“So, how was the show?”
I’m asked that after every show, every year, and Monaco was no different.
You would get a guarded response from business people in the show that this year’s Monaco Yacht Show was better than expected. A few even thought it seemed like 2007 all over again, in those strong days before the financial collapse. Russian and Middle Eastern buyers once again generated the most leads.
However, success of a yacht show depends on more than suddenly-wealthy men dappling in yachting. We need to look at how we approach the show and how our image is portrayed to attendees. Everyone at the Monaco show is a potential client. After all, a one-day ticket costs 70 euros; there are no tire kickers there.
In Monaco, no one walking down the aisle or the dock should be ignored. They are likely a potential client (or the client of a competitor), perhaps even a competitor, or a crew member or even an owner. The Monaco show is target rich.
I walked the show every day, sometimes by myself, other times with a captain or another business person. Those hours walking around with someone else were the more rewarding. They introduced me to people I didn’t know, showed me things I wouldn’t normally have seen, gave me a richer experience.
Here are a few take-aways, my own and some from others.
* To brokers with gatekeepers at the passerelle: Either educate them on the yacht they are guarding or get a crew member down there. I watched one yacht owner ask a question that the pretty woman didn’t know the answer to. He walked to the next yacht.
* To companies with booths: Open them up. Make the area inviting and get your staff off their cell phones. Unless you are selling an iPad app or a cell phone plan, your booths and employees should be easy to approach.
If employees need to use their cell phones, have them leave the booth. Consider it like a cigarette break. A booth at a trade show has 15 seconds to capture a client walking past.
* To industry pros walking the show: Remember that Monaco is a brokerage show. There were 36 yachts launched in 2012 in the show and more than a billion dollars of brokerage yachts. That make-up was probably mirrored anchored in the harbor. The experience for an owner is paramount. Everyone should be dressed and smiling. We sell an image.
* To everyone else: Monaco is about building relationships. The success of the show for you (remember that question “how was the show?”) is directly related to your effort in building relationships. People want to do business with successful people; Monaco is the yacht industry’s pinnacle of this.
We should be building relationships with the up-and-coming bosuns, mates and second engineers as they move into leadership positions on these ever bigger yachts.
So let’s all take advantage of an industry that will grow this year by more than $100 million (10 percent of that billion dollars debuting in Monaco). Here’s to a great Fort Lauderdale show.