This decade will see the demise of the boat broker industry, attributable primarily I contend, to the erosion of the boat broker’s value proposition to the boat vendor.
The boat market after all, is just one of many markets where rentier intermediaries and middle-men are being swept away like bush flies in the path of a Sydney southerly buster. And as is the case everywhere else, the ubiquity of information technology is the enabler.
Don’t ignore the Internet’s latent, powerful potential
Even DIY vendors fail in most cases to recognise the potential that the Internet offers, to provide a portal into the emotional head-space of the buyer. It’s a gigantic oversight.
Prospectively, the Internet changes the whole dynamic between the vendor and buyer in a market that otherwise seems destined to be a buyer’s market for a generation.
This is not to say that there’s anything profound going on in the head space of the typical boat buyer. Quite to the contrary; buyers (it’s usually a couple although the dynamics are different) tend to be operating in a world of delusion, entertaining wonderfully nonsensical ideas about boat ownership, which would be matters of amusement were it not so serious a business.
The serious business is that of selling your boat for an approximation of its true worth, in this proto-depression market place, exacerbated by stagnant incomes, falling stock markets and a soon to be sharply falling real estate market.
The buyers might temporarily be in fantasy land, a place from which they will soon depart once the sobering realities of boat ownership sink-in; but you dear vendor have no such luxury.
Your job is to get into the probable buyer’s head space and identify his/her ‘problem’. We understand that ‘problem’ is not really a correct description here; it’s more of an itch, an urge to be or to do as yet unfulfilled. It’s an issue I delve into in another blog and it’s teased out in some detail in the book.
Having the knowledge, the tools and ability to work on the psychology of the buyer is the game changer for boat vendors; but only for a tiny few has the penny thus far dropped.
Of course vendors need a few street smarts by way of writing sales copy. A web-site that does the business is a pre-requisite as is an overall presentation posture that works.
None of this is beyond the capabilities of any boat vendor, albeit with a little coaching and prodding here and there.
On the other side of the equation, the boat broker and/or yacht broker business model, has an early appointment with the undertaker.
Why? One reason among many is the fact that the ‘psychology of the buyer’ is a boat broker no-go zone…not part of the boat broker’s business model: past, present or future.
The boat broker’s business model is a number’s game where the vendor’s interests are subordinated to the need to get the deal across the line. Inevitably negotiations reach a point where progressing the deal becomes a question of price and the hapless vendor gets screwed! Ironically it is the vendor who pays the boat broker out of the settlement.
This isn’t the only reason why the boat market post 2008, has become a deflationary blood bath, but it sure hasn’t helped!
Biting the hand that feeds you, isn’t a long term prescription for prosperity as my grandmother used to say. The sword of Damocles hangs above the head of the boat broker industry by a very thin thread.