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Old 06-02-2014, 11:01 AM   #41
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Ads create interest, but they don't sell boats.

A couple of weeks ago I was interested in an RV. There was an ad that interested me, and I drove 50 miles to the dealer to check it out. When I went into the show room I told them the unit that interested me. They said it was out back (with about 100 others). I found it, and had some questions. No one came around, so I went back into the show room where I was ignored. I'm sure they didn't miss me when I drove the 50 miles back home.

They probably figured that I couldn't afford it.
Don, I'm sure brokers have a very hard time deciding who to put their sales time into. If business is busy, sometimes I bet a real potential customer gets overlooked occasionally. Thats not an excuse for the brokers, but it is probably a reality.

I bet its very frustrating for brokers as when selling things I've found that there are allot of people that go shopping never really intending on buying anything.

Case in point...

Several years ago I had my plane up for sale. A guy came and looked at it. Then he came back with a mechanic and they really tore into the plane. Then I never heard from him and sold the plane to someone else.

Well, a couple years later I saw the same guy in the grocery store. I asked him, about his new plane. What did he buy, did he like it, etc???

He told me he never bought a plane. He said he just never found the "right" one. This is Alaska. There are hundreds of planes of all shapes and sizes for sale up here at any given time. Plenty of choices.

That guy was a "recreational shopper" in my opinion. He satisfied the "airplane need" in him by shopping for planes.

I bet there are more "recreational shoppers" out there than we can imagine. Its probably very frustrating for brokers of all kinds of large things, like RV's, boats, planes, etc...
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:35 AM   #42
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Hey Kevin, while we are telling sales war stories I have a couple for you. One Sunday morning my phone rang. What sounded like a couple of teenagers wanted to see one of our expensive homes in an upscale neighborhood a 40 minute drive for me. Well, I drove over, and standing beside a Pontiac Firebird with Idaho plates were a couple of young folks about 20 or not much older. I thought Oh Boy. I took them through the house, and they said they liked it. Then the young lady said, "I have to make a phone call", and stepped outside. When she came back in she said, "Daddy said it was OK. Can we write it up really quickly as we have to catch a plane". Kaching! Cash deal.

On the other hand I had a doctor call me early Easter morning. He just had to see a house as he had a flight to catch. He liked it, and said write it up. He gave me an escrow check, and left to fly back to New York. I deposited the check into the escrow account. He had stopped payment on it, and I never heard from him again.

You can't tell the buyers by appearance. That is even more true today.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:52 AM   #43
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Hey Kevin, while we are telling sales war stories I have a couple for you. One Sunday morning my phone rang. What sounded like a couple of teenagers wanted to see one of our expensive homes in an upscale neighborhood a 40 minute drive for me. Well, I drove over, and standing beside a Pontiac Firebird with Idaho plates were a couple of young folks about 20 or not much older. I thought Oh Boy. I took them through the house, and they said they liked it. Then the young lady said, "I have to make a phone call", and stepped outside. When she came back in she said, "Daddy said it was OK. Can we write it up really quickly as we have to catch a plane". Kaching! Cash deal.

On the other hand I had a doctor call me early Easter morning. He just had to see a house as he had a flight to catch. He liked it, and said write it up. He gave me an escrow check, and left to fly back to New York. I deposited the check into the escrow account. He had stopped payment on it, and I never heard from him again.

You can't tell the buyers by appearance. That is even more true today.
Those kind of stories would dictate that brokers of all kinds of equipment take everybody seriously, and let the chips fall where they may.

We have a simple rule in our business. Everybody gets a quote. The more obscure the part is they are looking for the more likely they are to actually buy it.
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:04 PM   #44
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Those kind of stories would dictate that brokers of all kinds of equipment take everybody seriously, and let the chips fall where they may.

We have a simple rule in our business. Everybody gets a quote. The more obscure the part is they are looking for the more likely they are to actually buy it.
Years ago I was in the market to buy a tractor. I was visiting dealers of different brands to check out their product, prices and shop cleanliness. One sales guy, who was mighty proud of his service in the USAF, refused to give me a price on a tractor! REALLY? I kept asking for a price on a particular model on the lot and he simply would not give me a price. I mention his service because his retired rank was such that he was no idiot, yet he would not give me a price.

The only thing I could figure is that the dealer was more interested in selling heavier equipment and did not want to bother with the "smaller" stuff. To put this in perspective, the equipment I bought was the most expensive thing I have ever bought beside real estate. The tractor and equipment cost far more than my diesel pickup truck so we are not talking chump change.

Another dealer go the sale and I have bought from them for many years.

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Old 06-02-2014, 12:14 PM   #45
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Don-too many sales people make the "appearance" mistake. Here in Seattle (and in the Bay Area) a sales person cannot afford to make that mistake. The guy that rolls up to your business on a skateboard, wearing torn jeans and a T-shirt that says "Life Sucks/Coders Don't" may have been employee #3 at Amazon and worth $50M. That actually happened to an acquaintance who sells Mercedes. Guy rode his board up, John said Hi, guy looked at a G-500 AMG, $105,000, and said "Who do I make the check out to?"
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:41 PM   #46
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In December of 1999, we looked at two 1986 Nova Sundecks in the same marina. One was pristine, priced at $124,000 the other a fixer-upper priced at$89,000. Since I do all my own boat work, we bought the fixer-upper for $86,000. Fourteen years later I still think it was the better by as I got to put in all new stuff, reefer, stove, gen set, etc. and we kept our sales tax and subsequent property taxes down.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:56 PM   #47
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Lots of interesting points in this thread. I want to make the point, though, that it is a double standard: as a buyer, I very much make judgement calls based on the ads all the time.

I know there are a few brokers that are on this forum, and I assume they are watching this thread. Hopefully I can give some unsolicited advice from this buyer, currently on my 4th "real" boat, and may be buying as much as another half dozen before our boating is complete.

There are a few common trends in boat listings that immediately turn me off to the boat, such as:
  • Not putting an asking price on the boat. Hey, I've put a limit of my search term at $200k. I know that your $1.2m boat is better, but c'mon, I'm simply not in the market. And $$CALL$$ is a guaranteed pass on the boat.
  • Not putting a layout of a non-standard boat. If it's a Bayliner 3288, you can get away with not including it (though I'd still appreciate it), because I can find the layout on google or my local dock. But if it's a 37' 2014 Maple Trawler 3795, telling me it sleeps 8 is truly meaningless.
  • Mis-categorizing the boat. No offense to those that have masts on their trawlers, but if I'm searching for a trawler, a J-39 sailboat should not show up in the listings simply because it has a single diesel and cruises at 7kts. Out of date pictures falls in this category too.
  • Links to pay-to-browse sites to get the "real" listing. Sorry, I'm not going to pay $.01 to look at boats, so if you don't have the common courtesy to put the relevant information directly on yachtworld, I don't have the courtesy to be interested.
  • The biggest point -- not putting any pictures up or putting up 200 pictures. Yes, I really do need to see a current picture or two of each engine. But I don't need 20. And I don't need a picture of the inside of every storage compartment. Unless it's a very new listing and/or brand new boat still in production or outfitting, take your own pictures, not scans of the brochure. It's really not that hard. And to follow up on the layout point -- if there are three cabins, take a picture of every cabin, not just the master suite.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:52 PM   #48
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So Mattkab's number one turn off is not having a price on the boat. Is that in magazines or everywhere? Not many brokers advertise in the magazines anymore but my office does every month. The lead time from creating the ad to when it hits the shelf or comes in the mail may be 45 to 65 days and if the boat has not sold I am asking for a price reduction from the owner. I hate to see a magazine ad for a boat at $799,000 and now I am asking $699,000.
What is the opinion of other TF readers about prices in magazine ads, I would really like to hear.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:53 PM   #49
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Pet peeve of mine... Ií like to add to Mattís inclusive post # 47:

Don't lie to me over the phone or in email about things/conditions on a boat.

I've had the unpleasant experience of visiting boats will full intent to make an offer and found there had been complete lies told to me about various conditions/circumstances of boat portions.

I like to free dive; at this age I don't go as deep as when younger... but, doing an in water under boat survey for preliminary inspection with flood light, knife, scraper, and bronze brush is simply a joy for me. This inspection lets me know right away if anodes, bottom surface, underwater equipment, paint... etc... have been tended to.

I'm reasonably well versed in engines and can tell a lot via checking all fluids and then a cold start until warm with engine compartment open.

Iím very well versed in boat-wood areas. As well, if I look at a boat for purchase I have full set of test equipment to determine several instances from the onset. Regarding wood, I know immediately if the stringers have water in them and to what level/concentration it is, if there is moisture inside walls, or moist window encasements... etc.

This preliminary check I perform lets me know if I want to make an offer, establish a contingency contract with down payment, and then proceed and have licensed marine surveyor accompany me the next time around.

Some blatant lies Iíve encountered:
- Anodes are always refreshed
- No blisters on bottom
- No corrosion on struts, shafts, props, struts. rudders
- Stringers are dry, bilge never has had amounts of water in it
- Engines recently rebuilt, been unable to find the papers
- Windows never seep around frames

Anyway Ė The fact of wasting my time on checking out a boat and then revealing someoneís initial lie(s) is a pet peeve of mine!

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Old 06-02-2014, 03:06 PM   #50
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So Mattkab's number one turn off is not having a price on the boat. Is that in magazines or everywhere? Not many brokers advertise in the magazines anymore but my office does every month. The lead time from creating the ad to when it hits the shelf or comes in the mail may be 45 to 65 days and if the boat has not sold I am asking for a price reduction from the owner. I hate to see a magazine ad for a boat at $799,000 and now I am asking $699,000.
What is the opinion of other TF readers about prices in magazine ads, I would really like to hear.
I often and probably incorrectly assume the boats in mags are at the higher end of the spectrum. So for me...unless a price catches my eye...I have looked elsewhere. But that's only me...probably in the bottom third od cash available buyers but serious as I've been looking for liveaboards for the last 35 years.

I would think that people who are looking for quality and that particular style boat...it doesn't matter listing the price...you are only a phone call away...but only IF you answer or regularly return calls...which many brokers don't do. In that case it may be on to the next boat and screw that knucklehead broker who didn't quickly return the call no matter how nice the boat is. Not me...but I can see it.

So I would say the price thing annoys some people but in the long run shouldn't matter. Then again...boats are going for so far below asking...people will probably assume the price is lower than the advertised...so it's really only a start anyway.
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Old 06-02-2014, 03:18 PM   #51
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So Mattkab's number one turn off is not having a price on the boat. Is that in magazines or everywhere? Not many brokers advertise in the magazines anymore but my office does every month.
I'd say my #1 turn off is poor photograph management, but the prices were the first listed. Myself, I was talking about online listings and yachtworld specifically.

I do subscribe to quite a few magazines, as I enjoy having them around the house and boat. And I do browse the listings because it's fun. As for the prices in magazines there are clearly logistical issues, and not having prices is easily forgivable.

But I'll post my magazine pet peeve too: Put a website, or easy way to get more information (such as list price) on the ad. You have limited real estate, but to me it's the #2 most important item to show. Most brokerages don't fall for this, but some still do.

Here's exactly what I mean (and apologies if this is someone here, it was simply the first ad I found):
NW Yachting Current issue, page #2

Let's say, I'm reading this on my Kindle at 2am (or I'm a rich buyer in another country), and I am actively shopping... and I might like that 1996 Camano 31'... how do I get more information on it without calling or walking up to the dock? Mystifying to me that these mistakes are still made.
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Old 06-02-2014, 04:51 PM   #52
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So Mattkab's number one turn off is not having a price on the boat. Is that in magazines or everywhere? Not many brokers advertise in the magazines anymore but my office does every month. The lead time from creating the ad to when it hits the shelf or comes in the mail may be 45 to 65 days and if the boat has not sold I am asking for a price reduction from the owner. I hate to see a magazine ad for a boat at $799,000 and now I am asking $699,000.
What is the opinion of other TF readers about prices in magazine ads, I would really like to hear.

Ah. Useful reminder. I was in publishing a hundred years ago, but hadn't been paying much attention to lead times in print media these days. Good point.

I'm not actually shopping for boats, but do look at many of the pretty pictures in the free boating magazines I can't seem to get cancelled. That said, if I were shopping, price helps, at least to get a feel for how many digits might be involved. Unless there's something extraordinary about the boat or the listing, I wouldn't bother to call to ask, either.

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Old 06-02-2014, 05:01 PM   #53
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My pet peeve, and brokers, hope you're listening...

Do not ever send me to voicemail. I know you won't call me back so I'm just going to hang up on your voicemail. Then I'll call your competition and give my hard earned money to them.

Instead send me off to an answering service. I'll feel like a my time calling you was important enough for you to have a real person answer the phone. I'll know its an answering service but I'll feel like you care about my taking the time to call you.

(Answering services are very inexpensive and add a human touch we are missing in today's society.)

Oh, and call me back. Today preferably, next morning at the latest. If I'm calling on a boat I'm seriously thinking about it. Remember that my time is valuable too and taking a private moment to call you means I'm more than just internet browsing.
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Old 06-02-2014, 05:15 PM   #54
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Ok, one more. I went into the local Mercedes dealer and asked about the European delivery plan. He said the price is the same as the US. I asked about the price of a particular model with specified equipment. He looked at me and said, " give me a 10% deposit, and I will give you the price".

I got right up in the guys face and said, "10% of what". He turned around and walked off. On the way home I called the Nashville dealer that I had done business with (I have been driving M-Bs since 1970) He told me the discount, and I told him to order one. 2 days later I had the paperwork.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:04 PM   #55
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He looked at me and said, " give me a 10% deposit, and I will give you the price".

I got right up in the guys face and said, "10% of what". He turned around and walked off.
Don: I have no tolerance for such foolishness, but if you have to wear those ratty, hole-ridden boat shoes, have someone sew a designer label over the Walmart tag.

I've got one even more enraging. I walked into an MB Showroom in just north of Baltimore and asked about the cash price on a used MB. I went there to buy the car, not to look at it. The Punk salesman told me the price, and I offered 80 percent of that. He took the deal, but made me sit down and play the salesman's game about: First, he writes down an offer on a piece of paper. Then I write down an offer. Then he writes down another offer, then I do. He says to me: "This is the way we gotta do it". Each time he writes down his offer, then he writes down my offer below it, I sign it, and he disappears into the managers office. Then he comes out and does the same thing.

After four times, he finally writes down my real offer and asks me to sign it. I realized that he was not only playing me, but he was using me to play the manager. He was probably in there drinking coffee and telling the Mgr. what I was going to do next and how he was going to get "his" price for the car. Anyway, his cocky attitude was unbearable. The only way I could sabotage his effort was to leave the deal. Man was he in shock when I walked. I went over to the receptionist and asked what days he worked on the floor. I returned two days later, knocked on the sales Manager's office door and bought the car for my price. One of the best cars I ever had.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:27 PM   #56
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Answer: Aging demographics, high price of fuel (for those boats with big engines) high price of dockage (IF it can be found at all, which is exactly why I just moved from Miami to north of Ft. Pierce last week) high price of insurance, and last but not least is the "paving over of paradise to put up a parking lot" factor. I remember exactly when the big sailboat market collapsed: as soon as the KFC opened on St. Johns. People actively voiced their displeasure in having gone to great expense and effort to sail to paradise only to discover it turned into the place they were trying to escape. Then there's the boom in cruise ship cruising even amongst those who have yachts quite capable of going anywhere. That I call the "Golden Corral" factor in that you can't do it yourself for less $$", and the "money doesn't matter crowd" has shrunk frow what it used to be. The 99% leftover is trying to stretch what we got.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:39 PM   #57
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PK: I absolutely hate it.....fricken HATE IT, that you're probably right about that.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:48 PM   #58
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Two and one half years ago we made an all cash offer on a Nordhavn at 80% the asking price. The owner was terribly insulted and dropped the price 4%. Eight months later they came back with a desparate 75% of the original asking price but we'd already made other plans for our playtime money.

In fairness to the broker, he pushed the owner to accept our first 80% offer, knowing the Nordhavn market was overloaded with 55s for sale at that time.

I'm still crying but the wife is happy.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:08 PM   #59
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My favorite sales person story happen with a broker in Maryland. Made an appointment to look at a trawler he had listed. I was referred to him by a broker in North Carolina so I thought he would really be anxious to show me the boat. Quite the contrary. He was very arrogant , acted like I was taking up his precious time. I feel sure he had sized me up by my car and clothes, assuming I was not a serious buyer, but he did proceed to show the boat. While in the main salon he told us that this trawler had never had any leaking windows or decks like so many trawlers experience. As if on cue from God, it started raining, and I mean a downpour. Guess what, ....you know how this story ends. Windows leaking everywhere . His mood changed from bad to worse.
Over the years buying and selling boats I have met good brokers and not so good brokers, but that is the reality of all professions. Mine included.
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:39 PM   #60
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Hey Ronald, it's been awhile since you checked in. Have you seen my old friends in Jacksonville Gordon Robinson and Charles Efird?
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