What does it take to broker a Superyacht?
We caught up with West Nautical Sales Manager Pierre Badin to discuss what it takes to become a successful yacht broker. Here’s what he had to say.
“I believe all Sales Managers should be very grateful to be evolving on a daily basis in such an exclusive and rewarding market. One of the main keys to success, no matter which field you work in, is to enjoy yourself and be passionate about what you do.”
You call yourself Sales Manager rather than broker. Can you explain this to us?
West Nautical have modelled themselves as a next generation professional services business for the superyacht sector. This refreshing alternative to traditional brokerage firms, opts to employ client and sales managers instead of traditional charter and sales brokers.
What are the 3 main qualities needed to become a successful Yacht sales manager?
- Dedication: You must be prepared to give yourself 100% to your clients. Be available at all times to attend viewings, even at the last minute. Being a Yacht sales manager is the ultimate form of customised service.
- Integrity: The quality that makes a Yacht sales manager last in this industry. There are many times in yacht sales where the broker’s personal interest (his commission perspective) takes a different direction from their client’s.
- Ethics and honesty: Remember what we are here for in the first place and whose interest should always be our priority.
Are there any qualifications needed to become a Yacht sales manager and if so, what are they?
There are no schools, special courses or diplomas to qualify a yacht sales manager. Ultimately the client is the only person who can judge you on your abilities.
However, you should have a good, eclectic knowledge of all aspects of a yacht. Therefore a background as a captain or marine engineer would definitely help.
What work experience is best suited to become a yacht sales manager?
You will find successful yacht sales manager come from different backgrounds. Marketing and sales in other fields, services to UHNWI such as concierge or with a background in luxury real estate.
Many paths lead to the industry and it is often by accident and good fortune that one becomes a yacht sales manager.
It must be a tough industry to be in, very cutthroat at times. What percentage of success would you say comes from experience and what percentage comes from connections?
Connections and networks are key. Plus there is always an introducer between a broker and their client (buyer or seller).
The experience is what makes you different and valuable. What gives you the ability to move on from just an introduction to a fruitful relationship with a confident client.
What is the most challenging part of being a yacht Yacht sales manager and why?
It’s easy to always tell the clients what they want to hear, and it is challenging to be truthful to them.
You need to use a lot of diplomacy to give them a realistic estimate of the true value of their yacht (sellers) or to tell them not to buy the yacht they have fallen in love with, when you know it is not a good boat (buyers).
I have experienced challenges when my opinion as a knowledgeable yacht sales manager differs from my clients’. I have always told them the truth and not what they would like to hear… Ultimately, I think I gained their respect for this and eventually they were thankful for the honest comments.
Where do you think the sales market of Superyachts is heading in the next 5 – 10 years?
I believe we are in an ever-changing world with many possible paths that could be taken. Right now, the market has evolved from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market as so many yachts have been sold. Many new owners have taken the step towards selling or buying, so the proportion between the offer and demand has really changed.
I see it as a good thing for Sales Managers, as now I can really focus on selling the yachts I have been asked to sell and get the best price possible for my clients, rather than spending most of my time and energy looking for buyers.
What advice would you give to a young Yacht Broker starting out in the industry?
Always keep in mind how lucky you are to work in the yachting industry. Enjoy what you are doing as much as you can. You will do a better job if you love what you do.
Never give up, even when it seems the battle is lost. Try to learn from your clients since they are some of the most successful people in the world.
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