It’s also a matter of taking well care of one’s clients and going those extra miles when they need you. It matters a lot just to be there, and not only for technical matters regarding the boat, but also giving them confidence and ensuring they have a good crew with communication between the owner, us and them in a way that give the clients the relaxing time and the sense of freedom they are expecting.
We’ve tried to build up a one-stop shop and buying a boat is often the simple part – even if there are many discussions, considerations and meetings. Many customers come to us with a picture in their head how they want to use a boat and if they have not owned one before, there is quite a lot of correction required to get them back on the right track – the boat might not have the reach or hull form they wish for or fit the type of activity they are thinking of. It‘s a matter of ensuring selling them a boat that fulfils their expectations and which has the characteristics required to enable a good boating experience for them.
Our service includes everything from purchase and ensuring the boat’s arrival, handover, any follow-up required connecting to warranties (which often extends beyond the time promised by each manufacturer in order to make sure the client is happy), to assisting with insurance, crew and on-going maintenance.
Many boat owners live here on and off for two to three months and then leave for another country and then want the boat to be maintained to stay in the same good shape and as when they arrived the last time. I try to place myself in that seat of how I would be happy when it comes to how Derani Yachts handle their customers.
The boatyards /brands/ have been in business a long time and understands very well that the more information they feed us with the easier we can sell their products. So they publish frequently and a lot of information – technical and differences compared to older models as selling tools, for instance. This requires that one has been doing this for some years and have the passion, absorbing all things going on. And it’s a matter also of knowing what our competitors are doing, ‘cause a client often visits two to three other brokers as well.
Without having good knowledge about the local conditions, your own products and also good understanding of the competitors products you are shooting yourself the in the foot by trying to sell boats.
I tell customers to visit the neighbours [brokers] and talk to those and see how it feels and decide which one they want to entrust their boat to. I encourage customers to get the big picture. And if they want referrals from our existing customers we are happy to give them that.
I often recommend having a captain during a period in the beginning. It’s one thing being good at manoeuvring a boat, but if not being used to tidal waters and anchoring in unfamiliar waters – where you have no local knowledge about islands, where there to find leeward to anchor and how one should stay over-night in a safe way; then it’s always good to have someone with that knowledge to learn from and rely on as responsible. This also enables you to anchor and disembark for excursions.
It varies immensely; it can be anything from when a boat is already built and one is willing to compromise on things like colours or engines – which can be shipped within a few weeks (from the U.S, China or Europe) – to the latest boat model from a show where delivery time can take between 12 to 14 months. And for new-builds, such as with the Chinese boatyard we are working with, it’s custom-built the whole way, which takes up to 1,5 years.
Derani Yachts has traded in some boats throughout the years, which have been well maintained and with the right price – enabling us to sell them on quickly – and, in different ways, assisted. Often a trade-in takes place as part of the payment and sometimes we commit to sell the boat within a deadline and for a certain price in relation to their new boat or buy it back. As long as the price is realistic and sums we can handle we try to close deals by taking in the boat but on a case-by-case basis.
The boatyard will not release any boat unless it’s fully paid. In many cases, customers buying boats costing 1 million U.S dollar or Pound and up, are often people with good bank relations themselves elsewhere where they can find a financing solution.
We have picked boats that we have sold ourselves previously, or boats owned by persons we know or boats we have kept an eye on for a while knowing that things are in order.
At the yearly boat show we usually have a mix of one to two year old boats but they are still current models and some owners want to use the opportunity to sell their boat during the show. And we get to show current products in the water and if prospective clients want to buy a new boat they can inspect and see for themselves and discuss on board with their families and friends, rather than just buying from a catalogue, which is otherwise the case.
Currently there is no such thing as leisure boat registration adapted to the development of the pleasure boat market. What you apply for a sailor captain certificate under Thai regulations you can only get up to I think 300 horsepower. Then one must wait for a year to apply again. There is a big need for regulations to be adapted. In conclusion a Thai crew is needed to get on the water.
Read also part I: Derani Yachts on Boating