When was the last time you saw the person who sold you your car? Probably when you waved good-bye into the rearview mirror on your way out of the dealership. Modern Yachts does things differently. Buy a boat from the 40-year-old boating retailer, which has locations in Westhampton, Mattituck and Hampton Bays, and you’ve met some new teachers, expert guides and even friends.
“With us, we want to show you the whole package, not just how the boat runs but how to actually run the boats in our waters,” sales manager Matt Levy said. “I think that separates us a little bit and builds some credibility with our clients.”
Buying the boat is just the start. Next, the Modern Yachts team will get a customer comfortable using it. After taking the new boat operator out on the water for a lesson or two with a captain who knows the specific boat and the waters like the back of his hand, it becomes a family affair. The proud owner’s family will learn how to anchor a boat and some local areas they’ll love boating in.
“It allows them to feel a little more comfortable because everybody’s worried,” Levy said. “I think, especially out here where there’s some of the most successful people on earth, they don’t want to be caught not knowing how to do something that they can see other people do, so what we do is take that guessing game out.”
Modern Yachts answers all important at-sea questions like, “What’s for lunch?” and “Where should I boat next?” About 15 years ago, the retailer introduced a concierge service to get people to break out of their wining-and-dining comfort zones.
“One of the ideas with the concierge service was to set customers up with certified captains to run them to different areas and help them branch out from just going to the same restaurant, just going to the same area,” Levy said.
But Modern Yachts does more than tell people where to eat. Want to fish?
“We’ll actually set one of our captains who knows local fishing up with a guy who wants to know how to do that,” Levy said.
Wakeboarding? Same thing. If a customer is concerned about safety, Modern Yachts has a captain who is also a police officer. New to the game? There’s a couple of full-time teachers who act as captains during their summer vacations on staff.
“We try to specialize it to each customer, and I think that helps a lot,” Levy said.
Once, Modern Yachts took a customer, who spent his entire life working in Manhattan but had never seen it from the water, on a birthday cruise around the Hudson River. The retailer hired a photographer and helicopter pilot so the whole high-end affair could be photographed, then framed the photos so he and his family would remember it forever.
“It was a special thing. He worked his entire life to get a boat like this,” Levy said.
When was the last time a car salesman did that?