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Old 11-10-2011, 16:28   #1
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Thoughts on the Boat Show

Having worked at the Newport Show for 14 years, and twice at the Annapolis show. One of my jobs was to investigate what the competition had. I was there with a Pacific Seacraft Dealer. Hadn't been to a show for three years. Not to be critical of any brand or type of boat, I found it interesting how large a presence the Beneteau Jenneau Lagoon group has on the sailing community. Between their never ending new models, and most of the charter companies using their products, the boat viewing was mostly those boats. I guess their economic holding power will carry them through the hard times, which appear to be with us for quite awhile. I certainly miss the traditional, quality boats from the past. Boats like Pacific Seacraft, which is still in existance, Valiant, Hinckley, Block Island 40, and others I have forgotten. I miss going on boats that had radiused fiddles around the galley counters, all edges were rounded and softend. Now as a cost savings, many corners are simply mitered. Fine boat building is slowly slipping away, as it is hard to survive in this enviroment.
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Old 11-10-2011, 19:31   #2
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Hard to survive in an environment when you treat your potential customers like dirt. The one boat i wanted to see, the Hylas 49 is the one boat my husband and I have been talking seriously about ordering. We got the spec sheets, pricing, etc over a year ago. This was the first opportunity for me to see it in person and no, I did not have an appointment because I didn't know when I could come by and just needed to see it in person to decide if I really wanted to have that much invested in a boat.

There was one couple speaking with a sales rep in the cockpit. I went below to find 2 sales people sitting on their butts.There was not a another soul aboard. They never introduced themselves or asked if I had any questions. They never even asked for my contact information. The woman- Debra or something was so freaking RUDE to me, all but sneering at me that I hustled off the boat with my mind made up. No way will I be ordering anything from them. If that is how they treat prospective customers I shudder to think how they will treat me after the deposits are made.

People like that do not deserve to survive in business.
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:14   #3
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

You need to work a few shows to understand how difficult it is to weed out the gofers's (How much does this boat go fer?)

Shows are for dreamers. This is not a derogotory comment. It is just what boat shows are about. Planting the seed. Fermenting the brew. Serious folks call the factory or dealer and get a private showing by appointment with an alert and competent sales person that takes the time to make sure your questions are answered in full. When spending a few hundred thousand or much more you need to identify your intentions so folks can take you seriously. Not an excuse... but reality. Otherwise you are just one of several hundred with your stinky boat shoes on the dock making goofy comments every day of a long show.

Just thinking.....
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:27   #4
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Nope, I DON'T have to prove that I am serious. It is their job as commission sales people to at the very least be polite. Why even show a boat at the shows if you can't be bothered to get off your ass and at least be polite? No skin off my nose, it just saved me a whole heap of cash and absolutely made up my mind. I'm not the one hoping for a check, I'm the one with the funds to pay that check. You'd think they would at least be as polite as I was to them. I'm not asking for them to kiss my butt but how about not being rude?

Whatever. I just find it funny that reps complain about how slow business is and yet they treat people with the ability to move forward with an order like crap.

Edited to add- and I won't get a couple of boat shows under my belt because I absolutely hated the huge crowds.
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:30   #5
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Mimsy,
I couldn't agree more with your comment. My wife and I were at the show on Saturday, and spent most of our time on the Antares 44i and St. Francis 50. (As monohull sailors for the past 17 years, we are planning on purchasing a catamaran for our live-aboard retirement cruising, beginning in early 2013.) Finding an Antares or St. Francis at a boat show is a treat, and we were really looking forward to it. We were not disappointed. The owner of Antares Yachts personally spent a good 30-45 minutes with us on our first visit to the boat, and another 30 minutes when we returned later in the afternoon. Same story when we visited with the owner of St. Francis Marine, and a representative from Voyage Yacht Charters on their Voyage 520. They could not have been more forthcoming with information. As we were leaving the show, we felt compelled to go on the Hylas 49 and Passport 470, which were both high on our list of potential boats in preceding years (that is, before we charterd a cat in the BVI this past March, and decided to switch to a cat). Same experience as you received. The co-owner of Wagner-Stevens, representing Passport Yachts, uttered not one word to as as we went below; she sat at the salon table with a look which screamed, "Who are you people; you can't afford this boat!" (A new Antares, albeit very well equiped, starts at US$895K; about the same for the St. Francis.) Bottom line: I can only imagine what it is like to work as a sales rep for five days during the boat show, with all sorts of folks (many with young children) trapesing through your beautiful boat. If, however, you can't be polite, answer questions, and treat everyone as a potential customer, you should simply stay home and let someone with more patience do the job.
P.S. After spending 4-5 hours on those cats, when we went below on the Hylas and Passport, we were immediately struck by a feeling of claustrophobia. We could no longer imagine ourselves making long passages and spending weeks on end in an anchorage on a monohull. It is hard to believe how quickly we fell for the roominess, stability, safety and comfort found in a larger catamaran. Having rude or indifferent representatives on their boats will not help dealers of monohulls stem the migration of folks like me toward catamarans. Best of luck to you as you plan your future boat acquisition!
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:38   #6
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Many boats are sold at boat shows. They should have been more professional. I would call the brokers in that area to let them know your experience.
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:40   #7
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Thanks Sloop, I've decided to stik with what I have. We bought our boat for a family of 3, then added a baby into the mix thus the desire for a 3 cabin boat. Since we've been refitting like mad for 2 years we were thinking of ordering knowing there was an 18 month time frame between order and delivery. So we thought we'd sail the oants off our current boat for that year and half, then sell when we got the new boat.

Now I am sticking with what we already have. It saves a considerable amount of funds and allows us to not worry about how much we have in the boat.

I spent time while I was in town on my friend's St. Francis 44. Lovely, lovely boat but I felt agoraphobic! lol

By the way, its worth mentioning that while walking past the Dufour booth with our babies strapped to our backs,my friend commented that she needed tofind water. A Dufour rep overheard and even though we weren't even going towards their booth offered us water with a smile and a cheery disposition. Wonder why the Dufour booth was packed while the Hylas one was empty no longer...attitude is everything.
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:57   #8
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Well I save a lot of time at the boat show by never looking or going aboard any of the boats on display. Maybe because I am happy with my current boat and have been since I bought it in 1995. It's a monohull and I just love it and have no intentions of buying anything else. My gal and I have chartered a number of catamarans for winter vacations (crewed). I think they are nice but, I never would want to own one. Space is nice but, seems like a lot more maintenance too IMO. But, I am a sucker for some of the demo booths at these shows. Bought a set of screw extracters and something called Atomic Tape. Seems like it could come in handy.
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Old 11-10-2011, 20:57   #9
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Mimsy,
Sounds like a great plan! As they say, the sunsets all look the same, regardless of the boat from which they are viewed. Its great that sailing will be a part of your young family's lives; they will be forever enriched with memories! (mostly fond ones, we hope) And its great that you're not waiting until later in life as I did; I marvel at the courage younger folks have to "go less-go now!" Stay safe and enjoy the sail!
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:11   #10
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Rude and stuffy reps exist. I have certainly seen a few who think they are rock stars. Mimsey, It is unfortunate that you had a bad experience. I hope some of these sales folks see this. Buying a new boat is not something I have ever had to endure.
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Old 12-10-2011, 06:18   #11
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

I had similar experience with the Hylas father and son. I was going to spend near 1m on a boat and was treated with no respect. They were selling a boat to a couple about my age and I overheard them add more and more "options" to the boat that increased the price significantly as if they were car salesmen adding all the high-profit extras. I didn't but the 54 Hylas but bought a 58 Taswell for about the same money- a boat we have enjoyed for 7 years.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:17   #12
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Mimsey,

While I'm not defending rudeness....

If you cross a boat off your list every time you don't like one of their employees, you're going to have a short list. A lot of people found Steve Jobs rude but he built great products.

I also prefer that a salesperson "sit on their butt" when I'm looking over a boat rather than attach themselves to my ankle. If I have questions, I always introduce myself first and ask if they are the best person to talk to. Only seems polite.

The most important skill for a salesperson at a boat show is spotting the one in a thousand who might actually order a new boat. You aren't sure you "wanted to have that much tied up in a boat". That's far too practical to make you a good prospect for a $750,000 boat.

Carl
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:25   #13
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimsy View Post
Hard to survive in an environment when you treat your potential customers like dirt. The one boat i wanted to see, the Hylas 49 is the one boat my husband and I have been talking seriously about ordering. We got the spec sheets, pricing, etc over a year ago. This was the first opportunity for me to see it in person and no, I did not have an appointment because I didn't know when I could come by and just needed to see it in person to decide if I really wanted to have that much invested in a boat.

There was one couple speaking with a sales rep in the cockpit. I went below to find 2 sales people sitting on their butts.There was not a another soul aboard. They never introduced themselves or asked if I had any questions. They never even asked for my contact information. The woman- Debra or something was so freaking RUDE to me, all but sneering at me that I hustled off the boat with my mind made up. No way will I be ordering anything from them. If that is how they treat prospective customers I shudder to think how they will treat me after the deposits are made.

People like that do not deserve to survive in business.
Beth and I attended Sunday and Monday....I was treated quite rudely by one of the salepersons at the Moody, but he is just a salesperson, not a company representative I hope......it was not enough to turn me off of purchasing the boat. I can guarantee that if we were serious purchasers, that particular person would not be involved in any way, shape or form.

Now, if I were to contact the factory, set up a tour/information session, and then get the big "snub", then they would be in for a very informal information session, totally one sided, before I left. They would certainly know who the purchaser "WAS"...and who the seller "SHOULD HAVE BEEN".

That being said, we had a wonderful time, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to view differing levels of quality in not only the boats, but the sales persons and factory reps as well. We did not go there with the intent to purchase a new boat, but as I repeated many times, we will be in the market in a few years, and I like to make an educated decision when I spend MY MONEY, and that was why we wanted to tour "their" boat.

Friendly, knowledgeable sales persons can be an asset, while rude, ignorant sales persons are, how can I say this delicately....not worth me taking my shoes off to discuss their product with them. Maybe that sales person doesn't want to be there, may be ill, hung over, sick of stupid questions...but at the end of the day, when we're talking the kind of $$$'s that they want for these things of beauty.....they had better do more than give me a dirty look, appear bored, or just be plain rude.....my money will stay with me, as you have said.

The "painkillers" were very good...especially at level 4 around 3 p.m., the vendor tents were great, I enjoyed every one of them, wish there had been more...what of? doesn't matter..fun to look at new stuff and talk with them.

Annapolis was just the best, the Holiday Inn on Riva rd., their staff were a hoot and fun to talk with, cab drivers were pretty honest, and the many restaurants..well, 6 lbs. in the short time we were there says it all. Red, red wine restaurant was awesome, the crab cakes everywhere were enough to bring us back again, not next year, but in two years.

I could go on and on, hmmm,appears that I already have...bottom line, except for the odd "snot" it was one hell of a show! in my humble Canadian opinion.

One last thing.....It was great meeting all you fellow Canucks!!!

gunk
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Old 14-10-2011, 17:14   #14
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

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Originally Posted by S/V Antares View Post
You need to work a few shows to understand how difficult it is to weed out the gofers's (How much does this boat go fer?)

Just thinking.....
My first post here was about the same self-important and arrogant attitude, along with a public dressing down by a very [fill in your own derogatory phrases] sales person/broker.

To be told to accept such an attitude is wrong. These people, sales or brokers, captains or deck swabs, have a job which is to show and sell the product. There is no filtering needed. It is true, you do not know who will call his finance person and tell them to write a check for a boat right there, as opposed to someone "window shopping". As well as it is true there are many more lookie-loo's.

The boats I looked at last weekend were super nice. The few brokers/sales I talked to were very nice.

My adventures at the power boat show today were even nicer. When I was boarding one boat I happened to overhear the tail end of a conversation between the broker and lookie-loo. They said goodbye. A few seconds later I heard "What did you say the price for this boat is?" The broker yelled down from the helm the price. What he did not hear was a conversation between a man and woman about buying that boat. The man was dressed the same as everyone else - rain soaked wind breaker, T-shirt with something written on it, worn out jeans and bare feet from not having put his shoes back on.

Each and every broker/sales I talked to, about five, were helpful and more than willing to answer questions. My biggest question, for me, is how do I access the engine room/compartment and how big is it? Three out of the five pulled up carpeting and sole plates to show me, along with offering to help me get in to it. That is sales. And they did it knowing I was not going to be buying new. That is sales. They pointed out the best of their boats and also some things they would "correct" if they were buying new or used.

If a person cannot bring themselves to "sell" their product, they need to find another line of work. It takes no effort to say "Hello" with a "My Name is __" followed by a "Can I show you anything? Or would you like to look around first?" But, I understand that boat sales are different because customers need to be ignored and/or abused. Not this girl.

I now have a small number of brokers who I will work with and if possible ask to be my buyer's broker so they get some reward for spending a couple of minutes with me.
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Old 14-10-2011, 17:27   #15
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Show

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Shows are for dreamers.
I think they are far more for buyers (boats are sold at the shows) and for planners.

My wife and I are going to cruise in the future and took the show as an opportunity to see a number of different boats we haven't seen before to see what we like and dislike.
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