Yes Man

During a rather enthusiastic project kickoff, I once told a prominent Naval Architect that I wanted him to design the perfect boat to which he replied “ok, but how will you sell it?”.  He smiled, then (in a rather sad tone) finished with “I learned long ago that the perfect boat is the one that sells”.  As a young idealist that really pissed me off. How could this obviously wise man give up so easy? It’s his duty to educate his consumers and do the right thing! Well if he wasn’t going to do it then I would have to take it upon myself and so the next day I called my (prospective) client and told him that we needed to eliminate a few things, narrow the beam and alter the layout, but that we would have an amazing yacht capable of comfortable cruising in the worst of sea conditions. He listened attentively and I hung up the phone excitedly. A week later he signed with a competitor that was more than willing to fill up the spec sheet with this fellow’s desires.

I could picture the conversation:

Buyer: “I want x,y,z and throw in some of that m,n,o,p,q”

Salesman: “Sure, it will be great, you are obviously an experienced yachtsman”

Buyer: “This 60 footer is a step up from my 28′ walk around, but I’ve been doing a lot of research”

Salesman: “You will be very happy and your resale value will be outstanding, sign here”

I was upset, but I get it. Why would this guy want to deal with me, Mr. Realistic, when all he wanted to hear was from Mr. Sure!?