Blog - Page 23 of 26 - Mesinger Jet Sales

The Phone Call…Marketing 101

Last week I wrote a post about International Marketing and how we as a company work to ensure that the world knows about our clients’ aircraft for sale and our acquisition projects.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the different components of our marketing mix to ensure that we employ the most value add resources in our bag of tricks.  In today’s world there are a ton of magazines, an endless number of websites, constant trade shows and industry events and new social media venues all vying for our business.  It would, however, be an impossible task and require unlimited marketing dollars to use everything available.  Therefore, we need to choose those resources that provide the greatest return.  And, I believe that the resources that our firm uses provide the right combination of solutions to most effectively support our clients’ sales and acquisition projects with global exposure.

The most direct and targeted marketing option, however, is also the most basic and cost effective and often the most overlooked: the phone call.  Picking up the phone to say hello, stay in touch and remind people of your current projects is still the best and most targeted direct marketing there is.  I am writing about this because it is a critical piece of the marketing puzzle that most people ignore.  We, however, do make it a regular part of every day to stay in touch with brokers, dealers and service providers throughout the industry worldwide.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have made a call and found a connection that turned into a lead to sell or source an aircraft.  Staying in touch with our peers provides an opportunity to point out the differentiating benefits of our listings, talk about the markets and understand where there is activity all of which better supports our respective clients’ needs.  In the course of calls I also often have the opportunity to connect my peers if I know of one person looking for an aircraft that another has and I don’t. 

So, I welcome your calls and I hope that you don’t mind mine.  Let’s talk to each other regularly and find some opportunities to put our buyers and sellers together.  I look forward to talking to you soon!

Part 3: The Playing Field

This article is the third in a continuing series
A Career Change:  Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business-Part 1 , Part 2

To win at the game of sales you have to understand the playing field, meaning you have to constantly research your market.  We have been doing some significant market analysis this past week evaluating the planes in our inventory against others in the same category and make of aircraft.  The wild ride the economy has been on for the last two years has considerably affected the values of airplanes.   And now, at what is hopefully near the bottom, owners have to come to the realization that in order to sell their aircraft, they will have to understand its true value and accept current prices.  We have been very thoughtful and thorough in our comparisons and I think we have been able to explain our rational to the owners in a clear and honest way.  Some, if not all, are not exactly thrilled with the news.  But if you have one of the 15 or 20 available aircraft in a certain market, then it is of utmost importance to qualify your plane amongst the others.  You have to differentiate the value quickly and assuredly, because you do not want to be sitting back while another plane takes your sale. 

I can’t believe that three weeks have gone by since I joined the team.  I feel like I am getting fast and great training and my understanding of the industry and markets are expanding and developing.  That is the point!  No matter what industry you go into, whether film, airplanes, cars, financial services or t-shirt making, you have to step back on a regular basis and look at your market.  See who all is around you doing the same thing.  What are they offering to a customer?  Is it better than what you are offering?  Based on the competition, you might need to adjust your price or better explain the differences of your offering.  Because services like AMSTAT or JETNET will tell you what planes have changed hands within any designated time period, you can easily see if you missed a sale, and then you have to figure out why.

Bottom line, I think I am coming into this business at an exciting time, not necessarily the busiest yet, but exciting.  We are not in a free fall, economically, anymore.  Prices are bottoming out and we are at a time of pricing analysis that is going to help me understand the true value of an aircraft.  We have long-time repeat and referral customers and they look to us and respect our opinion.  I see this time and time again as we put forth our honest evaluation.  People may take a hard swallow and adjust in their seats a little as they start to understand the true value of their aircraft.  They may regret not having taken that one offer that came down the line 6 or 8 months ago that would have been a little more money, but they are listening, hearing and attempting to move forward and make a transaction.  I feel proud to be in an organization that is respected by its clients and competitors.  I know each week will build on the next, teaching me more and more how to be a great aircraft broker.  So step back, take a look around you and find a way to step out in front of your competition.  Business can happen again now, but it takes a little legwork.

International Marketing

I live in Boulder, CO because it is a beautiful place to call home, but our clients and the buyers and sellers we work with are based all over the world.  We travel regularly to show aircraft, meet with clients and oversee inspections worldwide and we talk to people all over the globe daily.  It is consequently imperative that we make sure that we communicate with a global audience regarding our aircraft sales and acquisitions to ensure that we most successfully meet our clients’ needs. 

A client for whom we are selling a Falcon 2000 recently asked me about our international marketing efforts and how we made sure that a global audience knew about their offering.  It was a good question and one for which I believe that I had a good answer (and so did he).

The marketing mix that we employ consists of the use of AMSTAT and JETNET, print ads, emails, our own website and other websites in our industry, direct mail, regular phone calls and attendance at industry events worldwide.  The publications and websites that we use are global in their reach.  I would like to thank many of our partners who publish industry trade magazines and organize industry events for continuing to make investments in their businesses to expand their audience globally.  John Brennan with World Aircraft Sales (www.avbuyer.com), for example, attends trade shows worldwide regularly to network locally with industry participants and build his readership and consequently my readership for my inventory ads. 

I believe that the most important thing that I can do to help sell the aircraft that we represent is to drive potential buyers to our website. There we can tell the most accurate detailed story about our listings.  To that end, the more that we speak at industry events and write articles the larger our following becomes, continuing to drive buyers and sellers to our websites to see our inventory.  We contribute editorial content to World Aircraft Sales monthly and are often asked to contribute to other industry magazines.  My father currently has articles in two new magazines: one based in Russia and one based in China.  I also use Linkedin, Twitter and this blog (all with global reach) to help speak to the differentiating benefits of our listings relative to the competitive offerings in the respective make and model category.  I was shocked and thrilled to see recently that Linkedin has become one of the biggest drivers of traffic to this blog and in turn I hope to our website too.  I have received many calls over the last six months from people who were reminded about a specific aircraft for sale when they saw a Linkedin or Twitter post about it.

Additionally we invest our time and money to travel worldwide attending and speaking at trade shows and industry events.  The more people that we network with worldwide, the more people that we can continue to directly speak to about our clients’ aircraft for sale and acquisition projects.  I regularly call and stay in touch with over 75 brokers, dealers and attorneys worldwide to directly promote our offerings.

We live in a global and connected world.  We must communicate our messages and offerings globally and we continue to invest in our own business and our clients’s aircraft listings to do just that.   Thank you for following our blog….wherever you are in the world today.

Part 2: My First Week

This article is the second in a continuing series
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business

As I said before I did not come into this business completely blind.  I have been listening to the stories of the deals around my family’s kitchen table my entire life.  I have also had a lot of business development, corporate and strategic thinking experience from working in the entertainment industry.  I am now just applying that knowledge and training to the aviation industry.  The best part of it all is I am learning this new industry surrounded by family who will take the time to train me, mentor me and make sure I succeed.  Not to knock entertainment, but that warmth just wasn’t always there.  There is also an amazing aviation community that has known my family for years, and many of them have congratulated my father on the new addition and welcomed me personally.  Thank you.

But here is where it starts to get interesting.  I just finished my first full week at J. Mesinger and here is a little rundown of what has happened so far.  Of course day 1, you get your computer, set up your desk and fill out your start paperwork.  N.B.D.  But day 2 I was off and running, I sold my first plane!  That’s just a little joke to make sure you’re paying attention.  I did, however, sit in on a meeting with a major bank to discuss lending on older aircraft.  It was an educational conversation about some new realities in the world of finance after our recent economic downturn.  In the television and movie business the downturn and its affect on financing had its own impacts and it was interesting to see how it has affected aviation as well.  Day 3, I listened in on some conversations with people looking to reenter the market after sitting out a bit due to the slowdown.  Again, an insightful day and a positive sign that people are reentering the market and talking to us again about selling their aircraft.  Soon I was listening to conference calls with major corporations discussing large transactions.  There were about 7 people on the phone.  Not unlike a network notes call for television, where the different network, studio and creative minds all get together to satisfy everyone’s specific needs regarding a specific episode, the lawyers, CEO’s and brokers all had to refine a contract to satisfy everyone’s specific needs while maintaining an atmosphere conducive to finalizing a transaction.  The industries are comparable; the sticking points are just as hard fought in both cases, and hopefully at the end of both situations a mutually agreeable arrangement can be accomplished. 

At the end of this week however, it was time to test the waters.  I picked up the phone for the first time and began my market research on the Gulfstream GIV SP.  These calls are important to us in that they help to compare all of the aircraft in a specific market to create valuations between specific planes.  The thing is, I don’t really know this market yet.  I just know the questions to ask to satisfy my research.  So on about my second call the jig was up.  When asking about pricing for a plane and what a particular broker thought his plane might sell for the other broker also asked what my opinion on the Gulfstream GIV SP market was, and I had to say “To tell you the truth sir, this is my second call and I have no idea what the market looks like right now.”  We had a good laugh.  Thankfully he, like many of the other brokers I called have longstanding relationships with J. Mesinger and had read my father’s announcement email about my joining the business.  He went on to give me some better pricing guidance and big welcome to the industry.  My first week has been a whirlwind of new information for a new industry, but luckily for me and anyone else in a family business, all anyone wants to see is me succeed.  It’s Friday and time to toast to week two!

One Indicator Of A Market That Is Getting Better: New People Being Attracted To Our Industry

It never seems to fail, during every recovery I start to get phone calls and emails for people who believe that this industry would be a great place to build a future. Many that write and call are just preparing to graduate from aviation colleges and are getting ready to come into the workforce. Many are switching industries. Regardless of the source we are getting ready to have some fresh faces and new energy in our industry. By the way this is a phenomenon that we all should embrace with open arms. New energy and fresh faces mean that we will be all energized and provided with fresh ideas. I have announced that our son Adam is joining our family business. He and his wife Ayeisha have moved from LA and this is day 3 for Adam. Although he has grown up at our dinner table listening to the lingo all his life, now he is going to earn the money to put the food on his table from the work he does in this office and for our industry. Sandra and I could not be more proud of he and Ayeisha and more excited about his energy and enthusiasm, not to mention his talent and the difference I know he will make for our company. Josh is thrilled to mentor Adam and help him on his path to success.

So for all of those people that write and call about how to start and find a career in this exciting industry of ours, I thought it would be both valuable as well as important to have Adam chronicle his start. I have asked Adam to write a blog of his own with enough regularity to provide his steps, missteps and progress. I am excited to watch and experience his growth; I hope you all will enjoy reading about it. The Mesinger family business just got bigger and better!!

The First Step: From Hollywood to Aviation

This article is the first in a continuing series
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business

I am Adam Mesinger, son of Jay and Sandra and brother of Josh and I am one of the newest additions to the aviation industry and proudly and happily to my family’s business.  I am coming to this business after a 12-year pursuit of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, CA, beginning with 4 years of college at NYU’s TISCH School of the Arts.  It was definitely not the most direct path to the airplane business, but I believe the skills I learned in Hollywood are in many ways directly relatable to the skills needed to buy and sell aircraft and I’m glad I can bring those to J. Mesinger.   

I had a goal to be a movie producer, which is something that took time, patience and constant effort.  I also always had a day job working in post production as a Post Production Supervisor on TV shows such as Entourage and Ghost Whisperer.  It amounted to two full-time jobs.  However, the entertainment industry has changed so much in the last ten years, with reality television, the economic downturn, the studios being taken over by major corporations, the writer’s strike and the almost actor’s strike, that the ability for a newcomer like me to get the attention and finances needed to complete a project had become an almost impossible task.  But the pursuit of producing a movie taught me skills and lessons that I know will help me and J. Mesinger grow together.  They involved confidence, organizational skills and the ability to strategize and solve problems.  In addition, in television, like the airplane business, there were many episodes happening at one time, in various stages of completion.  I was able to track and manage those in much the same way I will track and manage various transactions.  I helped to produce over 100 hours of television with budgets of almost 3 million dollars per episode.  It’s big money and there is tremendous pressure to succeed.  I know, even coming from a different background than some in this industry, that I will fully understand and appreciate the scope of the transactions and the importance to the people involved. 

Thankfully throughout my pursuit in film I had a family that supported me and urged me to keep at it, which I did for many years.  Also, thankfully, I had a family with a long-standing successful business.  And, although I had never intended to join it, when I did ask, they graciously and enthusiastically accepted me.  My wonderful wife, Ayeisha, who is from Los Angeles, with her own career in the fashion industry, made the leap with me.  We loaded up a 27ft U-haul and our two cars and headed to Colorado.  My blogs will be from the perspective of a newcomer to the industry.  I switched industries, because I believe my skills began to outgrow my position and I wanted to work harder and accomplish more than I could do in television.  I know there are many others of you out there who are interested in becoming a broker.  I hope my insights and experiences can shed light on what that career choice may look like.  I am 30 years old, and I am changing the course of my life, in career, location and social network.  There will be good times and bad, frustrations and accomplishments, and I will try to share everything honestly.  Stay tuned.  Thanks to the aviation industry for accepting me and my family for their trust and a job.  I am really looking forward to this future!

Delivery Conditions

No two aircraft transactions are exactly alike.  All contracts are different and the terms can change for almost all aspects of a transaction.  The only terms which stay generally consistent from one transaction to the next are the delivery conditions; the conditions for which the aircraft must meet at the time of the closing of the transaction.  They are not always well defined in an offer or a contract, but the better they are defined the more objective a litmus test they become helping both buyer and seller finalize a contract and complete a transaction.  Good delivery conditions provide a black and white clear roadmap by which to navigate through the pre-purchase inspection process. 

The following are the primary delivery conditions that I see in almost every transaction:

(a)     All aircraft must be legally airworthy at the time of the closing per Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (“FARs”).

(b)     All systems on the aircraft from the avionics to the engines to the cabin entertainment must be operating within manufacturer’s allowable tolerances as stated in the applicable components’ maintenance manual.  Almost every system, with very few exceptions, has very clearly defined parameters describing the serviceable condition within which the system must be operating to be operating correctly.  If a system or component of the aircraft is not operating within the allowable tolerance then it must be repaired to be within the allowable tolerance; not to new standards, but within the serviceable allowable tolerance.

(c)     All calendar and hourly inspections must be current at the time of closing without extension or deferral.

(d)     All AD’s and mandatory service bulletins with compliance date on or before the closing must be complied with.

(e)     With all documents and records relating to or required to be maintained with respect to the Aircraft original complete and continuous up to date and maintained in accordance with the FARs and all flight manuals, manuals and subscriptions required for Part 91 operations up to date and current. 
See Dean Welch’s blog entry, “Pre-Purchase Planning, Part 4 – Logs and Records”
http://jetsales.com/blog/2010/06/18/pre-purchase-planning-part-4-log-books-and-records/

(f)      With no material corrosion beyond manufacturer’s allowable limits.  Depending on how material corrosion is cleaned or repaired can cause material damage history as such term is defined in the next delivery condition below.

(g)     With no material damage history, the repair of which would constitute a “major repair” as such term is defined in 17 CFR, Part 43, Appendix A of the FARs.  If an aircraft does have any major damage history as such term is defined here, then it should be specifically referenced in a contract and excluded from this delivery condition.

(h)     With no parts, systems or components installed in the Aircraft on a temporary, loan or exchange basis.  Unless otherwise specifically agreed to.

(i)       Free and clear of all liens and encumbrances.  This is often stated in a different section of a contract because it will be the only delivery condition that will survive past closing.

(j)      With all loose equipment, logs and manuals required for operations under Part 91 of the FARs and in the seller’s possession.  I like to have a loose equipment list and detailed inventory of all logs and manuals to be delivered with the aircraft incorporated as an exhibit in a contract so that both parties know what to expect from the beginning.

(k)     As defined in the aircraft specifications.  An aircraft specification sheet should be incorporated into a contract as an exhibit clearly defining the aircraft and installed equipment.

Aircraft are typically sold on an “as-is-where-is” basis and “with all faults”  and with no warranties or representations.  That is why it is imperative that a buyer have a thorough pre-purchase inspection performed by an factory authorized service center to determine that the aircraft meets the delivery conditions at the time of closing.

Are aircraft over 20 years old safe to buy?

I am asked this question more and more lately.  If I take the question literally as it is asked, I would answer it on the basis of safety of flight and the answer would be the less complex.  Yes.  The biggest effect as a result of age is not necessarily about safety.  The effect is more often about enhanced inspection protocol and life limited component compliance.  If all of the care is taken by the operator to maintain the aircraft according to the manufacturers’ maintenance programs, safety should not be compromised due to age, hours on the airframe or cycles.

Now for the more complicated answer.  Most people ask me this question, however, with respect to residual value of an aircraft over 20 years old.  Of course this answer needs to incorporate the above with respect to keeping up with maintenance and record keeping.  The usual value adds will also apply as do having no material damage or corrosion, complete records and logs, good cosmetics and proximity to engine overhauls and mid-life inspections and/or being on engine program.  The root of this question I am sure comes from the absolute unwillingness by 98% of the lenders to loan on an aircraft this age.  I used to say an aircraft like most assets are not worth more than a lender will loan on them.  I stand corrected!  If this were a true statement today, these aircraft would have no value.  In fact, today these aircraft have more of a value proposition than ever.  Imagine being able to buy a 1990 Falcon 900B for literally one half of what you would have paid for the same aircraft 2 years ago.  How about a 1990 Challenger 601/3A for sixty five percent of what you would have paid for the same aircraft 2 years ago.  If that is not value what is?  

The old days of having a trusted partner help us establish value based on lending appetite is over.  We as an industry are left to help the buyers without this critical data point.  For those buyers who can generate the funds to purchase through other available credit facilities they are left reaping the rewards.  These older aircraft, if carefully evaluated based on the normal criteria outlined above, will have long lasting value that the smart buyer will enjoy based on years of safe, reliable flying and mission fulfillment.  Let’s be very careful as an industry that we do not write off this segment of inventory due to lenders making choices about how to loan that absolutely do not take the combination of exceptional aircraft and solid credit worthiness of the buyer into account.  We must as an industry promote this enormous segment of our life blood.  There are 11,766 jets based in the United States and 3,834 units or 32.6% of those were built in 1990 or before.  The value proposition of this huge segment must not be established based on what a lender will loan, but rather the individual aircraft’s ability to meet the mechanical tests established through a comprehensive pre-buy inspection and the buyer’s mission established through the mission profile and budgeting analysis.  These aircraft are safe to buy.  They are safe to operate and they will have a residual value that I believe can be relied on with confidence.

Real Value

I am on a flight home from New York after a successful few days showing our Gulfstream IV and our Falcon 900B to two different buyers.  And, I’ve been thinking about conversations I have had this week with many different buyers and brokers regarding what determines real value and what distinguishes real value between two competitive offerings.

I was reminded yesterday when I showed our Falcon 900B S/N 42 of what a great airplane it really is. It has average total time for its vintage.  The records are impeccable.  The aircraft has no major damage history. The cosmetics look great.  It has a lot of avionic and cabin upgrades. The engines are on MSP Gold.  And, we just lowered the price by $900,000 last week making it the most competitive offering in the market.  Then I thought how ridiculous it is that most lenders would probably refuse to loan money to a buyer with good credit, even one possibly willing to put 20% down, based on age alone.  Many lenders clearly don’t recognize real value.  I’m glad that the prospective buyer that I am talking to does!

On Monday of this week I showed the Gulfstream IV that we are representing for sale.  I have written before about the need to look below the skin of the onion to really understand the differentiating factors between competitive offerings.  The prospective buyer asked me why our aircraft was worth more than others that are on the market.  If you took all available Gulfstream IVs and just looked at total time and vintage you would think that they should all be worth the same thing.  If you, however, study the inner layers of the onion for each, you would clearly start to see significant tangible differences: engine programs, modifications, cosmetic condition and more.  If you continue to dig down you will also start to understand the value of pedigree and maintenance history.   I really believe that the great pedigree and condition of our GIV S/N 1165 (average total time, full engine program, highly equipped and with high ASC compliance, no expenses spared maintenance, average cosmetics, ready for immediate worldwide operations, one U.S. owner) will result in lower go forward costs compared to other offerings.  No two aircraft are exactly alike and you need to look at the inner layers of the onion to understand true value or you could end up with pretty skin and a rotten core.

I could go on and on, but the point has made.  Aircraft don’t just have to be new or like new to have real value.   And, there are real tangible and intangible value differences that can effect the go forward operations and costs of the aircraft.  They aren’t all worth the same just because we are in a depressed market.

Pre-Purchase Planning, Part 4 – Log Books and Records

Never enough can be said here.  Prior to the aircraft leaving for pre purchase “all” records should be itemized with a very detailed inventory list.  Boxes of some sort should be used to hold all historical records and these should be identified in some manner and shown on the inventory list by number (could be chronological) to their specific contents. 

The records review by a facility during a pre purchase is by far the most time consuming and important part of this process.  It will most likely be the pacing item to the whole operation.  It has been my experience that most facility personnel tasked with records research will inspect what is immediately available and easily accessed and beyond that write a discrepancy.  I see many discrepancies written for missing data, manuals or equipment paperwork which I can find in box sent with the aircraft after a couple of hours of searching.  Here again these are written discrepancies that must be cleared by someone. 

All log books must be available at this time, they must be in good condition, chronological, “every” entry must have the correct documentation, including appropriate signatures and dates.  Every entry which makes reference to a document (337, engineering letter or drawing) should be supported.  It helps to have a copy of the FAA file on CD or even better a three ring binder containing printed chronological copies of all.  All installations will require “instructions for continued airworthiness,” copies of pertinent STC cover sheets as well as flight manual supplements when referenced.  In speaking to these items it is also a good thing to check that CAMP records are supporting and tracking them per the ICA data.  All installed parts as we know now require traceability.  Some operators leave this data with filed work orders or CAMP records, place them in log books or keep them all in single location. 

All life limited components during a pre purchase will have to show documentation by serial number to the unit installed or face being unnecessarily overhauled.  It is good practice to take a CAMP status run and go down the list matching parts to paperwork.  Missing information can usually be tracked down by log entry and work order and supplied by the vendor ahead of time.  It is better to send all available records to meet the above requirements so they are available to the facility at the time of inspection than to have the facility bill their labor to research them. 

All flight manual and operations manuals will have to be current on their revision status and available to the facility.  During a records review a facility will also research “all” AD listings for an aircraft, this includes the vendor and appliance AD lists.  In the normal scope of operations most operators only concern themselves with pertinent AD list to their specific aircraft, so what one could see at this time would be a long AD list supplied by the facility as “open” yet they still need to be addressed in the records as “Not Applicable.”  On older aircraft this list can be quite long and a facility will try to charge large amounts of labor to research these and sign them off as NA.  An operator could take the supplied list and supply the list of NA sign offs to address this issue. 

Any damage history or major repairs due to corrosion, however minor, should have as much supporting documentation as possible.  It is a good idea to take all materials affected (work order, photographs, drawings, engineering statements and complete parts lists) and make copies of all to be placed in specific box or file folder envelope along with copies of the log entry and a brief description of the event and have it readily available to the buyer and the facility.  Fear of the unknown is the single most concern to an unknowledgeable buyer.  This type of presentation tends to minimize the event and calm nerves and keep a buyer from running away.

Logs and records can mean as much to the value of the asset as the asset/aircraft itself.  This is a critical component of any pre-purchase inspection and the above are some simple suggestions that can help the log and records research go smoothly.

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