Getting an offer on a boat is often the easy part of the sales process, holding a deal together once the pre-purchase inspections begin is where a good broker really earns their fee. Let’s face it, even the best maintained pre-owned boat will still be picked to bits during the pre-purchase checks. As a result, in working through the process, there is always discussion and often smart negotiation required to put the buyer at ease, particularly if they are new to boating.
On the other hand, sometimes the buyer is simply ‘playing the game’, or ‘having a crack’ so you need to know just how to handle them.
In the market I represent, the buyers are usually pretty savvy. If they can afford to own a luxury boat then they are generally successful in business and usually good at negotiation themselves. How your broker identifies and ultimately deals with this is critical. It simply comes down to how well they (brokers) are trained, professionally or otherwise, and the experience they have gained by the number of successful sales under their belt. The art of negotiation is not developed overnight. Many sessions at Scotwork Negotiating over the years has be invaluable to me – and yet I’m still refining my skills.
If your broker is limited in their product knowledge, is not skilled in how to present an issue in the correct context, or knows how to ask the right questions on behalf of a buyer or seller, then the sale could fall over in an instant, or at the very least cost the seller a fortune unnecessarily.
For example: I recently negotiated the sale of a vessel that had a tricky oil leak at the front of the engine. Obliged to disclose everything identified in an objective manner, the technician quoted the cost of repair at approximately $5,000 to change a simple gasket. Not unreasonable due to the degree of difficulty. This was of course an objection and serious worry for the buyer and potentially a deal breaker.
The sellers had already dropped their sale price and were not willing to accommodate the potential cost of this repair. I simply asked the technician to put into context the extent of the leak. I said ‘on a trip to Rottnest return, how much oil are we talking about here?’. He said ‘Approximately 10ml.’ I responded ‘So, in a year of boating, as a result of this leak, will the engine oil need to be topped up at all?’
The technician answered ‘No, very unlikely.’
All of a sudden this expensive repair job, which ultimately could have opened up a can of worms and created more leaks, was now a non-issue and the sale was completed.
A happy buyer and happy seller.
The moral of the story, choose your broker carefully. Choosing the right agent will save you money and possibly the sale itself.