Fountaine Pajot: Investing In Dealers


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During Covid’s frenetic period, the main factor behind a soon-to-be owner choosing one yacht brand over the other was, in many cases, the lead time. This was especially true in the catamaran world, where most brands were heavily affected by the supply-chain issues.

In the worst-case scenario, a strong, steady demand for cats led to a jaw-dropping waiting time of two or even three years. For most dealers, the focus shifted to how to find a boat quickly rather than going deep into sales training, product knowledge and competitive advantages, which was acceptable at that time.

Those crazy times are over, as most shipyards have pulled back lead times to pre-Covid levels of a year to a year-and-a-half. Lead time is no longer a trump card. Instead, owners are now digging deeper to make their choice. At Fountaine Pajot, we encourage this in-depth thinking and research because we’re extremely confident in what we build and how we build it.

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By looking closer, owners can discover why Fountaine Pajot has been so trusted over the years in our prime markets such as Europe, US and Australia, and why we believe the brand will continue to expand in Asia. Fountaine Pajot’s growing presence in this region is a strong achievement, but we always remember the brand is relatively new to many markets in Asia and there’s much to do.

We understand the importance of always providing transparent, detailed information to the buyer, answering questions in a timely manner, and ultimately accompanying them through their purchase journey from the sea trial of a demo unit to receiving their own boat.

By knowing the boat inside and out, comparable specs, customisation options and the shipyard’s story, the perks of owning a Fountaine Pajot cat compared to one from another brand suddenly become paramount and will make a difference. This is where the dealer network plays such an important role and why Fountaine Pajot is taking it to the next level.

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Most of our dealers in Asia are long-term boat dealers and experts, but there’s always room for improvement. As such, we keep providing them with the latest training methods and materials to ensure they’re at the top of their game once they’re questioned by a prospect who may have used downtime during Covid to increase their knowledge about what they’re looking for.

The time when a dealer could get away with an ‘easy’ closing is over, so we need to constantly prove to the market that we’re the best in class – and why – from technical features and construction methods to engine specifications and power options. Sea trials need to back this up.

Our dealers will always have the support of the shipyard, but we want them to be as knowledgeable as possible as the front line of the brand’s interactions with clients. To this effect, we’ve launched various programmes since last year to provide greater knowledge to our network.

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For example, those qualified as a Flagship Premium Dealer – able to sell the Samana 59, Alegria 67 and Thira 80 sailing cats, and Power 67 – can follow a ‘5+2 day’ programme at our La Rochelle factory and on water.

For two days, the Fountaine Pajot-dedicated sales broker of each dealer learns topics such as sales contracts, the KYC (know your customer) process, charter operations, sales techniques and more.

There are five days for the associated technicians, increasingly important as our boats become more capable but also complex. Both the broker and technician are specifically appointed by the dealer and vouched for and certified by the shipyard.

This increases the owner’s confidence by ensuring they’ll be always looked after. And after passing the test and being certified, the dealer will have far more confidence in interactions with owners, prospects and shipyard representatives.

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In addition, we have a series of Fountaine Pajot Academy online events open to all dealers. The shipyard has gone to extra lengths to raise this training venture to an industry-leading standard. Throughout the year, there are regular blocks of training on exciting and useful topics, mixed in with engaging quizzes and the chance for a certification, an added motivation.

The first one was focused on the shipyard’s history and its DNA which, which we believe, is a part of the storytelling that dealers should be including in their presentations. The idea here is not to select and separate the dealer according to results and skills but to elevate and even up the global knowledge shared by our network and our key people.

The result is the same. We’re trying to ensure that once a visitor opens the door at any Fountaine Pajot dealership, they will receive the same level of expertise. Whether in Tokyo, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Singapore or Taipei, our network will be ready, waiting and prepared.

Finally, we offer ‘bricks and mortar’ training on site, on the boat and in the classroom. As a trial, we used the Hong Kong International Boat Show late last year as support for our first, post-Covid heavy-duty training, where we could approach all major aspects of the product and its life cycle from order to delivery.

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We provided updated information on the shipyard and product development, although the key elements are our current line of models and the competition our dealers are facing. We make a ‘point of honour’ to never badmouth the competition. This is not who we are.

Every brand out there has something to show and say but we do emphasise the aspects where our boats are best in class, why they’re lighter, why they sail better, and what you find in a Fountaine Pajot that you don’t elsewhere.

We also like those gatherings to be challenging. We know markets tend to be specific, with local quirks and customs that can’t be ignored. As such, those training sessions work both ways and help us to create the most suitable boat for our owners, whether in Southeast Asia or East Asia.

Overall, we enjoy a constant exchange with our dealer network, which brings a sense of unity and family all over Asia. Interactions are not only between the yard and dealers but also within the Asia network itself. The ultimate priority is an elevated purchase and owning experience for our clients, as our dealers look forward to welcoming another Fountaine Pajot to Asia.

KEVIN CORFA

KEVIN CORFA

Head of Asia for Fountaine Pajot and Dufour since 2018, Corfa manages the dealer network across the region for both brands. The Frenchman has been in Asia since 2003, first in Shanghai then Taiwan. From 2010-18, he worked for Peters & May as the general manager of Asia in Hong Kong. Corfa speaks French, English and Mandarin, and is the founder of Embasea Marine Consulting.

kevin@embasea.com
www.fountaine-pajot.com

This article was originally published on yachtstyle.co

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