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Technology Is Changing How You're Buying A Boat

By Robert Bowman | Posted On Jul 10, 2018

Ask any yacht broker that has been around the boating industry for a good while about how things used to work and they will often lament about the days before the internet and what challenges they would face marketing a customer’s boat. There was no Yachtworld, no virtual tours, and certainly no flying drones with cameras attached to them. “Brokers had to really work back then,” they often say. Boats were sold at boat shows or through classified sections in the newspaper. Brokers would spend hours gluing together their photos of boats that would go into their ad in Yachting or Trader magazine. And if an out-of-state customer would call on the boat and start asking for more photos before traveling to see it, the process may take days. Because email and cell phones had yet to be invented, yacht brokers would travel to the boat, take the necessary pictures, go have them developed at the drug store, and then “snail mail” them to the customer. Many times that customer would find a different boat before the pictures ever made it to their mailbox. The seasoned brokers would laugh about the rookies who would forget to make extra copies of the pictures, only to get a call from someone else in a different state who wanted to see what the engine looked like. And so the process continued.

With the dawn of the internet came unimaginable possibilities for the boating industry. Those that adopted the new technology early on flourished and found that not only could the purchase process be sped up through the proliferation of their content, but that these new efficiencies meant that more could be accomplished in a shorter amount of time, giving them the opportunity to service even more clients. Today, customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips which has not only given them more resources to find the boat they want, but more pricing and market info as well . Often times a customer will be just as knowledgeable about a yacht listing and the current state of its value as the broker. Because of this evolution in our industry, professional yacht brokerage firms adopting the latest tools in technology not only have the ability to offer an unprecedented level of visibility to their client’s listing, but the time the boat is on the market is also shortened due to the mass exposure and high-end representation. The team at United Yacht Sales are early adopters of technology and use these tools on a daily basis to help service our clients the best way possible. Here are 3 ways we are using technology to help our clients:

The idea of a yacht broker walking a potential buyer through a boat from a camera on a handheld phone, while the buyer was 5,000 miles away, was simply unfathomable 30 years ago. The development of high-resolution cameras on the latest iphones and the ever-growing access to wifi has given birth to a new, interactive way to show boats to far away clients. Imagine sitting by the fire in Maine during the dead of winter and taking a tour through the cockpit of an Azimut in Miami. At United Yacht Sales, we often take videos of our listings which are then marketed through our emails and online channels. Our brokers go one step further by offering potential prospects the ability to see the yacht from the comfort of their home, while also asking questions in real time. “Our clients really find this to be a great way to see the boat before making the trip to wherever it’s docked,” says Scott White, United Yacht Sales NJ Division Manager. “What better way to see if the boat is going to actually fit your needs. And since we market internationally, we get a lot of customers inquiring from other areas. Using Facetime really makes the process of finding the right boat a lot easier.”

The evolution of live video capabilities through social apps has revolutionized how we all consume information. Anyone with a cell phone and a Facebook account has the ability to become just as powerful as a major television studio. While the public now watches news unfold live via their smart phones, there is a useful side to Facebook Live. The team at United Yacht Sales makes a concerted effort to grow their own social media following with clients, friends, and other boaters. The network buyers and sellers on United’s social media pages are immediately notified any time there is a Facebook Live video which immediately activates interest. Facebook fans are able to ask the United broker questions in real time about the boat, make comments about what they would like to see, and even invite their friends to watch as well. Often times this means hundreds if not thousands of views and engagement on that client’s boat which can then turn into a sale. Just another way United is using technology to help service our customers.

Everyone knows Google is the leader in online search and that includes where most people start their process of researching their next boat. But did you know that 4 out of every 10 adults do at least one search per day by using their voice? In less than two years, analysts predict that HALF of all searches on Google will come from voice search. That is a staggering number considering the amount of people using the search engine on a daily basis. United Yacht Sales makes it a point to stay ahead of the curve with technology and that includes adapting to the changing world around us. By the end of this Summer, all of UnitedYacht.com will be entirely optimized for Voice Search on Google making it easy to find our client’s yachts ahead of the competition.

If you would like to learn more about what makes United a global leader in brokerage yacht sales, please visit our Location Page and contact the team member closest to you. With locations in 16 states and several counties, along with the more than 150 brokers worldwide on our team, United is one of the largest firms in the world. And with over 500 transactions each year, we are one of the most successful too. If you’re interested in selling your yacht or buying a new one, come experience the difference that United has to offer with our industry-leading marketing team and our expert yacht closing assistants that help make the sale or purchase of your boat a positive experience.