How To Sell Over 100 New Yachts From Home
A few years ago when I was a boat broker, a prospect came to my office and started talking to me about a new local company called NorthPacificYachts, started by a young 24-year-old. This customer kept going on and on about how amazing the boats were, how he wanted one and they had a much better price and value than all the other similar boats on the market. Fast forward 11 years later. The owner and founder Trevor Brice has sold over 100 yachts and put an amazing line together.
But what is even more fascinating is the business model he has built.
He was one of our first clients and is now a friend so I asked him if he could help our community of brokers, dealers and boat builders to learn about his fascinating approach to boat sales.
Here is the interview:
1) Can you briefly introduce yourself and your brand to our audience?
North Pacific Yachts, Next Generation, is a line top quality trawlers from 28-49’ (and soon 59'). As you mentioned we offer these vessels at competitive prices and make sure to back them up with attentive customer service.
2) After launching NPY 10 years ago, why didn't you set your business up the standard way? Like establishing a dealer network, opening a proper office or service center. What influenced you to be different?
When we looked at working through the traditional channels, we found that we would have another good boat at the same price as everyone else, so we decided to offer them direct with a low overhead marketing model. A lot of our ideas for our business model came from my Dad’s business model in a highly competitive high-volume low-margin business. For brokers reading this, we do offer a co-brokerage commission for leads that result in sales.
3) There are many things that I like about the way you sell boats. For instance, the fact that you hire current boat owners to commission your new boats or don't take boats in inventory but pay owners a fee to show their boats. Can you tell me a bit more about how you got the idea to do so and what results you got from implementing those interesting strategies?
We knew if we didn’t have a dealer network we had to rely on the best salesmen we had and that was and still is our customers. This also gives us the incentive to make sure they are 100%+ satisfied with their boats because we rely on their satisfaction and their willingness to share their feelings with other boaters. I also noticed that a few of our owners had a career in technical fields such as engineering or manufacturing and had a real passion for boating. So I asked some of them if they would be interested in being compensated by commissioning other customers boats. They were passionate about boating and knew our product inside and out. They also had the time as they were retired so it was a perfect fit.
4) If you were to restart NorthPacificYachts with the knowledge that you have today, what would you do differently?
We're happy with the way things went and where we are today. There is very little we’d change. We look forward to building our brand for decades into the future.
Learn and understand what you are talking about. If you don’t know say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”. Find out and follow up. Not BS-ing people and being honest with people has given me a reputation that has been a major asset. If being honest costs you a sale so be it. A good reputation will more than make up for it later.
6) From your experience and selling boats over the last 10 years, what has been the most frustrating part of your job dealing with prospects and what could you have done to make it less painful?
The way consumers buy boats has changed so much over the last 10 years. 10 years ago it was more about self-promotion while nowadays it is more about education. Consumers are much more educated with all the information they find online. I have to stay on top of the game and always make sure that they will find the info necessary online prior inquiring about a boat.
7)I have seen a great improvement in your marketing strategy over the years. You were our first official shipyard who ordered virtual tours in 2008 and obviously had an interest in leveraging web technology to sell more boats. What do you think has changed in the way boats are sold and marketed over the last 10 years?
When we started it seems to me that almost all our leads came from print ads. I could reliably ask people how they heard about us and they’d tell me what magazine. Now most people don’t remember how they heard about us. That must be because more leads are coming from online advertising on various platforms.
8) What are the benefits for a boat buyer to purchase from NorthPacificYachts rather than a boat builder with a traditional model?
You get to deal directly with us. We know the product inside and out and are willing to work with people to customize their boat more than most. Our direct sales method associated with our economical structure allows our customer to get great value on their boats.
9) I recently wrote a blog post about the future of boating. Some of the recommendations I suggest to traditional companies are the things that you have done for many years, like reducing operating expenses or selling directly to consumers. You seem to have understood that perfectly and have been a pioneer in this new way of selling boats. Why did you do things this way and what influenced you to take a different approach?
It was all about being different in the market and our marketing approach is how we differentiated ourselves from the competition.
I hope that you enjoyed this insightful interview. Remember that those principles worked very well for NorthPacificYachts but it doesn’t mean that it will work for all companies. As long as you are selling quality boats ethically, there are no right or wrong ways to do it. The only requirement is to think outside the box.
I have some clients who use a conservative business model and are absolutely thriving in boat sales.
Remember that there are 2 different ways for a business to grow:
1) Increase sales
2) Reduce expenses
While most companies or training resources will always focus on the sales volume growth, never underestimate the power and benefits of reducing expenses.
Did you know that for the first time in history, we might make less money than the previous generation?
The average salaries are not growing much and cost of real estate or some commodities are increasing significantly. On the other end, technology is offering us limitless possibilities and advantages. With a single computer today, you can educate yourself and access unlimited amounts of free training and communicate with anybody around the world.
As an example, check the average cost for launching a startup since 2000 below.
I am curious in knowing what your main current challenges to start or grow boat sales in today's market are? Share them with us below.
So stop thinking you need a lot of cash or resources to start something big. Just like Trevor figured out how to sell over 100 new yachts from home on his laptop, you can also take action and start something big!