Are you a boat owner who wants to sell your boat fast? The most important thing to know then is: why sell fast? This is critical to know because it drives the entire sales process.
For example, here are two different situations that shows why a fast boat sale needed to take place:
- A sailboat owner got a new job and was leaving the country in four weeks. He was almost to the point of giving the boat away if it didn’t sell. You can see how this motivated him to sell fast. He needed it closed in less than one month which became more even important than the sales price.
- The decedent’s estate had to sell a boat for the proceeds. The boat’s condition was deteriorating because of disuse. Suddenly, the annual berthing contract renewal came due. The sale became more pressing to avoid imposing visitor berthing rates under a short-term boat berthing contract. Berthing rate increases and declining value accelerated the need to sell.
We find boat owners generally fall into one of three categories. We ask clients which one of the following statements best describes them.
a) I want to sell my boat now, at the highest price possible.
b) I’m not in a hurry to sell but if the right price comes along, I’ll sell it.
c) My boat is worth XYZ so that’s what I’d expect to get for it.
Above, you can see both these boat owners had powerful reasons to sell really quickly. One was to the point of giving their boat away rather than deal with a long-distance transaction. And the other was watching the heirs’ inheritance dwindle because of holding costs and depreciation. So what are some of your options for getting a boat sold quickly?
Options to Sell Your Boat Fast
1. Price it Right
It goes without saying, the lower the price, the faster the boat will sell. If it is a good boat at the right price, it will be easy to sell your boat fast.
There are four ways to sell a boat. And any of these four ways can provide fast results, if you have your boat priced right.
- Do-It-Yourself (DIY) — after listing it on websites, drop the price, relist it, and repeat until sold.
- Appoint an Agent — have them drop the price and continue to relist it until it sells.
- List with a Traditional Boat Broker — have them drop the price and continue to relist it until it sells.
- List with a Digital Boat Brokerage that provides Enhanced Brokerage — pick the best boat pricing and define the sale strategy, list it and sell it.
Giving a boat away is something owners consider for disposing of an older, run-down vessel where boat end-of-life problems can be costly.
However, like most boat owners continuing to drop the price isn’t an option you want to pursue. First, you don’t want to appear desperate or lose face. Secondly boat owners deserve to get a figure that is much closer to the boat’s market value.
What are your other options?
2. No Reserve Online Auction
Rather than giving your boat away consider a no reserve online boat auction. A 7-day, no reserve online auction generates high levels of excitement and bidding activity. Your boat sells and probably at a higher price than the giveaway option above.
However, it is not for the faint-hearted, but it is certainly suitable in some situations. This is how our sailboat owner above, sold at a reasonable price which was much more than he expected. Most importantly, it sold very fast, and he was able to move on with his life. Hopping on that plane to his new job, new country, without worry of a long-distance transaction. One happy boat seller.
3. Reserved Online Auction
Similarly, you could start an online boat auction with an opening bid of $1. The confidential reserve price you set is met before the boat transacts. You promote the event with paid marketing to generate maximum exposure. Implementing a 2–3-week marketing campaign creates excitement, awareness, and most importantly, bids for your boat. Spending USD 1–200 per day on marketing gets the word out for pre-auction viewings, offers and bids.
4. List Your New-To-The-Market Boat at a Price It Will Sell
A recent example here is a 21’ bowrider boat bought 18 months previously. For the last 3–4 years these boats have been difficult to sell because there aren’t many buyers in the market. Our boat owner client did some great cosmetic renovations to it as well as engine servicing. The boat was in ship shape.
The owner saw how the boat market had softened so he decided to sell. His boat sold in less than 7-days because it was priced perfectly for the market at that time.
He recouped his initial investment and all the renovation costs. He didn’t make a huge profit on the boat, but it was a highly successful idea and strategy to exit the small boat market at that time.
5. List Your New To The Market Boat As Price On Application (POA)
If your boat is new to the market, a strategy that often works well is promoting your new listing without a price, or POA. A benefit of this approach is you will likely get more inquiries than an overpriced fixed price. Some owners price above the market value for negotiation room. A benefit of this POA approach is you will get price feedback from the market about the value of your boat. It is very important to get price feedback, so you have the correct data to make your next move.
6. Lead Generation Campaign
Lead “gen” campaigns are sophisticated digital and social marketing strategies to get eyeballs on your boat for sale. Boat digital marketing is a specialised discipline including:
- focused target marketing,
- sales funnels,
- funnel performance metrics and
- sales pipeline management that produces guaranteed results.
Those results include guaranteed inquiries or guaranteed offers/price feedback on the value of your boat for sale.
However, a lead gen campaign is often the type of boat sale that everyone loves and wants, boat owners, boat brokers and buyers. The boat sells very fast, with little effort, at a good price. Frequently the boat sells before it is officially on the market.
Boat owners use lead gen to sell a boat at a good price in 3–6 months. It is not for boat owners testing the market or waiting for the “right price” to come along.
If you don’t know the market value of your boat a lead gen campaign will produce 4 times the offers or price feedback. This is valuable if you want to know what the market will pay for your boat. Then you can make your next move: either keep or sell your boat.
7. Prepare A Plan At The Start Of Your New Boat Listing
Having your Plan B ready to put into action if your boat doesn’t sell in the first 3–4 months is important. Especially if you truly want to sell your boat without delays. And ideally, that Plan B should be more than “you should reduce the price” often heard in a traditional boat sale. In this case, you don’t have any other tools in your toolkit. You can’t stimulate inquires and offers for your boat except by promoting a price reduction.
We like to involve our boat owners who want to sell early in creating a Plan B.
This is so that you don’t:
- waste time and money,
- incur more boat depreciation,
- pay unnecessary boat holding costs and
- get nasty cost surprises.
And because you can put your Plan B in place fast, you minimize or avoid the “sit and wait” time to a sale. Using Enhanced Boat Brokerage involves a team of boat marketing experts: project managers, digital marketing experts, yacht advisers and boat brokers to get the boat sold.
Let’s take a closer look at Plan A & Plan B on the above diagram.
Plan A. Seller crosses fingers for an “OMG that’s Amazing!!!” boat sale within 1–3 months. Then the next step often is to sit and wait and wait. Then, reduce the price and wait. The cycle repeats until your boat finally sells.
Implement Plan B as soon as it’s obvious that it’s not going to sell quickly, about 3 months after listing.
Execute Plan B.
a) Price the boat for sale. Or aim to get price/market feedback so you can make your move without worry of how long it will take to get an offer.
b) Agree on the plan for how to get eyeballs on your boat to generate inquiries.
c) Listen to the price feedback. After a minimum number of offers or price feedback decide your next step. Accept the offer and sell your boat, take your boat off the market, or wait for the right price to come along.
Lastly, how to sell your boat slowly
Here are some common pointers that result in a slow sale:
– Waiting to time the market.
– Having a fixed price in your mind.
– Not counter-offering when you receive an offer.
– Overpricing your boat initially.
– Not keeping updated photos, videos, and documentation.
If you’re happy to go with the flow and keep your boat if it doesn’t sell, then Plan A works well. But the focus of this article is for people who want to sell their boats fast and at a good price.
If you want to sell your boat fast and at the best price the market will bear, we provide a complimentary Boat Sale Strategy Session. We’ll help you understand the three things that you should be doing right now. If you want to find out how to triple your boat inquiries, viewings and offers in 90 days, click HERE to make a time to Zoom.
About BASCO Boating
BASCO is the most reliable and effective boating platform in Asia-Pacific. We strive to address issues faced by the boating community in the traditional boat brokerage by investing our time to understand our clients and their needs so as to provide accurate information and present our best practices to help them achieve their innermost dreams about life at sea.
BASCO consists of 3 divisions, BASCO Connect, BASCO Advise, and BASCO Trade.
Through our “BASCO With You” services we:
- Educate boat deciders/searchers about boating and boat buying.
- Assist buyers buy boats.
- Help boat owners sell and maintain their boats.
- Aid boat service providers get more work and grow their businesses.
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