In a challenging market, deciding which broker will handle the sale of your yacht is a key decision as whoever you choose will need to be nimble and effective to find a new owner for her at market value within a reasonable timespan.
A lot is said about commission rates. These only become relevant once a buyer is found, and if the yacht remains unsold, a favourable commission rate is wholly irrelevant.
At Berthon, we aim to provide a thorough, practical and efficient service for yacht sales. We believe that there are a number of components which are necessary to succeed in the market:
Experience and Product Knowledge Berthon Sales Group brokers have all been in post for a number of years and a broker who is a specialist in their area manages each part of the market. The Team is the glue that holds the business together; so whether you are selling an explorer yacht in the South of France, a racing yacht in Newport, Rhode Island, a bluewater mile muncher in Spain, a cruising yacht in Scandinavia or a yacht that is handled by us anywhere in the world, you will receive our total support and commitment to achieve a positive result.
We are members of the YBDSA (Yacht Brokers, Designers & Surveyors Association), MYBA (Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) and YBAA (Yacht Brokers Association of America) and co-operate with other international brokerage houses around the world. We enjoy a great relationship with the brokerage community with around 35% of our business generated by joint deals with other brokerage houses. Another broker bringing a client will be paid between 50% and 70% of the commission depending on the office and sale with which they are involved – thereby we encourage other brokers to bring their clients to Berthon. We write to around 60 globally-based brokerage houses monthly to update them about our central listings. We also use local agents in areas like the Eastern Mediterranean, Oceania and Asia to ensure that our service levels are maintained wherever in the world your yacht is.
Contract and title
Unlike an estate agent, the broker does all the contract work too. The numbers are significant and therefore accuracy and knowledge are essential. Of course we hold full PI cover, but more importantly, we typically use a sales contract exclusively drafted for Berthon by the maritime law division of Hill Dickinson, our London-based solicitors, the MYBA contract and in the USA – the YBAA contract. These contracts are regularly updated as regulations change. We are also able to advise on VAT, RCD and a myriad of other issues that arise when transacting yachts.
We have separated client accounts for all yacht transactions in £, € and US$s. However, it is also comforting to know that the Berthon Sales Group is part of the Berthon Group; which has no bank debt and is a net lender. Berthon Boat Company and the other companies in the Berthon Group are successful sister companies. This financial strength also enables us to assist with currency trades and other processes of this type.
Preparation of Particulars
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of comprehensive and technically accurate particulars in the sales process. Yacht buyers have access to an enormous amount of choice and your yacht needs to stand out in terms of information available and pictorial content. We are used to taking running shots of yachts to enhance particulars and sourcing photographic material to show yachts to their best advantage. Video walk throughs are now an essential part of the process and we have a dedicated videographer who assists with this. We are also using FaceTime for virtual viewings as we recognise that yacht buyers are busy people and this helps them to move forward with certainty when they book travel.
An essential part of any modern sales organisation’s marketing programme. We have a dedicated marketing team whose job it is to manage your yacht’s promotion on the various websites that we use – Yatco, YachtWorld, The Yacht Market and other specialist websites as appropriate. All particulars are kept up to date in real time. In addition our digital marketing manager is optimizing our site continuously and maintaining our Berthon blog and a myriad of social media accounts. The Berthon website is heavily optimised on an ongoing basis to provide good search results, making your yacht very visible in the online market place.
At Berthon we have been around a long time and whilst over 55% of our yacht buyers are repeat clients or referrals, we need to continue to generate new enquiries. Magazine advertising remains a key way of accomplishing this. We consider that it is an indispensible part of any successful marketing campaign. We advertise in Yachting World, Boat International, Motorboat & Yachting, Yachting Monthly and Seahorse. We also advertise in local publications in the USA, Sweden, France and Spain. We have annual campaigns in all these covers with positional guarantees and the Berthon pages are professionally set so that your yacht looks her best. Our text you will find is quite original. We also advertise in relevant lifestyle magazines from time to time as well as reprinting our Winter Collection of brokerage offerings in Yachting World’s February issue – traditionally the largest issue of the year.
Another key part of the brokers’ sales armoury. We put out a Berthon Blog monthly, featuring happenings at Berthon and news about our listings and sales, which has a circulation of around 10,000 yachtsmen. In addition, we publish a Market Report annually in soft copy for our client base which is an all encompassing review of the market from Berthon’s perspective. We also print and send out an annual lifestyle magazine which is called the Berthon Book. This publication carries all the yachts that we have for sale and this coffee table magazine provides great coverage for the Berthon fleet. All these promotions are managed in house and are written and put together by the Sales Team with our promotion designers, and not farmed out to a PR house, as we believe that those working in our business understand how best to bring it alive. Uniquely, the articles in the lifestyle magazine are written for us by our own clients and no stock articles ever appear.
These are a fact of life and Berthon can be found at the Southampton Boat Show, The Cannes Boat Show and the Newport Boat Show in September. Annapolis follows. In January we have a significant presence at the Dusseldorf Boat Show. Here we are supporting our new yacht commitments as around the world we represent (to name a few) Pearl, Solaris, Rustler, Moody and Iguana. However during these events, there is always the opportunity to discuss our brokerage fleet. Berthon participates in the Palma Superyacht Show annually which is the main brokerage show for larger sailing and motor yachts in the Mediterranean, as well as attending a number of local shows around the world where we have offices annually.
Events & Sponsorship
At Berthon we recognise that profile is important, and we therefore, support events like the World Cruising Club’s Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and we host the Bluewater Weekend at Berthon annually with our friends at World Cruising. We are also brokers for the Ocean Cruising Club. These promotions emphasize our commitment to the various market sectors that we specialise. This increases our marketing reach whilst putting something back into these events. Our Performance Yacht Broker is present at major yachting regattas every year.
Customer Relationship Management
At Berthon, we have a custom built data handling system called BOB which holds all the information about the yachts that we have for sale and the yacht buyers with whom we are working. This enables us to match suitable yachts to clients and to keep them updated about your yacht, which is an invaluable tool for our brokers. We can also catalogue marketing activity so that every yacht has a complete sales profile being built on her all the time. This system is written, managed and updated by our in-house IT manager so that it continually adapts to meet the changing needs of the market.
We consider that the sale of your yacht as a voyage that we undertake with you as the owner. We will therefore be in touch regularly to update you on where we have got to with the sale, to discuss market conditions with you and to assess how she is being received in the market. In this way you are in a position to make an informed decision when an offer is made on your yacht.
These components give you a proactive platform for the sale of your yacht. We prefer to do the job thoroughly and charge a proper commission rather than charge less, and reduce the level of service offered. In our view, in a difficult market it is important to have every weapon possible available in your sales armoury. We are committed to continuing to provide this level of service and we are looking constantly at ways of improving it. This is why Berthon works on normal international commission rates.
Call Berthon on 01590 679222 to discuss the purchase or sale of your yacht.