‘All men were created equal’. This statement may be biblically accurate; however, all people were certainly not created the same. As such, whether you are selling a car, a charter or a superyacht, treating everyone the same is unlikely to yield optimal results. In an industry where incredibly complex vessels and systems are created with limited amounts of personal information on the clientele, profiling systems and educated assumptions can go some way towards creating a premium, bespoke end product.
“At Van Berge Henegouwen (VBH), we sometimes use the DISC profiling system to adapt our approach to clients and optimise the systems we create for them,” says Casper Kleiman, marketing manager at VBH, the Dutch technology integrator. “When possible, using this system allows us to understand how best to interact with the client. More commonly, applying this system to basic information about a client allows us to make educated suggestions for the system we are integrating.”
The DISC profiling system is a tool used for discussion of people’s behavioural differences. It separates individuals into four categories; dominance (D), influential (I), steady (S) and conscientious (C), thus allowing salespeople, managers and individuals to understand how best they, or their clients, interact with their environment.
Typically, individuals that fall into the dominance category are direct, strong willed, self-confident, quick to take action and strive to be unique and in control. Influence is characterised by enthusiasm, trust, optimism and the enjoyment of collaboration and popularity. Steady individuals are described as calm, patient, predictable and seeking group acceptance. Conscientious individuals are highly analytical, independent, cautious and likely to favour unique accomplishments.
“Now, this is not an exact science and, invariably, things change and people never cease to surprise. However, that does not detract from it being a useful tool among many,” continues Kleiman. “Stereotypically, superyacht owners, especially if they are the creators of their owner business/empire, fall into the D and C categories.”
Kleiman explains that when dealing with individuals that fall into the D category, think Darth Vader from Star Wars, it is best to present them with options and allow them to make snap decisions. Alternatively, when dealing with C type individuals, think Star Trek’s Mr Spock, it is best to provide relevant materials and information and allow the owner to make decisions based on their own hypotheses.
“I remember one client where I was reasonably sure of what type of person they were. We knew the age, what they could afford, nationality and we roughly knew how they had made their money,” Kleiman says. “I was expecting a D or C type individual, but the more we found out the more I became convinced that my original assumption was wrong and that they were actually an S. We re-profiled when we discovered what types of trips they went on and what company they kept.”
The individual in question chose locations that were seldom travelled and they choose to do so with the same small group of people. “Because we knew he was travelling with small groups of people and that they liked music, but preferred socialising to partying, we are able to create a series of lounging pre-sets on their installation, based on an assumption for the S type profile. The captain was shocked and congratulated us on hitting the nail on the head,” explains Kleiman.
Kleiman points out that this tool is just one of many that VBH uses to determine what is most suitable for a client. But, in a market where so much potentially invaluable information goes unsaid, the ability to make educated decisions based on assumptions is vital for making the superyacht ownership process enjoyable and timely. The superyacht market’s ability to provide seven-star service should not be limited to the on board experience, luxury is getting what you want before you know you want it.