So how busy can a boat broker really be?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mrsrobinson, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Richmond, Virginia
    1995 Sea Ray 330DA - Sold
    2001 Regal 3780 - Sold
    Big ones
    I am frustrated with what I see as lazy boat brokers. I call or email them with what feels like simple questions, sometimes as simple as "Do you have additional photos?". If I get a replay at all, it's usually days later and it's something like "We are really busy right now I will have to see what I can do".

    We met one recently, at his office where the boat was located, he showed us the boat, not even knowing if it was gas or diesel (I already knew) talking the whole time about nothing even closely related to the boat and acted like he could care less the whole time. We asked to see another boat he was listing, same marina, he gave us the keys and told us where he "thought" it was. We found it, boarded, by ourselves, brought the keys back, literally 15 minutes later, and he was gone for the day.

    I saw one on a website yesterday that caught my eye. I called, sat on hold for 5+ minutes, got a sales guy, started asking questions and he kept referring me to their website. I told him I had it in front of me and he would not even try to answer my questions.

    Now I do not claim to be a boat broker nor do I claim to know what they do all day. But come on, at least try to sell the boat and try to sound interested. Seriously, what does a boat broker do all day in this market that they are so busy? Why are they not learning as much as they can about the boats they have for sale so they can answer questions right away? Instead it's let me get back to you? Are you serious? Why have a website with a contact area if you are not going to respond to the contact?

    Did these guys make all their money years ago and now they are just in cruise control? Or is it the price range where a > $200k sale is a waste of their time?
     
  2. gerryb

    gerryb Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    E120 Radar & Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    What you don't understand is that you are seriously distracting them and taking time away from their real job, which is looking for another job outside the boat industry.:lol:

    Seriously, I have had the same experience and also wonder why it has to be that a broker does not retunr a call or an email, or shows so little enthhusiasm about an item that is so expensive..
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  3. tmhudson2

    tmhudson2 New Member

    885
    Aug 30, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Working on his golf game, perhaps?

    I personally know one broker who works hard and is knowledgable about his listings, and will try to track down other boats that he doesn't have listed. I've also met a few who match the description of the ones you've encountered. Like realtors, a few are concientious and sell a lot, and some work just enough to get by. I'd guess there are many in between these two extremes.
     
  4. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Greg,

    If I can be honest with you here, are you "telegraphing" or communicating to the broker that you are going to be a difficult or less than a serious buyer in some manner with the questions you ask prior to going to see the boat. If you do, that will certainly get you the treatment you describe.

    Spending time with someone who isn't serious or who is going to ask 10,000 questions and asks for tons of additional data without making a resonable offer is very unproductive for a broker.......they are are commission paid and it serves their purpose better to stay in the office and hope for a "live one" rather than working someone who isn't serious or who is difficut.

    To give you an example, you asked me about certain boats in my area in Florida and I told you about one that is like new, extremely well equipped, kept in a covered slip and perfect in every way, and your comment was that it was outside your budget......and that is ok, I understand. Yet, if I understand your above post, the boats you are looking at are apparently in the same price range . If you are sending this type of mixed message to the brokers, that may be part of the answer to your frustration.

    My suggestion to you is to learn to differentiate between initial interest and doing due diligence on a boat you may have an interest in. Wait until you find a boat you are serious about before you ask for service records, extra photographs, etc. A good part of getting a broker to work for you is to convince him that you are a serious and qualified buyer. That separates you from any other voice on the phone.

    Anyway....its just an observation.

    Also, I still think that boat sales tend to be regional. If you call a salesman/broker at our dealership, he's going to be busy. There are a lot of buyers (bottom fishing!) and prices are down. Boats are selling, but they are working hard and having to earn every sale. The one segment of the market that is really sucking now is the convertible or sportfishing market....brokers can't even kidnap a buyer for those bad boys that suck up 80-100 gph of diesel.
     
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  5. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Richmond, Virginia
    1995 Sea Ray 330DA - Sold
    2001 Regal 3780 - Sold
    Big ones
    I understand what you are saying Frank. However, I am talking initial contact only here. Just getting a broker on the phone or getting them to reply to an email is difficult. And no, I do not ask 10,000 questions. It's rare I even ask more than 1 question as it's obvious they do not know the boat so I keep quiet and listen to them tell me about their family, their life, etc. The gas or diesel broker above sat their, in the cabin, and told me the boat had gasoline engines. I told him it did not. he literally, and I mean literally, started to argue with me. I told him to lift the engine hatch, he did (after taking 5 minutes to figure out where the engines were and how to access them), there sat 2 CAT 3116s. he was shocked and apologized.

    Another example. We looked at a 450DA in December. It was in fair condition. We liked ti but did not love it. It was our first time boarding a 450DA. In the interim we have seen 2 400DBs we like (not for sale, friends of friends kind of thing). The 450DA broker just listed one on their site but no photos. I called asking for photos, no reply. I emailed asking for photos. No reply. I finally got an email 2 days ago, weeks later, stating they have photos and will try to get them to me soon. Are you kidding me? How difficult is it to send photos of a boat? Still, 2 days later, no photos.

    The boat you refer to is over our budget and, if we discover we are going to have to spend that much to get what we like we may bump our budget up. Your comments in the post I read suggested to me it was an older model, which is within our budget, which is why I emailed you. I am still doing some discovery on this model to see what the differences are and to see if an older, less expensive model year will give us what we want. I am not paying $200K for a 2000 boat when a $150K 1996 model fits us. Hopefully that makes sense.
     
  6. HudsonHauler

    HudsonHauler New Member

    52
    Sep 23, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    270 Sun Deck
    496 HO Bravo 3
    In a market like this, if you are dealing with an unmotivated/unknowledgable broker, you should ask for the contact informaton of the manager of the brokerage (at that location or of the overall group if applicable) and copy that person on all emails.

    I personally will not deal with someone who won't email as I want a written record of responses. I'm not trying to catch someone in a lie per se, but when things are in writing, there is much less chance of a miscommunication. I bought my boat by email and fax (up to the point where I commissioned a full survey at my own cost and then did a sea trial myself before handing over the check and after the survey report was in hand).

    Also, if there are multiple brokers at the seller, keep talking to all of them until you find the one you like. Just because that particular broker was "up" in the door rotation or phone rotation, doesn't mean you need to stick with them if they are inept.

    This is a buyers market folks (which in many ways would be good if it passes sooner than later for all our general sake).

    Use that leverage to your advantage.
     
  7. skolbe

    skolbe Active Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    320 Sundancer, Mercury 310 Sport Inflatable Tohatsu 6HP
    350 Mag V-Drive - Kohler 5ecd
    I think most brokers only want to work with folks looking for a specific model that don't have a boat to unload.
     
  8. fc3

    fc3 New Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Nov 12, 2006
    Northern NJ
    1999 Sea Ray 330DA
    Twin 7.4 MPI (310 propshaft HP) V-drives
    Twin Mercury Marine marinized 7.4L L-29 V8s
    Cast iron block w 4-bolt mains
    4.25x4.00 bore & stroke
    After selling stuff for many years (I sold enterprise level software) one can quickly tell who is ready to buy and who is not. It's human nature to skip over work that's not going to make any money.

    Considering that so many people aren't ready to buy, the brokers are waiting for the guy who comes in the door with money ready to spend. If you have money ready to spend today, then let them know. "I have $150,000 to spend today. Do you have this boat in ready to buy condition?" If you're still doing research, well, you already know the score.

    Best regards,
    Frank
     
    chuck1 likes this.
  9. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Richmond, Virginia
    1995 Sea Ray 330DA - Sold
    2001 Regal 3780 - Sold
    Big ones
    So if I hear you correctly I should volunteer my budget, let them know I have secured funds and I am ready to buy today? I thought the first rule of negotiating is to give as little information as you can while getting as much back as you can? Why would I offer my budget?

    Me: "I have $150k to spend"

    Broker: "heck, we would have taken $130K but lets take his $150K"
     
  10. CSR_Admin

    CSR_Admin Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    I consider myself a hard working broker. Been doing it for 11 years and have been successful at it. We get emails all the time about photos, and I do reply to all of them. But honestly, if we had more photos we would have put them on the site in the first place. I can understand most brokers deleting inquiries like this. Today I had a guy send in an inquiry for a sailboat, the inquiry came from our online spec sheet on Yachtworld. Here is his question:

    "I am interested in the ----- (listing ID #) on Boats.com. Please send me more information. Thank you."

    I am not sure what he wants me to do, make some stuff up that is not on the specs and send it to him?

    I think we are all getting spoiled by the information age. When I first started there were not online resources to list every spec of every boat model, so that info needed to be included in the spec sheet we created. Now I think brokers expect buyers will know the basics of boat models they are inquiring on. Who knows......

    What I do know is if I could have $5 for every time I get an email asking for more pics I would not need to be working right now. Just for the record, any pics we have are already on the website :grin:
     
  11. CSR_Admin

    CSR_Admin Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    Budget is not related to how much you spend on a particular boat. It simply helps the broker direct you towards boats in the price range. Its always one of the first Q's I need answered otherwise we are all wasting each others time.
     
    chuck1 likes this.
  12. 390pi

    390pi New Member

    92
    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    1992 290DA
    4.3LX/A1s
    Hard to believe in this day and age.

    I deal with commercial real estate brokers like this all day long.

    They all want the low fruit on the tree. Just laziness. And contempt for the customer.

    Perhaps they fail to remember that it is people like us that give people like them jobs.
     
  13. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Richmond, Virginia
    1995 Sea Ray 330DA - Sold
    2001 Regal 3780 - Sold
    Big ones
    Good feedback, thanks Jim.

    In the photos case there are NO photos of the boat so I asked for some, at least 1 maybe. And, on the email questions I never ask something that general. I usually start the dialog with "Why is the boat for sale?" trying to get the sellers motivation. In a recent example I received 2 different answers over the course of a 3-4 months. The first one was "owners wants a bigger boat", then, 3-4 months later when fuel prices were spiking it was "owners wants a smaller boat". I had to pull it out of the broker but he finally told me if it sell it sells otherwise the seller plans to keep using them boat.

    I even had a broker recently tell me the boat was priced high because the seller really did not want to sell the boat, but thought it he got $XX.XX for it he would sell it. At least the broker was honest. He even said "this is not the one for you if you are looking for a deal".
     
  14. douglee25

    douglee25 Active Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    NJ
    Cabrio
    Volvo Drivetrain
    I would agree with others, let them know your budget upfront. If I'm serious, I start off with.... "I'm looking at model X and Y, here's my budget, and I'm looking to purchase in Z time frame, can you help?" This way the broker has all the pieces of the puzzle. If they choose not to help at that point, then they just lost out on a potential sale.

    Doug
     
    chuck1 likes this.
  15. gerryb

    gerryb Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    E120 Radar & Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    An observation on the 'picture' issue raised int his thread. I bought a car a few years ago on ebay. The sale listings there, esp. from dealers, have a ton of pictures for the car. You see the door handle, the rims, the lights, sunroof, even the ashtrays. They took the time to take pictures and post them to a web site. How long did it take the seller? I don't know...but I know the profit on the sale of a car is much less than what it is on a 6-figure boat. I may be in the minority, but I would welcome seeing many detailed pictures of the boat I was interested in. It would not 'sell' me the boat, but it is something I would just 'expect' to see as part of the overall sales effort by the dealer.

    I'm sure some are going to say I'm comparing apples to oranges and a boat buyer will ALWAYS see the boat and not rely on pictures anyway. True. But the yachtworld ads with 1 stock picture copied from searay's site are really pathetic. Take a look at my good friends at commonwealthboatbrokers.com to get an idea of how to show the pictures. It's really not a big deal. I think I'm going to expand my photography business in NJ to take the boat photos for these brokers if it that much of a burden for them.
     
  16. chuck1

    chuck1 Super Moderator TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    North GA Mountains
    Looking For Next One
    Looking For Next One
    Not sure what type of broker you are using(Buyer or Seller). If it the listing seller broker he should never reveal that information unless the seller has directed him to. Now if it was a buyers broker then I would ask how he knows it since the selling broker should never have revealed the information in the 1st place.

    Second point if the boat is priced correctly what does it mater to you why they are selling it. Keep in mind people and circumstances change all the time. The reason the seller was selling a month ago may not be the same reasons now.

    Jim, Frank & Frank have all hit the nail on the head with their comments Green balls to all:lol:
     
  17. mrsrobinson

    mrsrobinson New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Richmond, Virginia
    1995 Sea Ray 330DA - Sold
    2001 Regal 3780 - Sold
    Big ones
    Agreed, +1
     
  18. tobnpr

    tobnpr New Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    New Port Richey, Florida
    1988 300 DA
    tw 350's w/ Alphas
    I can certainly understand a broker's need to assess the "qualifications" of the buyer so they don't waste time. I'm sure that sometimes they make an error in that assessment that costs them a sale. Last month we were shopping for a new SUV. We went into the local Lexus dealership and were met by a rather "snooty" biatch with an attitude. OK, so I was wearing some crappy shorts, my crocs, and a t-shirt with some varnish stains on it...obviously, she didn't size me up as a "real" buyer. After dealing with her attitude for five minutes we decided to move on... bought an Acura at the dealership down the street the next day.

    I do agree with your assessment that many brokers are not knowledgeable. I signed a contract and put down a deposit on a Chris-Craft Convertible based upon the vessel's cosmetics and the broker's statement that the boat was "bristol", "captain maintained" and ready to go despite an absentee owner. Surveyor meets me at the boat, batteries are bone dry (great start). Boat won't plane, engines (both of them) overheat... on and on and on... Sent a nasty email to the brokerage manager, got a call a few weeks later from another broker that had taken over the guys listings as he was "no longer with them".
     
  19. chuck1

    chuck1 Super Moderator TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    North GA Mountains
    Looking For Next One
    Looking For Next One
    Big ditto:thumbsup: - Double green balls for you:grin:
     
  20. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    I certainly can't speak for others with regard to photos, but I did ask our dealer about the absence of detailed photos of boats. The answer was reasonable........they have to load them into their website which then loads to yachtworld.com and another they use. They have space limitations and website speed issues with lots of pictures on a boat. They post 3-4 representitive photos on their site and usually have lots more available if a buyer is serious about learning more about a particular boat.

    So there is more to it than just taking pictures.........apparently.
     

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