2012 YachtWorld Yacht Brokerage University Liveblog! by Trevor

YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts
YBU Handouts

[liveblog] Coffee is being consumed, and things are about to kick off here!

Please bear with us as we figure out this liveblog! It is not letting me correct my typos....


Editorial: Brokers - Open the Floodgates by admin

First Mate spends a lot of time at all the major boat shows.  As a precursor to the shows, I do a lot of research online going into the show.  Who will be there?  What boats will be there?  What is the brokers email who is selling boat "x"?  Which of the three 50' Sea Rays listed is brokerage "y" going to have at the show?  Sure, I am looking for potential clients, but every time I hit an information dead end I find myself asking, "What if I were a customer?".  It is frustrating not to be able to find a brokers email, easily search all available listings, and well thought out photo albums.

I am barely old enough to remember a time before computers and the internet.  This was the Age of Agents.  Stacks of paper, brochures, photo copies, files, secretaries, and a Rolodex.  The Agent was the gatekeeper to this highly centralized and authoritative source of information.  The advent of the computer and internet changed this.  Now almost anyone has access to more information then they know what to do with.  I can look up the specifications for almost any boat produced in the last 10 years in under 10 seconds!  The information has flooded out of the agent's office, and has repurposed the role of the agent in the sale.

There is good news and bad news in all if you are an agent and you love your job of selling boats..  The  bad news is this, if you are a lazy broker, or want to try to be the gatekeeper of information, your clients will eventually figure it out (if they have not already).  The good news is brokers can still be the definitive source of information. There is still a human element to it.  Do customers get to talk to everyone on the docks or guys building the boats?  Do customers always have time to read all the boating forums?  The key for brokers going forward is to not be an information gatekeeper, but an information aggregater and filter.  There is so much information available today, the hard task is to filter it and present it in the best possible way to meet a clients needs.  The solution to remaining important to the sale is not to damn up the information, but to let a customer experience the flood of information and want someone to make sense of it all.

Tips to opening all the floodgates:

  • Put your cell phone and email address on every listing possible! (  If you want the ability to disconnect be sure to look into a Google Voice phone number.
  • Media.  Media.  Media.  You are still one step below paid entertainment.  Make looking at a listing online enjoyable instead of a chore.
  • Engage and be active.  It will not do you much good if you have a Twitter account and after a year have less than 100 followers and rarely tweet.  If you want to be a trusted source of information, you have to be engaging with quality content.

Editorial - How Brokers and Boat Shows are Missing The Boat by admin

Brokers, listen up, this post is for YOU!  We KNOW the following:

  • Online content is more important than ever.
  • Boat shows help generate leads.
  • Buyers are doing more and more research about the boats they look at before coming to shows.
  • Traffic at sites, such as YachtWorld, goes up prior to boat shows.

Given all of this knowledge, it seems like you should be acting on it!  Have brokers been at putting this puzzle together?  No!!!  Brokers are failing buyers and sellers alike.  I can not do either of the following:

1.  Easily go to a show website, search for a certain boat ("63' Hatteras"), and within 2-3 clicks be at a brokers full blown listing with pictures and discription.

2.  Easily find out from a broker's listing description a certain boat will be on display at a show (ie. "This 63' Hatteras "Maderia" will be at the Miami Brokerage Show").

When I do use the built in search engines on a show website I can get semi-usable results.

Notice however not all the boats have pictures included with them (and I have do to an extra click to view the 1 picture).  So with one more click I can make it to the most in depth view of the boat from the show website.

Now what happens?  What if I am marginally interested in the boat and want to see a price (which is not included in any boat show website search) and more pictures?  I have to go to the brokers individual site and start the search all over again!  Now if brokerage "Q" is well known for selling Hatteras, I might have trouble finding the exact boat which is scheduled to be at the show out of the 5+ they have listed.  Online shoppers have a short attention span, so why of these extra steps!  The contact usually listed on the boat show website is rarely the listing broker.  What does this mean for the online shopper?  It means a phone call, being put on hold, forwarded, and then you may or may not end up with the right person, or get their voicemail.  All of this just to see a few extra pictures?  No thanks.

However, when I do try to track down which broker is bringing which boat to a certain show, there is almost NEVER any mention the boat will be at the "X" boat show.  Instead, I'm left to wonder which of eight 56' Vikings brokerage "Y" is going to bring to the show.

Does the blame lie entirely with the brokers?  No, some of it has to site with the show websites.  To be fair, they could rethink some of their layout.

What do I want?  EASY AND QUICK.  It would be great if a show website was just a repackaged version of Yachtworld/Broker sites with show info and relevant ads.  For this there has to be a demand from brokers.  Even more important is brokers need to be putting the show site to its fullest/best use.  Brokers should always upload pictures for the show website, and keep their listings updated with information on which shows a boat will be at (I still visit broker listings and can not find their email address!).  I would also love to see brokerages highlight which boats they will have on display at shows.  A special landing website specifically designed to highlight the boats brokers are taking to shows would be an easy work around in the current system.

At the end of the day, I do not care how it is done, I just want it to be better.  The multiple steps of search, click, click, click, search, click, guess, just to find one boat needs to end.  Given how much time and money is spent on renting dock space, detailing, manning the booth, electricity, it seems like giving a lot of buyers (and sellers!) easier access to the information they care about before they get to the show seems like some easy to grab low hanging fruit.