MARKETING TIPS ON SELLING
[AND A FEW ON BUYING] YOUR BOAT IN TODAY'S ECONOMY
I recently listed my 2003 Boston Whaler Conquest FOR SALE and had it SOLD
within 2 weeks. After researching market prices and comparable boats from the various sources, I constructed an Ad in the format style as indicated below and did some extensive research on why some boats sold relatively quickly while others simply just languished month after month.
Try To Capture The Prospective Buyers Attention and Highlight Important Items!
a. Derive your stats from the Vendors site and be informative.
b. Use Bullet Points
rather than a lot of run on verbage and highlight
points you want to express.
c. Include all relevant data, i.e., weight, fuel burn, LOA, Hull and Motor year of manufacture, etc.Be Sure to include the price!
. Prospective buyers do not want to PM, Email,Telephone to find out how much your asking price is.
d. Indicate maintenance history with the ability to back up with records.
e. Don't be wishy washy about the sale, either you want to sell it or you don't. Some ads say I want to sell but if I don't sell it in 30 days the price goes up or I'll just keep her. This indicates an unmotivated seller or someone who just doesn't care about the sale.
f. Don't be negative about the boat, ie, it needs new canvas, tune up, lower unit, etc.
If the boat requires repairs have them done prior to selling, buyers like 'curb' appeal not looking at an improperly maintained boat. RETURN CALLS PROMPTLY!
Give prospective buyers all your contact info, ie, cell numbers and e-mail and the best time to reach you. State the price you want! That eliminates needless inquiries from people that are out of the price range and keeps folks from guessing. State where the boat is located!
g. Do Not
tell buyers to email you for pics! Buyers want to see pics
NOW without further work on their part. Take lots of close-ups and include them with your ad. Show all areas of the boat from the anchor locker to the transom.
No fuzzy or long distance pics, get a buddy with a good camera if you don't have one. Don't suggest to buyers they should click on your photo bucket account or other link to see the pics since photo bucket usually has other personal pics unrelated and buyers want to see it with a minimum of effort. Try to get some overhead pics and pics with the hatches open. Good Pics of the boat are a MUST have!
h. Don't bother putting up pics of a dirty boat. It's amazing how people expect to get FIVE DIGIT++ Dollars for a boat with leaf stains, mold, mildewed fabrics and boat junk lying all over, CLEAN IT UP! Have a detail guy go over it and keep it clean!
i. Don't tell folks I'll have it detailed upon the SALE! DO IT NOW! Clean boats sell a lot easier than dirty ones. Dirty boats reflect poorly on the sellers ability to have cared for the boat. Dock appeal is very important so have it looking sharp!
j. If you use a broker, check their credentials, make sure they know your boat, find out if they will do the paperwork and assist in the financial issues and can answer all the questions a prospective buyer may have and get lots of references.
k. PRICE IT OUT PROPERLY!
Look at the marketplace, use NADA and prior sales comparables, check Boatrader and other on-line listing services for an idea of what price others are asking for. Does your boat have bottom paint? That could be a negative, beat up cowlings, scuffed skegs, that tells me you ran in shallow water. Get a can of matching spray color paint and clear coat and paint that decrepit looking skeg. Price Alone
will not sell a boat unless it’s a project boat or fixer-upper.
l. A boat is a large investment, mine sold quickly because I kept it in pristine condition with an open checkbook. People aren't likely to buy your boat if it's dirty and overpriced. Look at all marketplace comparables, use NADA and all the other online sources to establish a fair price. Being upside down will not help and you may end up writing a check to the lien holder to get out cleanly.
j. Show motivation in the sale and write up a good Ad, if you can't ask a buddy with some marketing expertise to help you out. Have others review it!
on all the usual internet outlets, BoatTrader, THT, Reel Boating, etc. and consider using services as Anglers Edge to assist in your marketing. You may also consider setting up a inexpensive web site with template builders just dedicated to sell the boat using the make/model in the URL.
l. Construct a fuel burn chart or download the manufacturers for your Ad.
m. To save time obtain a current survey from a competent surveyor and leave nothing out. [Normally surveys are paid for by the buyer] The buyer may wish to obtain their own objective survey and this should be encouraged but having your own survey may give you a heads up on issues that you might not be aware of.
n. If it's going to be a short-sale be up front with the buyer. If you’re a buyer check for UCC liens and other title flaws.
o. If you determine fair market pricing than stick with it, reducing the price every couple days or weeks does not help in the sale and actually hinders. If you get a bonafide buyer that has done their homework you'll get an offer at your FAIR MARKET PRICE.
p. Be honest with the prospective buyer about why you are selling, ie, moving up, lost job, lost interest, no use, etc. Remember Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave When We Try To Deceive! If something is inoperable either fix it or let the buyer know.
q. I found the best outlet for marketing was on the boating forums, since many folks knew I was a long time poster and could easily search the forums and any issues that I may have posted with the boat or motors would be apparent. Be careful what you post about your boat once goggle gets it it’s on the net forever and accessible.
r. Always be honest with a prospective buyer and answer all questions truthfully. If you tell the buyer you'll do something be a person of your word. It'll leave a warm fuzzy feeling on both sides.
s. Try to resolve any service issues that may arise or issues that a survey detects. Be sure to have a technician check out the motors for compression and lower units for any water intrusion along with a general review of the mechanical systems operation. I.e., pumps, batteries.
t. Arrange or assist the buyer with transportation, especially if a boat hauler or trailer is needed. If you're selling a trailer have it serviced so it does not break down before the new owner gets it home.
u. Do Not Be Offended By Buyers Comments!
v. Just like selling a house not everyone will appreciate all your choices of upgrades or electronics. Be flexible if you have a bonafide buyer who hates Icom, tell them you'll be happy to issue a credit against the price for a Standard Horizon. Learn to overcome objections with positive ideas to help make the sale work and with a good attitude. Do not become argumentative!
w. Don't be afraid of an out of country buyer, I had numerous calls from Australia that were bonafide. Now Nigeria might be another matter! Be aware of buyers wanting to send you excess money for a deposit sight unseen! RED FLAG!
x. Don't try to barter boats, trade up or down, it's really going to complicate the issue.
y. Try to line up some sources of financing in the event your buyer needs it you can just plug him in. If the buyer needs to sell his boat first don't waste your time and money chasing the sale or try to do a contingency agreement. Don't Play Banker!
Being a lienholder is something that should be only left to professionals, i.e. lending institutions, trying to collect on a past due note from a distant buyer will be nothing short of aggravating, remember unqualified buyers caused in part the real estate market collapse. Another bad idea I recently spotted in an Ad, "He'd consider somebody taking over the payments as well" He'd better consider what's going to happen to 'his' credit score when the buyer defaults on that note and the lienholder levies on 'him'.
z. Take at least 10% down payment subject to agreeable/acceptable sea trial and survey.
aa. Be diligent about who you are dealing with, get name, address, telephone numbers, type of employment, etc. and look the buyer/seller up on search engines, Spokeo, Facebook, etc. to insure you have a reputable individual your dealing with.
bb. Don't offer up incentives such as free airline tickets, hookers, charter fishing trips, jet skis or any other extraneous 'toys'. These are not going to be incentives to a serious buyer.
cc. I did not utilize any type of written contract because I had confidence in my purchasers word and given that I’m an attorney I could litigate into the next millennium. I felt that if I had a bona fide party and the boat met the survey standards that there would be no issues. Some folks would feel that a written contract is necessary and in that case I’m sure a local attorney could draft up a suitable agreement for a reasonable fee acceptable to both parties.
dd. Don’t be lulled into the misbelief that since you just repowered with new motors for $40,000 that your boat is going to worth that much more. Those new motors won’t make it a new boat. It’s still an 2006 or whatever year boat! That’s what it’s going to fetch in the marketplace plus some small premium for the new power.
Extended Warranties! That gives a buyer an additional measure of confidence in the purchase. For example, my Whaler had a ten-year hull warranty that was transferable for a small fee.
ff. Don't let others derail your FOR SALE thread!
Some folks seem to always want to go off on some tangent and compare your boat to something it's not which often leads to negative connotations. Try to keep your boat as the main focus of the internet thread you started.
gg. On The Market a Long Time and NOT SOLD!
When boats languish unsold for 6 months or longer folks begin to wonder if there is an issue with the boat. All boats sell eventually, perhaps it was not priced out properly in the beginning, or dirty or had some other negatives. Consider taking it off the market for a month or two and starting out fresh, hopefully using some of the above marketing suggestions.
1. DUMB THINGS NOT TO STATE IN YOUR AD!
"Powder coating has a couple cancerous spots that could be repaired"
"although dirty in pics, it is very clean"
"I'm listing this boat for a friend"
"Posting this boat for my cousin"
OK, is that your cousin Vinny?
"Have mixed feelings about this however gonna see how it goes"
"I will be posting pictures as soon as I get her out of storage (inside) and detailed"
"If someone closes by next Friday you can have her for $69,999.99 ........ ... after that it goes on market for 79k"
"Anyone know what's fair for this year/model? I'm way below NADA right now"
"Asking $56,000, Bank transfer or check no cash"
Why wouldn’t anyone take cash? Cash is King!
" I won't bore you with ALL the specs/details because anyone really interested probably knows them already"
"email me and I will send pictures"
"This boat has been sitting for a while"
. If it doesn't go for 12 then I keep it another year"
[if someone offered $11.5k seller would not sell? Next year it'll be worth maybe $9k]
"Has not seen much use in the past 7 years"
"Needs a wash since I've had it at home for a few weeks"
OK, you get the ideas, these types of statements are NOT GOING TO BE HELPFUL IN MARKETING YOUR BOAT!
2. TIRE KICKERS AND OTHERWISE UNMOTIVATED OR UNQUALIFIED LOOKERS
"coming to the Keys in April so if she's still available may want to take a look"
"Can I give you a deposit until my boat sells?"
"I would buy it but I need Yamaha motors"
"I'll need to get the admirals approval"
"Can we do the Sea trial first?"
"Will you take a $100.00 post dated check to hold it?"
"Do you mind if some of my buddies come on the Sea trial?"
3. HELPFUL AND POSITIVE PHRASES TO SELL YOUR BOAT!
" Well maintained very clean"
" Boat is in new condition,(ONLY 260 HOURS) Motors still under warranty till 2/17/12,stored inside"
"the engine has a warranty until 2013"
"email me if you have any questions"
"1 owner, bought new in 2004"
This boat has been dealer maintained with fluids changed every 50 hours"
"loaded with Electronics and meticulously maintained"
"Everything on the boat works and is in excellent condition"
"all service records are available"
"NEVER been fueled with Ethanol gasoline"
"I can help with delivery. In fact, within 3-400 miles, I'll have her delivered"
OK, Hopefully you get the ideas and Good Luck with your Sale!
4. COMMENTS ABOUT ADS FROM PROSPECTIVE BUYERS
"Want some advice? Put a full ad in with details and pictures"
"you put a location and price in the thread title would make it a ton easier to brows"
"Place a poorly-detailed ad and your boat doesn't sell"
"The worse are the ones with no prices"
"the ones where a moroon is listing a boat "for a friend"
"Ever thought about taking those stickers off the sides? I think they take away from it's good looks"
"If you are not getting a lot of interest that means it’s time for a change"
"Not sure if this posting is still active or not since the author doesn't respond to any postings or PM"
gotta post up pics mon!!!"
"Sorry but I had to vent! Just went and checked out boats for sale ads and what BS! Ads without prices, year of the boat and engines, electronics etc. Go to their link for details.... Hey, you put the ad HERE!
That, and prices (far) above comps advertised elsewhere...