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Been Insulted One Too Many Times on the Road to Selling Your Boat?

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on a boat sales?

Maybe your boat got rejected, or you were cut off in the middle of your pitch, or they hung up on you or they laughed in your face when they heard price of your boat.

If so, You're not alone!

Often, it isn’t easy selling your boat. Let me tell you a quick story about a moment where we had to make a split-second decision to stop a boat buyer and seller from walking away… and what you can learn from it.

It was late at night around 10 pm and the text messages had been flying all evening.

The boat had been on the market for quite some time but with little activity by the brokerage firm that it is listed.

We’d been approached by a first-time boat buyer, an expat and his family who were keen to buy a boat and see the world from the sea and he’d seen this one on the internet. So, we were working with them to help them to see whether this boat was going to be suitable for him and his family, as they were first-time boat buyers after all.

All had been progressing well, with some lively negotiating between the parties and it really seemed like both the buyer and the seller were keen to do the transaction. The owners had been prompt and helpful with providing boat information as requested; documents, invoices, manuals and inventory, they had been forthcoming, and they had been super helpful

The buyer had been courteous and respectful, yet firm in what he was looking for. However, with discussions well progressed, he then raised concerns about his job security which meant he then was hesitant to commit to the purchase.

The seller knew this was a serious buyer and a rare opportunity to make a sale, so losing a potential buyer at this stage was something that they didn’t want to happen. The buyer then offered a further discounted the price to factor in the risk of repatriating and having to sell the boat quickly, at a discount. The deal was back on again, a deposit was paid, and the sea trial and survey were scheduled.

However, an avoidable error on the sea trial caused a lot of unnecessary complication. The batteries were flat and that batteries meant that some of the systems couldn’t be tested. Never mind that, was the spirit of both parties on the sea trial — we can get new batteries and test those remaining systems after that.

Unfortunately, the settlement date was looming, both parties were traveling, and it seemed like the new batteries couldn’t be fitted before the settlement date. The buyer didn’t want to settle before the remaining systems had been tested, and the seller didn’t want to delay the settlement due to what they considered to be a non-seaworthiness issue (a valid reason for pulling out of a deal and getting your deposit back).

A conference call that evening ensued. It was all a bit fraught, but progressing OK, even though it was late at night.

Then it quickly turned very sour. What was, in our experience a relatively easy situation to resolve, very quickly headed south. The egos stepped in, the buyer didn’t want to settle tomorrow without testing the systems and the seller started saying, the contract says settlement by tomorrow and if you don’t pay, you’re not getting your deposit returned and the deal is off.

One thing led to another and quickly it got heated with both parties talking about legal action.

We’ve been doing this for a very long time, and so it shouldn’t come as any surprise what people say and do in a boat sale, including how quickly things can turn sour, but this one did take us by surprise.

All of a sudden, they were threatening legal action, and as William said: “that while my mind was saying, whoa this is crazy and wow, how did this escalate to this so quickly, I went into my professional mode, almost on autopilot and made a split-second decision to step right in there, mediate and to get them to calm down, but the emotions on the back foot, and get back to what both parties wanted which was to buy and sell a yacht.”

So important, but also so hard to keep the emotions out of it, price offers can be difficult, you can feel as though you’ve been offended one time too many and enough!

You’ve sometimes had to give away a lot already, and yet you’ll probably be called on to negotiate further which can be very tough and even offensive!

But we got there at the end, which was important as both parties really wanted the transaction to get over the line — the owners to sell and the buyers to buy THIS boat, they had seen about 30 boats before this one.

So, a good result in the end, and this is what the buyer had to say at the end of it all:

“Hi William, many thanks for all your efforts! The great way you handled this throughout really says a lot about your character!!! Looking forward to continue supporting and recommending your business where I can.”

Mr MG, First Time Boat Buyer.

But the thing I really want you to take away from this is to try not to take it personally, you may well get tried and tested and pushed and pulled unreasonably, on the road to a sale.

So what this means to you in your boat life is the importance of having someone on your team that project manages AND can manage all the emotions, the egos and keeps things calm, neutral and moving forward. This is mission-critical to avoid losing a sale.

So here’s your next step as it relates to what you and I just shared: consider the value of working with a deal closer, even if you are selling your boat yourself. Someone who has a depth of character, integrity, and empathy and who has the skills to find the way to the win-win, so all parties achieve what they want in a sale.

Good luck with closing your boat sale!

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