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IYC Consultant Spotlight: Mark Elliott’s Secrets to Success

IYC Consultant Spotlight: Mark Elliott’s Secrets to Success

4th June 2024

With over 25 years at IYC and a passion for yachting from a young age, Mark Elliott is one of the industry's most accomplished and experienced sales and charter consultants. His impressive career spans from his early days as a Captain to hitting impressive milestones such as 41 yachts sold over the past nine years (2015-2024), comprising 13% of all IYC deals. His invaluable understanding of what makes an exceptional yachting experience and his relationship-building skills are a testament to his success. 

We chat with him about his career journey, developments at IYC, some of his latest listings, and what makes a good consultant.

In your 25-plus years, how have you seen the brokerage industry develop?

We've gone from salespeople walking the docks now creating online content for internet presence; it's really changed quite a bit over the last few years. Back in the day, you had to have a broker to find a yacht. The systems didn't exist, and we used a product called ‘Buck Book,’ which even lacked photographs. Currently, everybody can look online; they can shop without a broker, so that whole aspect has changed dramatically. 

How do you think these changes have impacted the industry?

As I mentioned, buyers can now do their own shopping. Often, they don't use a broker making many mistakes when buying. A broker's advice can save you a lot of money, and time and prevent headaches. 


Referring to listings, what type of yachts do you usually focus on?

I have a wide range of listings, all different sizes. My favorite yachts are between 100 and 200 feet; that's my sweet spot. Right underneath that 500-ton mark has been great for me. I have boats from 42 feet up to 242 feet, so quite the range. I love the higher pedigree yachts as well, the Dutch and German builds in particular. 

Can you give some examples of your current listings?

At the moment, I have one of the most iconic boats ever built, the 240’(73.15m) LAUREL. I love this boat; she's a classic lady with the highest pedigree and one of the most elegant yachts at sea. The yacht has a unique design with a steel hull and composite superstructure, with quality you rarely see. I also have a newer yacht named ATOMIC (209’/63.7m) in brand-new condition. It has a stunning interior and a recent $5 million price drop. For a composite buyer, I have a great completely refitted fiberglass yacht, the beautiful 145’ (44.2m) TANZANITE

What would you say your most memorable deal has been?

Probably FLORIDIAN, originally called AUSSIE RULES. I sold that yacht based on a sketch on a napkin during dinner with my client. It used to carry a sportfishing boat on the back, so when I was with the client, I sketched out a helicopter pad in its place. We flew over to Europe, spent an hour looking at the yacht, and then flew back - the quickest trip to Europe ever! This has resulted in the building one of the largest commercially certified helipads on any yacht. Then we sold it about five years later for around an $8 million profit; we enhanced its value and built such a cool yacht; I was very proud of this achievement. 


You certainly set the precedence high for helicopters; can you tell us more about your passion for them?

Helicopters are one of my passions; I am also an avid pilot! If you want to buy a yacht with a helicopter or build a yacht with a helicopter pad on it, I'm the guy you should call. I was one of the pioneers in flying and landing helicopters from yachts. I got fortunate connecting with Bernie Little, who loved helicopters and became his yacht Captain. I had been a pilot when I started working for him, and I ran several boats with helipads and built several yachts with helipads. There's no more exciting way to go to and from a yacht than a helicopter. There are so many amazing things you can do with them onboard, from sightseeing to shopping, emergency evacuations, and so much more. I also have a seaplane for the same purposes; I can always get to the yachts easily wherever they are. 

When it comes to your clients, how do you nurture these relationships?

Many of my clients stem from when I was a Captain and some of the people I worked for. Being a Captain, I developed relationships with not only the owners of those boats, who helped me tremendously, but also the charter clients I had, who also helped me, and that is how I first got started. A huge part of my business is referrals. I like to be able to sell a yacht more than once, which is a sign of a good broker. I call it a trifecta - if you sell a yacht three times, you've done a great job. I have many clients over the years and consider them friends for life.


How was your transition from Captain to brokerage?

As a Captain, I had the ultimate job flying helicopters and seaplanes on the yachts that I Captained and wondered how it could get any better. I felt I had reached the pinnacle of that career. I was settling down in my personal life, so I decided to change direction and move ashore, and that's when I decided to be a broker. My last Captain’s job was for a family who was connected with the original purchase of what then later became the IYC brokerage, so it was natural I stayed with the family. When I retired as Captain, I started up an office in St Barth and one in Newport, Rhode Island; then I joined Fort Lauderdale - this was the very start of IYC. I then continued in its development and started the company's first management and charter yachts and built our fleet. 

Being involved in IYC from the beginning, can you explain what sets the company apart?

I always say it's the good people. There are a lot of sharks in this industry, and IYC has consistently been above board and played fair. I have zero lawsuits, and that's the whole idea: to do your best, be fair, and never cut any corners. I'm really enjoying being with IYC. They take care of me, and I of them, and it's been wonderful. I love all the people involved. 

In your opinion, how do you ensure the perfect yacht charter experience?

For me, the Captain and crew are 50% of the charter's success, and the yacht is the other 50%. When you have a great Captain who hires a great crew, you can feel chemistry when you walk onboard. When I was a Captain, we gave guests an over-the-top show and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, no matter how hard it was to work those long days. We gave charter guests the ultimate adventures - going into volcanoes, jumping off waterfalls, surfing the big surf, diving in unusual places, and we would teach everything to the guests onboard: a new experience and adventure - that is what a yacht charter is all about. 

How do you maintain such motivation after 25-plus years?

I love what I do. I'm passionate about yachting and flying. When it works, it really works. At some point, I will slow down, but I don't think I will ever retire. I enjoy what I do, the places I travel, the camaraderie, the people in the business, and the whole process. 


What are your thoughts on the future of IYC?

I'm very excited about IYC's growth. We're now getting more global exposure and putting IYC more on the map than ever. I'm enjoying watching it grow and expand, seeing our visibility at yacht shows, and the name recognition that goes along with that; people know who we are. 


To contact Mark about his latest listings, and to chat more with him click here. 


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