People are looking for the right fit. Today, we have more choices than ever. Modern luxury equals time and where time is more precious than ever, the yacht client courtship cannot be wasted. When it comes to finding the right working relationship where there is a synergy between ideas, creativity and desires, yacht clients demand excellence and authenticity. Over the years, I’ve learned that the real reason yacht clients go with one design firm over another has to do more with identifying what the client treasures and how it is we can bring value to the relationship, like dating. Clients want to entrust a team of advisors around them who will make their experience, whether it be a yacht charter, finding yacht crew, a new build or a refit, a simple, painless, and enjoyable process.
Simplicity does not mean an “all or nothing approach” by any means. Rather it is precisely the goal to seek after defining, with clarity, one’s expectations. Yacht clients are a sophisticated cultured group, each bringing his or her diverse background, influences and experiences to the table. In addition, the yachts they choose to spend time on are some of the most technologically complex and advanced floating feats of engineering on this planet, comprised of a variety of systems all performing in unison to create the ultimate orchestra of beauty and power. The yachts’ interiors, one more glamorous than the other, reflect and express each owner’s unique personality. Our role is to become the conduit between the process and the finished result, all the while simplifying and navigating a complex working relationship.
As Dale Carnegie reminds us “when dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Just like dating.
To begin understanding what the client really wants, we must sharpen our research and listening skills prior to meeting with them, assuming you even get the opportunity to have a one-on-one encounter. While most affluent clients choose to remain somewhat anonymous, there is a whole plethora of web information that is easily available, accessible and searchable by the public. To gain insight into the lifestyles of the affluent, paying for intelligence gathering resources can have long-term investment value for your business. Attending global conferences devoted to luxury brands and experiences also provide a good base from which to build upon. Taking the time to get to know the client’s crew, captain, family, and passion is also extremely important.
Once you earn a client’s trust, it will be smooth sailing ahead, to be leveraged for the next project, engagement or referral. Good client research is about connecting the dots among all the noise and being able to access and analyze reliable details about the client’s real life, not their net worth. Being prepared and armed with this information will differentiate you from your competitors and doing your homework can mean the difference between a warm introduction and a cold shoulder, like dating.