It’s easy to imagine that selling your boat is simply a case of allowing people to witness its splendour. But, however appealing your yacht might be and however much you’ve enjoyed the ownership experience, it’s important to recognise that your bias is not necessarily shared by anyone else. On the contrary, you can have the most beautiful yacht in the world at the most competitive price but if you don’t promote it in the right way, it can sit on the market for years, costing you money through insurance, through berthing and maintenance, through interest on any outstanding credit and through natural depreciation.
When you are committed to your boat and engaged in her use, those costs might seem like money well spent, but if you’ve found a yacht you want to buy, failing to promote your existing yacht properly can mean the difference between freeing up the funds to buy the lifestyle you want and missing out on that next perfect step. Plainly then, it pays to get your marketing right – and while it might seem that promotion is a brief and targeted exercise that begins when you’re actively seeking a buyer, it helps if you can get started much earlier than that…
A key part of the successful promotion of your yacht involves taking a fastidious approach to its ownership. Don’t just keep up with the maintenance. Document it. And don’t just document it. Put those documents in their own folder in chronological order for the reassurance of a potential buyer. You should also document any upgrades or repairs you have made and make sure any paperwork relating to tax, insurance, ownership and finance are equally well organised. It’s important to take photographs too, so if you have access to a tender or to a friend with a second boat or a drone, get those all-important off-boat running shots and videos. When the time comes to sell your boat, they really can make all the difference.
It can also pay big dividends to make your yacht visible during ownership. You can do that by using it for events, by joining clubs or by going on rallies and cruises in company. And a good way to promote and organise the pictures and videos you take along the way is to use social media. Instagram is great for lifestyle videos and is already widely used as a means of promoting charter yachts – and in a world where people create Facebook pages and YouTube channels for their pets, using a platform like this as a window on your boating life is remarkably simple. If a potential boat buyer can witness your yacht in use; if he can see your boat as the enabler of a sunny and enriching lifestyle rather than simply as a piece of hardware in a static thumbnail Internet image, it adds depth and texture to your promotional efforts and radically improves your chances of compelling a potential buyer to take action.
While there is, and always will be, a clear demand for tidy, privately used, one-owner boats, there can be a great deal of pre-emptive promotional merit in putting your boat up for crewed charter. Not only does it expose your boat to charter guests, many of whom will walk away with fond memories and a profound interest in marine recreation, but it will also bring with it a professional crew who will keep your boat in active use and in perfect mechanical and cosmetic order. More to the point, a yacht with a lucrative and well-managed charter CV can be shown to offer a much more affordable ownership experience to a potential buyer.
The key online promotional platforms we tend to choose include the Yacht Market, Right Boat, Boat International, Boats and Outboards, Boatshop24 and Yacht World. A clean and successful boat sale tends to depend upon approaches from a small number of genuine buyers rather than scores of casually curious Internet browsers. And it also depends upon real confidence on both sides. You need to know that your buyer is serious and your buyer needs to know that you and your boat are as honest, transparent and genuine as you appear to be. While non-specialist sites can bring widespread visibility, specialist sites like those listed above, along of course, with a reputable broker such as Argo Yachting, will tend to get faster, more reliable results.
In terms of the information provided about your yacht, it pays to be positive, accurate and honest. We understand the things buyers would want to know and work hard to provide them. Specifications include numbers and arrangements of cabins, heads compartments and crew facilities. We also cover any upgrades, with the dates they were made and, where possible, provide a layout plan to illustrate the way each space interacts with the next. We will provide the words, pictures, videos and 3d tours to make sure your yacht is presented well. We also invest in listing yachts as a featured boats and banners on key yachting portals, with bigger photos, and a more prominent rank in the search listings and perhaps even with visibility their website homepages.
Keen though you might be to get on with the job, don’t make your boat visible until your promotional assets – your pictures, your descriptions and your videos – are ready and waiting. And don’t make your boat visible until it is clean, tidy, stripped of personal belongings and fully prepped for viewings. You should ensure that all maintenance and servicing is up to date; that all living areas are empty and neutral; and that it looks and feels as much like a ready-to-enjoy show boat as possible. And you should also be ready and available to receive and attend to approaches from interested parties with all relevant documents and information at your fingertips. In a crowded market with plenty of options, it can take very little for a genuine buyer to lose confidence and look elsewhere, so you need to ensure that those who make a move are greeted with all the information, encouragement and reassurance they need.