling a large boat may take some practice, too.

As Captain David Ludwig, of Cumming, GA, explains, “I’m like their security blanket in a way. They feel comfortable. They’re calm because there’s someone with skill and knowledge helping them along the way.”

MarineMax Getaways events are hosted by each store and offer opportunities not only for fun but also to learn more from staff and other owners along for the trip.
MarineMax Getaways events are hosted by each store and offer opportunities not only for fun but also to learn more from staff and other owners along for the trip.

MarineMax stores also host navigation classes and electronics courses, and have women-only courses to create learning opportunities that provide a boost in confidence as well as competence.

Sales consultants typically stay in touch with owners, serving as a resource for all boating questions. John Powell, of Cumming, GA, says he touches based with his clients occasionally “just to make sure that they’re not having any problems with their boat or perhaps to remind them about upcoming service.”

One impressive stat we heard was in Pompano, FL, from Kyle Roney, general manager: “In Pompano alone, we have 68 team members—45 of them in service and parts to take care of the customers after the sale. You look at the organization as a whole and it mirrors that.”

As Chuck Cashman, chief revenue officer, says, “Our sole existence is to make sure that their time on their boat with their family lives up to their expectations.”

At boats.com, we knew that potential boat owners had a good opportunity to find a boat at MarineMax , but we were intrigued to learn how much emphasis the company puts on giving customers access to education and service at the company aimed at enhancing their experience of their boats.

Editor’s Note: This video is the third in a four-part series that began with It’s Not About Buying the Boat and A Simpler Process is the Priority. Promotional consideration for this article was provided by MarineMax. This article originally appeared on boats.com. Reprinted by permission.

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