By Adam Quandt
Opening a boat dealership in the fall of 2008 might not have been the greatest starting point for a young entrepreneur, but Regal & Nautique of Orlando’s (RNO) Jeff Husby rolled with every punch thrown at him and his growing team to create a powerhouse marine dealership in a saturated Florida market.
“As a little kid, I was always fascinated with boats and being on the water, so I developed a passion early on and that passion definitely helped drive me through some of the toughest times,” Husby said. “If you have passion and drive for something, then you’ll certainly enjoy what you do.”
According to Husby, success in the recreational boating industry starts with passion and drive, but continues with a lot of time and dedication, paired with goal setting and a desire to create the perfect team.
Nothing but the best
Coming off of a No. 2 ranking in the 2021 lineup of Top Dealers and Best in Class recognition for its service department in 2020, 2021 continued a relentless pursuit of excellence for the team at Regal & Nautique of Orlando, with a focus to accept nothing but the best from all aspects of its business.
“I don’t like to sit idle on things,” Husby said. “Becoming complacent is when the industry becomes stagnant. I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Just keep driving forward. Moving up from the No. 14 spot in the rankings to No. 4, then to No. 3 in 2019 and No. 2 in 2020 is a validation of our team’s dedicated commitment to excellence, requiring ongoing focus, hard work and successful achievement of multiple continued improvements throughout all areas of our business.”
As the Regal & Nautique of Orlando team navigated through the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and throughout 2021, the business continuously operated efficiently and at an aggressive growth pace.
From a completely reimagined sales strategy implemented in 2021, to the addition of a new boat line and segment all together, paired with continued facilities improvements and expansion, no stone was left unturned for Regal & Nautique of Orlando’s year.
Changes and challenges across the recreational marine industry, brought a major paradigm shift to how the team at RNO sells boats.
In response to production slowdowns and supply chain constraints impacting new boat inventory, RNO quickly and strategically determined to focus on pre-sold inventory, resulting in completely pre-selling the dealership’s 2020/2021 allotment of new boats, as well as maximizing profitability on each boat sold.
As a further effort to boost inventory for hungry customers, RNO launched a new “Buy your Boat” campaign in March 2021 to acquire premium pre-owned inventory. In its efforts, RNO developed and launched its “Buy your Boat” campaign to a highly targeted audience through several integrated marketing channels. During a moment of slowing throughout the entire industry due to inventory constraints, through this campaign, RNO was generating consistent and leading business.
Reaching new markets
From a refine and rebrand for its grassroots “Thigh High Surf + Wake Series” to a continued investment in ongoing SEO and a variety of other marketing efforts and improvements, it’s clear marketing is something never left to the wayside, regardless of unprecedented business levels.
However, one of RNO’s marketing efforts particularly stands out from the rest of the pack; a specially designed marketing campaign to markets not typically reached by the recreational marine industry.
With the hire of business development manager Rufino Cruz in 2017 came his passion to focus sales and marketing efforts to reach, welcome and nurture the fast-growing Hispanic community in and around Central Florida.
During early efforts in 2017, the RNO team sold 26 units to the Hispanic community. Fast-forward to 2021 and through its targeted marketing efforts and welcoming nature, RNO has accounted for over $3.5 million in sales to Hispanic buyers.
“Rufino’s initial outreach efforts over the past few years have not only positively impacted RNO’s bottom line in a major way but allowed RNO to establish itself as a bona fide leader in new market and diversity outreach among the significant affluent Hispanic community and population throughout Central Florida,” Husby said. “We are very excited to develop, refine and continue to expand a Hispanic marketing growth strategy for 2022 including participation in key Hispanic sponsored events, joining and actively engaging in Hispanic business chambers and hosting exclusive events for the Hispanic business community.”
A team that grows and trains together, wins together
“RNO has enjoyed a very strong team culture over many years, but the 2020-2021 Covid period allowed RNO to build an even stronger internal spirit built on trust, superior communication and teamwork,” Husby said.
And with a continuous commitment to building and training the ultimate team, Regal & Nautique of Orlando knows the importance of investing in its team and backs it up with an impressive list of training efforts, both internal and external.
“RNO has a long-term commitment to training and regularly invests in its team, in every department,” Husby said. “It’s endlessly important to be very in touch with your employees. They are the ones closest to your customer. I like to listen to what they have to say in how we can make things better.”
While the team at RNO regularly approaches training efforts across its entire organization, 2021 brought an emphasized focus on the management level at the dealership.
“Team RNO’s management team has truly revolutionized and re-energized our business, shifting it from a sole owner-directed mindset to a more robust, shared dealership objective.” Husby said. “Our focus to empower our managers and our staff has paid divid-ends in the success and continued growth of our organization.”
Aside from providing near-endless training opportunities to bring its team to the next level, RNO consistently makes the right investments in expanding its team and its capabilities.
“RNO has been focused on strategic staffing initiatives to build the strength of our team and to foster the continued growth of our organization,” Husby said. “Over the past few years, we have hired a few significant key members to our team and the results are paying off.”
For example, RNO brought aboard Pro Wakeboarder – and 2022 40 Under 40 honoree – Danny Harf to the RNO sales/marketing department, along with master technician Shawn Shiever – who achieved a 115% efficiency rating in 2021 – to the service team, Jason Englett who was promoted internally to service production supervisor and Johana Calvert who filled a new position as a dedicated dockside service scheduler/coordinator (in 2021 alone, Calvert’s efforts helped contribute another $65,370 in revenue to dockside revenues).
“RNO continues to invest in building and training its team, which reaps benefits not only of improved CSI, but also in bottom-line, net profit,” Husby said. “When you consider the size of the organization and our efficiency
in both sales and service, it is very clear that
the team is the heartbeat of RNO’s award-winning DNA.”
A “can’t stop, won’t stop” mentality
At the top of all of its 2021 efforts, Regal & Nautique never misses a moment to improve its customer experience, consistently aiming for the best experience for all, no matter the cost, leading customers to choose Regal & Nautique of Orlando time and time again and setting up the organization for unprecedented success well into the future.
With a goal list for the future – both short- and long-term – just as long, if not longer than its accomplishment list for 2021, Regal & Nautique of Orlando will surely not be a business to rest on any laurels as it barrels into the beyond.
From an all-new second sales facility fully dedicated to its Nautique brand, to continued investment in its personnel and ever-strong leadership from Husby and his rockstar management team, it seems as though nothing can slow down the 2022 Dealer of the Year, Regal & Nautique of Orlando.
“Our motto is to communicate clearly and do it right the first time in everything we do and it’s all in an effort to be the No. 1 trusted hometown dealer,” Husby said. “And we will never slow down in our efforts to not only attain that notion, but maintain it nonstop.”