Meet the Staff: Q&A: Chris Siess

By and Chris Siess
Updated 2:33 PM ET, Mon August 11, 2014
Meet the Staff: Q&A: Chris Siess
Chris Siess

Licensed Regional Sales Manager

Resides: Richmond, VA

Started with POP Yachts: September 2012

Q. How did you get into boating?
I've been a really hard-core fly fisherman pretty much my whole life. With that obviously comes a lot of boating. My parents got their first boat when I was in my mid-teens, and they've had a couple others since then. We had family vacations to outer banks, and I'm on the water quite often.

Q. How did you get involved with POP Yachts?
I was laid off from a previous sales job, and I saw a job posting for a regional sales rep here in Virginia. That was almost two years ago, and I've worked my way up to manager and central sales rep.

Q. Is selling boats more or less challenging than other sales jobs?
It is easier in that people come to us because they want to purchase a boat. We're not trying to force or convince someone to buy it because they need it to live or succeed in their job or make their business run better. It's nice that people are reaching out to us because this is something they want to get into and have the expendable income to do it. We are, in fact, selling fun. It can be challenging in that some people can be extremely picky. Everyone has a different idea of what they want and sometimes matching that up with our inventory can be a bit of a challenge.

Q. What does it take to be a good salesperson for POP Yachts?
A lot of persistence, ability to put the time in, being very customer service related and having a positive attitude and ability to deal with some potentially difficult folks. You've got to have a love for this stuff as well. In my previous role, I sold software, and I didn't really like it. I'm sure that didn't really help. I like boats, and talking to people about them and what they're going to do on them is very fun. Having at least an interest in this is extremely helpful.

Q. How do you think POP Yachts sets itself apart in the industry?
We offer an opportunity for sellers to sell their boat that no other broker that I have found can offer. We will allow them to have a contract that doesn't lock them into anything in terms of timeframe; they can sell their boat on their own; and we offer an advertising campaign for each and every boat that's, to my knowledge, unmatched.

Q. Tell us about an interesting sale you've had.
I sold a 2009 Active Thunder 37 Excess speedboat to a guy in Chile, which was really cool because my grandfather is Chilean. It was pretty exciting to go on the test drive where he said he needed video of it doing close to top speed. So we took it out on the James River in February in Virginia, which is not warm. And at 90 mph, I had to video it on my camera and hopefully not lose the camera or fall out of the boat myself! There were a lot of logistics to work out, but overall the guy got it and he was happy with it.

Q. Are there challenges to selling boats in your part of the country?
Virginia has everything: lakes, rivers, beaches, the bay. It's not a challenge to find people who want to buy a boat. Sometimes there's a fair amount of drive time to get to them.

Q. So what do you like to do when you're not working?
I'm fly fishing and riding my dirt bike and trying to have more fun than everyone else.

Q. What's something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I grew up on a farm with pet peacocks. My mom purchased them from another farm and thought they would be cool as pets.

Q. Were they cool pets?
They were awesome! They stayed outside and we fed them cat food or bird seed and they'd eat peanut butter off your fingers so I was known as the guy who had peacocks as pets. They were better than dogs they'd make this great sound if someone came up. And they sort of had personalities you could call them and they'd come running around the house.

Q. What were their names?
Winchester, Cameo and Beatrix, and Winchester and Beatrix had baby Rick. I named that one.

Q. That story is amazing! So what do you like about working for POP Yachts?
I absolutely love the flexibility it provides. It's extremely nice to not have to work in an office, but still be able to communicate with co-workers and upper management. It's definitely my favorite thing about POP Yachts - definitely the biggest perk.

Q. So you have flexibility, but you're still working hard?
Yes, it can be extremely demanding and you have to be on your toes at all times. With that freedom comes responsibility. I probably work more hours in this job than at a 9-to-5, but not sitting in an office is a huge positive for me.
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