One of my colleagues recently asked a broker what he felt the most effective route to ownership was, and his ‘tongue in cheek’ response was that it’s to be an owner already. As contradictory as that sounds, he was absolutely right, for many superyacht owners start their ownership careers with 40- to 50-foot yachts and progress through the size ranges as their wealth increases, their tastes change and their horizons broaden.
The '98 per cent of UHNWIs do not own a boat, how can we engage them in yachting?’ discussion is necessary, if very well-trodden, for attracting new blood into yachting. But, lest we forget that our efforts should always be in favour of our existing body of superyacht owners, and owners in the sub-30m feeder markets, because these are the folks who form the cornerstone of our industry’s hopefully bright future.
It might sound ridiculous, but one area of confusion that has been brought to my attention in the past is the seemingly simple process of remembering who the client is. Sometimes buyers’ representatives get so wrapped up in trying to get a deal over the line on a brokerage yacht or charter that they forget their commission is at the expense of the owner.
So, when a broker puts in a lowball offer on a buyer's behalf, they are doing a disservice to the person paying their commission, because we should be doing everything we can to achieve the best sales price for the owner and representing their best interests. Sometimes you wonder if there is any point setting an asking price at all if it's completely ignored.
Brokers should be doing everything in their power to talk buyers up to the asking price set by the owner. As the biggest pool of future yacht buyers, we want a good deal for sellers, so we must underline the value of their product to those courting it. If they get a satisfactory return on their investment, they are more likely to reinvest in the market, and (hopefully) relay positive stories to their influential and wealthy acquaintances.
You don’t want to sell an overpriced clunker and then have to explain to the buyer that it’s not worth half what he paid for it when he wants to sell it a few months later. But, I do think our duty is to focus more on selling the owner’s boat, not the buyer’s boat.
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