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Simpson Marine’s Multilingual, Multinational, Staff
Written by Administrator    Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:06    PDF Print E-mail
Simpson Marine has always been forward looking and a step ahead of its competitors; they are proving it again with the hiring of a well-educated Thai broker, Matthew "Matt" P. Na Nagara, and a very savvy and knowledgeable Russian broker, Maksim Volkov.
  Sergio Loiacono, Simpson Marine's Thailand Country Manager in Phuket, explains, "Our main boat owners have always been expats, so we have always had a multicultural and multilingual staff to deal with them; we have always looked for brokers that had the same background and spoke the same language as our prospective boat owners.
  "Not too long ago we decided to focus on the Thai market, which we feel has great potential although it's not a mature market yet. We learned about Matt ironically through an article in SEA Yachting about his family's project in Krabi, the Port Takola marina. He has been with us for about a year now. We found that Thais who have been interested in buying boats from us in the past prefer to deal with fellow Thais even though their grasp of English may be quite good. Many are first-time boat buyers, and they prefer to deal with someone from the same cultural background, someone who can understand their needs and doubts. Our main broker in Malaysia is Malaysian, Simon Theseira based out of Port Dickson, he's had tremendous success and up to 70% of his clients are Malaysian. Also, all our brokers in Hong Kong now are Chinese (either based in Hong Kong or mainland China - Shenzen and Hainan)."
  Matthew says, "We are targeting the Thai elite and the new generation who are looking for different leisure time for their families. Boating is an attractive option for busy Thai business owners who want to reconnect and spend quality with their family, because it's private, adventurous, and creates a unique lasting memory to all family members." Maksim Volkov is Simpson Marine Phuket's Russian broker and he takes his job very seriously. He started with the company in June, and at the recent Ocean Marina Boat Show a local charterer put up signs in Russian, but they were obviously Google translations, done in a rush and just plain wrong. This made Maksim laugh, citing it as an example of how difficult it can be for a non-Russian to do marine business with Russians in Thailand. He previously worked for Azimut in Moscow, Kiev, and Sochi. "If you are going to sell to a Russian, you must think and feel like a Russian," Maksim says. "You must or it won't work. Russians have lots of questions about ownership, and how to transfer the money, they must be very comfortable understanding all the legal requirements if they are going to buy a boat." Maksim even has his own column in RL, a Russian magazine based in Phuket, where he gives advice to prospective boat owners, walking them things like why a boat costs so much.
  Matthew and Maksim can't just be culturally savvy though; they must be knowledgeable about their business and be good brokers as well. And they must have patience and earn their clients' trust, for most of their potential buyers are first-time buyers, and they will have endless questions about boat buying. Both Matthew and Maksim are sowing the seeds for long-time relationships with the Thai and Russian boat-buying markets. It's all about relationships when it comes to buying boats, and that's what the two are cultivating.
  In December, Simpson Marine organized an event with Cavallino Motors, an official Ferrari dealer in Thailand, on consecutive weekends whereby prospective Azimut Yachts and Ferrari clients flew from Bangkok to Phuket, stayed at the Renaissance Resort & Spa Pool Villa in Mai Khao Beach, test drove a Ferrari FF and California in the morning, then sea-trialed the Azimut 47 and 53 in the evening, followed by a canape dinner at the Royal Villa at Royal Phuket Marina. The "Esperienza" event is aimed at giving clients an opportunity to experience Azimut's quality and to get a glimpse into the yachting lifestyle (Esperienza is the Italian name that Cavallino Motors gave to the Ferrari and Azimut event. It means to experience.).