We are just coming out of the fall boat show season. Atlantic-Cruising yachts had a company meeting to discuss the two main challenges facing our team this year. Many of us are aware of the rising interest rates and difficulty for clients to secure insurance for their boats. We had an insurance underwriter and a finance expert share some of their knowledge to help us educate our buyers so they can qualify and close on their new or used boats.
Are salespeople born or made? This is a question that comes up from time to time and, for some reason, has been coming up in my conversations a lot lately. It’s the old nature versus nurture. While most people are open-minded to both arguments, I’ve recently run into some people who are adamant about the subject, one in particular saying they are born, the other saying they are made. Here’s my two cents.
Sales success can be broken down to an almost mathematical equation that works every time. There is a direct correlation between work and results when it comes to sales success. If you do the proper amount of work in three key areas, you pretty much guarantee sales success.
Meaningful communication is a fundamental key to success in the yacht sales industry. Why is that? Meaningful communication is the key to building relationships. And relationships drive success in yacht sales.
Recently I was speaking with the VP of Sales who said he was having trouble motivating his salespeople. “They’re just not putting the work in. They’re doing the bare minimum and I can’t seem to do anything to get them going.”
During the chaos of Covid, we as Yacht Brokers were becoming more of order takers than anything else, it seemed. And although we enjoyed the times when we were selling everything we could get our hands on, for record breaking prices month over month and year over year, at some point it had to slow down and get back to normalcy. I feel like that trend is happening in all aspects of our jobs, from new boats being in stock, to sell prices leveling out and in some cases falling, as well as more boats coming to market over the recent months.
A few months ago my article was centered around the number one sales success factor: hard work. Again, that assumes you have at least average intelligence and work on the right things. That said, being successful in sales also requires that you possess another key character trait: self-discipline.
Working within a primarily self-regulated industry offers us a unique set of benefits that can lead to professional growth and innovation. One of the primary advantages we have as Yacht brokers is the freedom to make decisions based on our own experience and expertise rather than rigid external guidelines imposed upon us, potentially by those not entirely understanding of our industry. This allows Yacht sales professionals to adapt to change, experiment with new ideas, and respond effectively to emerging trends within our quickly changing industry.
A yacht’s stability is defined, by boat designers, as both the ability of a yacht to resist capsize and once capsized, the ability of that yacht to recover to an upright position. The first part of this equation, resistance to capsize, arises primarily from two different sources: the yacht's form stability and the yacht's displacement.
Recently someone asked me how they can become the absolute best salesperson possible. This question caused me to go back and look at my 35-year sales journey in which I became a number one sales rep in three industries during my sales career and number one in two more during my sales training career when I had to prove to two eventual clients my ideas would work in their industries too by outselling all their sales reps. The plan below takes into account everything I’ve learned about what it takes to be number one in sales anywhere in any industry.
What are you waiting for? We don’t wait for the phone to ring, we make calls, send emails, and grow our business. We don’t wait for customers to walk in our doors, we are active in the boating community, market aggressively and make sure the buyers are finding us!
The biggest issue I see with unsuccessful salespeople is that they aren’t willing to do the work. Specifically, they aren’t willing to go out and make the calls and face the amount of rejection they need to face in order to have a successful business. The most popular phrase I hear from these people is, “I believe in working smart, not hard.” Obviously, you want to work smart when and where you can. I’m not talking about hard work and grinding it out without any thought.
We all learn a lot of new things as time goes on. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over the years is to be proactive…always try and stay a few steps ahead of the game so you don’t get blindsided. This obviously can be relevant to many facets of what we do as Brokers on a daily basis.
This week’s quote that prompted this article, “I like doing deliveries. I look at that as end-to-end sales. I sell it, make sure everything goes smoothly and then finally I deliver it and make sure they’re happy.”
I’m happy to report that I believe the Co-Brokerage business appears to be getting back to normal post pandemic. We all experienced low inventory levels with brisk sales, resulting in many brokers advertising their inventory as “not available for co-brokerage”. I had never experienced this before and had always enjoyed the co-brokerage relationship whether selling one of my own listings or the listing of another broker.
This week price has been coming up a lot on my coaching calls with sales reps but there was one comment in particular that compelled me to write this article. In a story related to a sale he made last week, a rep said, “I told the guy, ‘Look, you just tell me where the competition is and I’ll cut my price to match it or beat it.’” After instructing him to never utter those words ever again for the rest of his life, he came back with, “Why not?
Recently I met with a new sales rep who’s been in sales for a little over six months. He’s made two sales; he should be closer to 30. I started by asking how many sales calls he’s been making, how many proposals he’s presented, what he’s been saying, and what his overall process has been. It didn’t take long to identify his problem.
I was recently invited to do a presentation on the relationship between yacht brokers and marine surveyors. The idea sounded simple, how can a surveyor and a yacht broker work together to keep the customer happy? My gut reaction was to focus on communication. By improving communication and foster transparency there should be no surprises along the way, easy enough.
The most important part of a first conversation with a prospect is to get them talking as much as possible. The 80/20 Rule applies here. Now depending upon whom you’re talking to, what kind of initial impression you’ve made, when you catch them, their personality type, etc., you may or may not achieve 80/20, but that’s the goal: them speaking about 80% of the time, you speaking about 20% of the time. And, when you do speak, most of that will be in the form of asking well-thought-out questions that both separate you from your competitors and help you determine the prospect’s needs, wants, and desires.
The YBAA board asked me to do a presentation at the recent YBAA/IYBA summit in Fort Lauderdale on why I felt the CPYB designation was important. Ironically, they were using the invitation as a ploy to ensure I attended the event where they presented me with the Vincent J Petrella Chairman’s Award for 2022. I’m still not quite sure what I did to deserve such an honor.