Archive for March, 2011

My boats under contract now what?

March 25, 2011

After putting your boat up for sale, dealing with showings, negotiations and accepting a price it is finally under contract. WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT? To many times we see a seller simply not take the steps needed to help us get the boat closed and off to its new owner.

For those of you who have not been thru a survey or bought your boat new I will outline the steps you should take to maximize your chance of having a clean transaction. Boat surveys and sea trials are detailed examinations of your boats health and many people are surprised by how in depth they can be.

Steps to increase your chance of a great survey:

CLEAN IT OUT:
-Once contracted find out when the survey is scheduled and come clean your boat off of personal effects that are stuffed in the lockers, fridge, and transom. (Surveyors get grumpy when they have to unpack 10 years of stuff on a boat to get to mechanical stuff)

CLEAN IT UP:
-Schedule a detail or have us schedule that for you. We are not talking about a wax but simply a wash with soap, vacuum the carpets, clean isinglass, one or two days before survey. We want them to form a bond with your boat at survey so give them something to feel proud of.

FILL IT UP:
-We will be testing water systems and running the boat. If your boat has 1 gallon of fuel and no water in the tanks we will have to do that for you and again it’s off to a shaky start. Put water in and have at least 1/4 tank of fuel.

TEST IT OUT:
-You may or may not know if all systems are working so test them before hand. This is the item that we see kill deals. If your boat has not been run or had every system tested, doing so before hand and addressing issues before survey can save you thousands in re-negotiating or a buyer simply rejecting your boat because so many little things did not work.

We in many cases can assist with the steps above but you are going to pay for that time as we are not mechanics and boat detailers. You know your boat better than anyone and we can’t decide for you to fix something today that can save you from losing your deal. Take the time to prepare properly and help us get your boat to the closing table.

Bigger Only If Better

March 22, 2011

One thing I have personally thought a lot about in the last year has been how to make sure as Knot 10 grows the perception of the buyer or seller is BETTER as opposed to bigger or too large. That concern stems from many examples of companies that lose their way and core values as they become larger and more diffuse. I had a great realization and example of how BIGGER can MEAN BETTER in a recent real estate experience when selling our home.

As we shopped 3 different realtors I was most impressed with the largest firm we interviewed. The pitch was right, the information correct & presented well, and the advertising simply better. As we signed the agreement with this firm my only concern was whether they were too large and we would be not given the personal service and handholding a smaller more focused realtor could give us. Within 1 week of listing this concern was GONE and I was so blown away by this companies organization that I knew I made the right decision. 59 days later we sold our home which of course we priced below market and went aggressive to get traffic but the experience with this firm was FIRST CLASS and one I will use to improve our company as we grow. What made the difference was execution, technology, and communication. They actually made being BIGGER being BETTER in my encounter with them and from this I found a clear path of how Knot 10 will strive for the same consistency and experience.

As we have grown from 1 office with 2 people into 3 locations with 7 full-time brokers and 200+ boats I worry about what you the customer perceives us to be. We know what core values have led to our success which have zero to do with a 7% commission. It has to do with the communication, advertising, and clear plan we lay out to sellers that attract the listings. For buyers we know by presenting quality listings with professional layouts, quick phone and email response, and lots of advertising in print that you shop our boats first. But as we grow I can assure you that the focus has to remain on BIGGER equating to BETTER and one way we can do that is to use technology to improve.

We have already invested in a server-based system which allow all of our offices to be networked together so that a broker in CT who knows he has a buyer for a specific boat can key that buyer into our system and match him to a boat a broker in MD may have incoming. We speak with so many buyers and sellers that the need to use this technology was easy to pay for. I have personally made it pay off with buyers we meet at a boat show looking for a boat that we don’t have that day. One month later that boat hits our office and we reach out to the buyer who immediately comes to see it. It pays for itself and as we grow the system works better.

The one place where we will be focusing on is follow-up and communication with our sellers. As a seller you want and deserve feedback. This is probably one of the more challenging aspects for us to improve on but one that I assure you we will get better by using tools that make it easier. I have been investigating and testing programs that allow us to give you automated feedback and history of your boat showings. Getting it right is tricky as no off the shelf systems exist catered to the boating world. There are plenty that exist for Realtors which is how I became exposed to them but getting something that translates to boats is taking a little bit of time and research.

The key point of this blog entry is that we realize that we have a built a company that has enjoyed a rapid rise, fueled only by perception of the customer and execution of the core values by the staff. We have every intent on improving that perception and making sure BIGGER MEANS BETTER today, tomorrow, and many years into the future.

New England Is Knot 10’s Kind Of Market

March 8, 2011

We are just putting away the show crates from a fabulous launch and introduction into the New England market. Coinciding with the New England Boat Show we are thrilled at the overwhelming response and feedback from the customers seeking us out at the show.

The show itself which was a nine day affair was one of the more upbeat and positive environments we seen in some time. Good crowds where found even during the early weekdays. Rich Feinen of Knot 10 New England was in the booth along with General Manager Gary Bouthillette for the opening weekend and the quality and quantity of sellers and buyers encountered was far beyond our expectations. Compared to our launch in the Mid-Atlantic almost exactly 3 years ago this will be an experience that benefits from Knot 10’s already known presence in the industry. Countless customers commented they knew about us already from seeing our printed ads, surfing our website, and were in general thrilled we brought Knot 10 to the New England market. We must say we where equally thrilled to be recognized so quickly from such an early launch into this market. While we shop for an upcoming location, sellers where lining up for a chance to benefit from our market leading photography, marketing, and customer centric approach. Numerous sellers commented on what has become obvious which is that despite a 30% savings in commission when they peel back the layers and look into what makes us different the reason they choose to list with us at such a growing pace has very little to do with commission. The real reason is our $12,000 a month ad budget, presence in print advertising, boat show attendance etc and branded approach that they just don’t see from most brokers.

 Buyers we encountered have made similar comments and that our listings are so varied and presented so well that making the trip to another state for a Knot 10 boat is a trip worth making. Despite the obvious dismay, concerns, headshaking, and wonderment of our competitors with us coming to New England the voice that resonates is that of the market and that voice has spoken loud and clear. We serve a need that is obvious and asked for by our buyers and sellers, not one that serves an old industry standard or old boys network of you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours deal making. Remember we are a company of boaters determined to improve the process of buying and selling boats in every facet and are recognized in our expertise to do so. The fact is we choose to operate on a 7% commission and others can operate on 5, 6, 10, 12 or whatever percent they feel works. We are pretty convinced by the growth, feedback and satisfaction we see in our bosses (you the customer) that a new standard has been set and we are proud to be a part of it.  

 Just another show selling pictures as some like to say but we wouldn’t change a thing and the only question is what market will be the next to leave 10% brokerage fees in their wake?