This week we spoke to Valentino Frosio from Valbroker, a sub-dealer for Absolute Yachts from Sanremo to Rome and Fairline dealer for the Maggiore, Garda and Como lakes. He has years of working experience in the industry which has built his reputation to be able to sell the best models of boats for sale in the Mediterranean. To quote their website: “Valbroker makes sure that your choice is only among the best brands, with excellent value for money.”
Valentino has used Boatshop24 as a platform to sell boats for a number of years so we had a chat about how he feels that the market is changing and what they’ve done to stay ahead of the game.
Can you tell us about yourself and your business?
I was raised in Kenya and my family were involved with deep-sea fishing activity near Tanzania. Our family always used boats and I worked as Captain on various diving boats around different oceans.
Valbroker began in 2007 after a very successful five years sales training at Cantieri Nautici Solcio spa, on Lake Maggiore near Switzerland, where we were the exclusive importers of the English brand Sealine and the Norwegian brand Windy.
When the economical world crisis arrived in 2008 / 2009 the Italian new boat market collapsed and here at Valbroker, we were first to focus on the more challenging used boat market. Most of our clients are from the European Northern countries, in particular Germany, Holland, Sweden, UK, Norway and so on, because the prices in Italy are good and the Mediterranean boat specifications include upgraded generators, air conditioning, teak and leather interiors.
Our team can write and speak in German, English, French and Spanish, making it much easier for us to serve the full European audience. We are also able to deal with the complete process of a sale purchase including removal of the Italian flag, transportation of all the Europe by truck or ship and the full network of qualified surveyors, engineers and the nautical paper works agencies.
How has the boat broker industry changed over the last 10 years?
Ten years ago, clients used to go around the Marinas during weekend looking to buy their boats, for sale signs used to be placed in the aft of the boat and the market was very reactive. Gradually, with the strong advent of the internet and in particular in the last few years with the growth of smartphones, requests and offers are often made by email. This increases the office work but enables a larger number of people to buy and sell boats without going to Marinas.
Have you noticed any changes to the Italian market over this time?
From 2010 to 2013, a lot of boats were for sale at low prices but there were no buyers, due to the economical climate. Gradually as the financial crisis started to end, the number of our enquiries gradually increased thanks to Boatshop24.
How have you adapted your business to the industry and market changes over recent years?
We were one of the first companies to understand the importance of the internet and to have a good website, combined with a good international reputation and a team of qualified professionals dealing, this helped us to grow slowly but continuously.
How do you think the market will change in the next 10 years?
The majority of the shipyards, in particularly in Italy and Spain, due to the crisis closed and hardly no new boats were produced and sold around Europe from 2009 till 2015 in the range of 42- 60 feet. So there hasn’t been any turn over in the used market and now the business started to up again. New boats will be sold and a lot of small modern design shipyards are growing strongly thanks to technology and fuel consumption awareness.
How do you ensure you are delivering excellent service to all of your clients?
We have a feedback area on our website. We highly recommend that our clients, after the buying or selling process, give their opinion on their experience with Valbroker and we hope that with their help and advice we can do even better.
What are your top tips for being a successful broker?
I think it’s important to be fair, to try to evaluate the point of view of both the buyer and seller, and to try and act as a referee. It’s crucial to bear in mind that the client who is now buying a boat will hopefully use you to sell the boat again in the future!
You have been using Boatshop24.com to advertise your boats for a number of years - what does Boatshop24 offer that makes you keep using our service?
Boatshop has been reliable over the years, a constant number of clients use this portal to find boats. Some smaller portals are successful at the beginning but fade within months, so we rely on Boatshop24 for constant success.
What impact have you noticed by having adverts on Boatshop24.com?
We always have positive and continuous feedback for Boatshop24. Our clients that come through their site are reliable and good customers. They also bring in interested clients throughout the year, in winter and in summer.
Any last comments?
I would like to thank Boatshop24.com for the opportunity that gives to me to put my business on display in the brokerage world.
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