How to Become a Yacht Broker
Find out how to become a yacht broker. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in luxury boat sales.
Do I Want to Be a Yacht Broker?
Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that brokers are also known as sales agents. Yacht brokers deal specifically in the sale of yachts, although some workers may also sell other types of boats. Brokers who specialize in selling yachts must be aware of current trends in the yacht industry, such as information about different types of yachts and how certain yacht manufacturers compare to others. Brokers also require knowledge about the legalities of buying, selling and owning yachts, including both state and federal laws. Many hours of standing might be required for yacht brokers, and they often work evenings and weekends. The sale of boats may be seasonal, depending on the location.
The BLS states that brokers usually require bachelor's degrees to find employment. Yacht brokers may also be considered retail sales agents, and these professionals may only require sales experience and high school diplomas, per the BLS. Certification is not mandatory, but the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA) recommends that yacht and boat sales representatives become certified. The following table indicates some of the most common career qualifications needed for becoming a yacht broker, according to the BLS:
|Degree Level||High school diploma, but bachelor's degree may be required|
|Degree Field||Business marketing, economics or finance|
|Licensure and/or Certification||Licensure required in some states, certification voluntary|
|Experience||Previous sales experience recommended|
|Key Skills||Strong persuasion skills, comfortable working with people, familiar with sales tactics, able to make decisions and willing to work through client rejections|
|Technical Skills||Specific product knowledge (e.g. yacht models, yacht amenities and current yacht price rates)|
|Additional Requirements||Willingness to work irregular hours and on holidays|
Step 1: Take Postsecondary Coursework
Although formal degrees may not be required, taking postsecondary classes in marketing and sales may prove extremely useful to future yacht brokers. Bachelor's degree programs in marketing may offer classes in accounting, business statistics, market research, operational management and marketing strategies. Some programs have internship opportunities, which allow students to learn firsthand about niche market sales, customer service, product design and advertising.
- Take career-related elective classes. It is unlikely for students to find yacht broker classes, but marketing degree programs may have elective courses directed at specific marketing fields. For example, courses in retail marketing may prove useful, since retail marketing can include selling more expensive items, such as yachts. Other elective classes that may prove helpful for future yacht brokers include advertising and promotions, client communications, Internet marketing and sales technology.
Step 2: Get Sales Experience
Yachts, like cars, are often called big-ticket items because they are so expensive, and customers who are buying or selling such pricey items prefer sales associates with extensive experience. Many entry-level sales positions are available that can provide individuals with ample experience. Most entry-level associates go through training sessions shortly after being hired. Some employers provide formal training sessions that involve sales agents learning about product research, in-store safety, store policies, cashiering, sales tactics and promotional deals. Other stores may have more experienced associates train new employees.
- Work up to selling big-ticket items. Selling high-end items can be extremely competitive, since sales agents often work for commissions instead of hourly wages. Rather than starting in such a tense work environment, inexperienced sales agents may want to start out by selling less expensive items. By starting off small, less competition often exists between sales associates, which allows individuals to develop their marketing skills. As individuals become better sales agents, they can advance into selling more expensive items, per the BLS.
Step 3: Obtain Necessary Licenses
Not all states require yacht brokers or boat sales agents to obtain licenses. States that do require these workers to obtain licenses may ask for proof of previous sales experience, specifically experience while working under a licensed broker or sales agent. Some states also require brokers and sales agents to pass background checks and submit to being fingerprinted. As part of the licensing process, yacht and boat brokers may also have to take out surety bonds to protect themselves and clients financially. Brokers usually have to display their licenses in their places of employment. Additionally, licensed yacht brokers or sales agents have to renew their licenses in accordance with state guidelines.
Step 4: Become Certified
Several recognized organizations, such as the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA), recommend that individuals becoming certified professional yacht brokers (CPYB). Eligibility requirements for CPYB certification include at least three years' experience in sales and yacht brokerage, proof of appropriate trust or escrow accounts, a history of using legal sales contracts, no criminal background and possession of all necessary licenses. Upon meeting eligibility requirements, individuals may take certification exams, which include questions about broker transaction processes, legal reports, yacht broker ethics, sales regulations and yacht broker responsibilities.
- Maintain certification. According to the CPYB website, certified professionals must renew certifications every three years. As part of the recertification process, individuals must acquire the minimum of 30 units worth of continuing education courses.
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