Composite Research, Inc.

Composite Research, Inc.
Makers of Sundance, Sea Born, and Spyder Boats

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How to Choose a Good Boat Dealer – 5 Winning Traits

As a buyer, you’ve probably already started to associate the idea of purchasing a boat with the many benefits of ownership. Meaning, you envision yourself with more quality time enjoying family and friends. You’re imagining bright sunny days, bigger fish, you know, the full dream. The important part, the idea of your future experiences is the first true step towards ownership and the boating lifestyle.  All that aside, there’s an inherit problem, not all marine dealerships are created equally bringing forth an all important question, “What Makes a Good Boat Dealer?”

To answer that and in the spirit of research, we surveyed our buyers as well as those from other brands in an effort to learn the biggest hot buttons and turn offs. The end result, we chalked up habits of the best boat dealers below to not only help you find the best boat for your needs, but also a great buying experience.


1) Great Online Reputation & No Excuses

Number one with a bullet, online reputation. It seems social chatter is at the top of primary considerations. From reviews on Google to other opinion sites, buyers claimed that the experiences and endorsements of others were “extremely influential” when choosing which boat dealer would get their business. Likewise, eight out of ten surveyed said that they, “almost always” check the online reviews of a business before making larger purchases.

Understanding that it is impossible to please everyone all the time, Sea Born owner J. Turner offered up this, “When we asked about a few of the negative reviews, the dealer owned up to the shortcomings, explained the issues, and made no excuses. I appreciated the honesty which earned my business.”

2) Clean, Smile, & Always Be Attentive
Regardless if someone is selling boats, ice cream, or rocket ships, NOBODY likes to be mistreated. Buyers said that if their first impression of a dealer is a grouchy-groucherson they would probably move along. Also during our review, buyers gave considerable marks to dealers who greeted guests promptly, attentively, and with a smile. “The thing we loved the most was the friendliness” said Eric J. a Sea Born owner from Clearwater.

Other decision factors were cleanliness (including the bathroom) and the overall appearance of the dealership. One other notable included the tidy and professional appears of dealership personnel as having a “significant impact” on the sale. “You typically don’t buy a car from a mechanic. You buy a car from a sales rep in showroom or car lot. When shopping we walked away from plenty of boat dealers that looked more like repair shops.” continued Eric J.

3) Don’t Be a Jerk
Grouchy is one thing but being condescending is just plain rude. First time bay boat buyer “Mike” said that just because he wasn’t exactly a boat expert, he didn’t feel that was an open invitation to be treated like they’re a lower life form. To the contrary, buyers shopping for their first boat said dealers who took the time to educate with patience and ensuring the buyer was getting the best bay boat for their needs often won their respect and business.

4) Offered References
CRI’s buyers claimed that dealers who freely offered up references without hesitation were perceived as, “more credible and honest” than those who did not. “I asked if I could talk to a few customers and without a moment of hesitation the dealer was handing over names and numbers. It really made me comfortable and gave me the feeling they had nothing to hide”, said James L. from North Carolina.

5) No Pressure
“If the sales rep is high pressure, I assume they have to be that way due to an overall lack of interest. I also assume they are scrambling to pounce and close everyone who enters and will do anything for a sale. All of that it makes me wonder what it is that everyone else knows that I don’t. I exit as soon as possible.” continued Eric J. of Knoxville. Other buyer statements suggest that dealers who operate in a high pressure environments “lack obvious confidence” in their product lines and are often suspect with regards to service after the sale.

In closing, we’ll keep it simple, boat buying is supposed to be a fun and memorable experience; remember that.

Your Feedback is Critical
Regardless if you are buying your tenth boat or your first we welcome the opportunity to hear about your phenomenal or even lack luster experiences with our dealers. Feel free to send us an email at boats@criboats.com or call 1-912-449-0033.

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