It is time for another Val Wyatt Marine staff profile! Next up, it is Sales Broker Chris Bow. Grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy…

Hi Chris, what can I get you to drink?

We make a great flat white in our coffee shop, so one of those please! 

Perfect. Could you provide a quick overview of your role at Val Wyatt Marine?

Sure. I’m currently Sales Broker and I have worked here for the past three years. Up until recently, I enjoyed a split role, where I also spent some time working outside with the yard team, lifting boats out of the water, and assisting with maintenance projects.

As you can imagine, the spring and summer months are busiest for the sales team, because people are more interested in purchasing boats once the weather improves, including friends of boat owners that have spent time out on the river. As we are such a small team, we all look to help each other where we can at different times of the year. Variety is the spice of life! 

In terms of sales, do you work with customers from their first line of enquiry?

Yes, absolutely. I will manage the customer throughout the entire customer journey – from initial conversations about their requirements, to finalising budgets, to exploring different options and models, to choosing specs and colours, to preparing the vessel, to handover. I can also manage the contracts of any deal, however, our office manager Suzanne is by far the best at doing that, so we leave the majority of that to her! 

In addition, other duties might include liaising with people looking to sell their boats, valuing them, managing trial runs, and photographing different vessels and writing up the specs for the website. 

As a salesperson, I feel incredibly lucky that we can offer our customers the very best boats on the market – it makes my role a lot easier – and we can stand by the quality of the vessels we sell. 

That must be important because it is a significant investment for people to make.

Yes, you’re right. Everybody working at Val Wyatt Marine loves boats, and we are all committed to providing the very best service possible – whether that is during the sales cycle, to mooring and marina services, to those people visiting our site and enjoying the facilities. 

Whether you’re delivering a service to a technical expert and boating enthusiast, or a complete novice that doesn’t know how to tie a line, it is vital to develop that trust.

What changes have you witnessed due to the pandemic?

There has certainly been an increase in the number of enquiries. As you would expect, so many people are reticent about booking overseas holidays due to travel restrictions. The result is a growth in staycations, which obviously includes boating holidays.

In the same way, many more people are now discovering the river, from those choosing to use paddleboards right up to larger boats. This has been a small positive in what has been a difficult period for many people.

Have you always wanted to work in this sector and where do you see yourself in five years?

Before joining Val Wyatt Marine, I worked at a classic boat company down in Henley-on-Thames, which is where I gained initial experience in boat sales and maintenance. Before working with boats, I was a police officer in Reading. I have huge respect for all my former colleagues, however, after a certain amount of time I realised it wasn’t the career for me.

Looking ahead, we are achieving great things at Val Wyatt. Despite being a relatively small marina, our reputation is growing incredibly quickly, and we are all working hard to continue this growth.     

Big question: what is your favourite boat from the Val Wyatt portfolio?

If I was lucky enough to be gifted a boat, I’d always pick the Intercruiser 29. It is spacious, versatile, and perfect for extended cruising – including offshore! 

Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy being on the river, of course. Away from the water, I like indoor climbing and cycling (when I can find the time!) Other than that, I like exploring different pubs and restaurants at the weekends. 

That is right up my street! Thanks for talking with us, Chris.