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Part 5: Aviation Community Outreach

This article is the fifth in a continuing series.
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Part of my job, which is very interesting, is finding aviation blogs and other discussions happening online, that we here at J. Mesinger can become involved in.  We want to either participate on the blog site or at least post responses to articles that we have insight on.  By doing this we are exposing ourselves to new markets and potential clients, and hopefully driving people to our website.  Below is a response I wrote to an article by Aviation Business Consultants, that I came across through my LinkedIn account and NBAA group membership:

The Future of Magazines and What it Means for Aviation Marketing

What is an aviation company to do these days?  At J. Mesinger Corporate Jet Sales, we are strong believers in print advertising,   but in today’s internet age we have to always evaluate the effectiveness of those marketing efforts and combine them with online opportunities to reach the largest audience possible.  Like the article by ABCI mentioned, we have to see where print circulation is still worth our effort and where it is not.  And when we find it is not, we are moving our ad dollars elsewhere.  Our company’s blog at is paying off for us with new subscribers and hits to our website.  We still, however, see great value in print, both domestically and internationally.  Lately we have been fortunate to be a part of many international publications, such as Global Flying in China and Top Flight in Russia and the premiere edition of Jet Gala out of Singapore.  These are all beautiful publications that expand our recognition to the farthest points of the globe, and also give us the opportunity to market our client’s aircrafts all around the world.  All of the content in these magazines are either online now, or the publications are investing in building up their online content going forward, but for us to leave print all together at this point would be to miss out on many opportunities of exposure to our market.  One good example of the niche magazines still have a hold on is when a pilot sees an industry magazine at an FBO and puts it on a plane for an owner or passenger to read.  It would be a shame to miss out on that kind of exposure, because we make it a priority to use ads in magazines for corporate branding and inventory listings, and we receive great response from those efforts.  In addition, my father, Jay is often asked to write articles for the industry magazines worldwide.  I believe that with the iPad and other ebook readers, however, industry magazines have the opportunity now to offer their content in far more dynamic and interactive ways, and I am excited to see how things evolve with the times!

The Value Zone

The prices in most of our aircraft markets have settled at a bottom where buyers could recognize value and have confidence that the free fall of prices had ended.  The result has been that aircraft have been selling again since the beginning of this year.  There are a few make/model markets, however, that have been slower to find a footing.

Several months ago I told a few clients for whom we had very limited activity on their aircraft that there were either no buyers at any price or all of the aircraft in their respective category were still significantly overpriced.  None of the other sellers in the same make/model segments were experiencing any activity either and none of the aircraft were selling.  It is a hard conversation to have when there are no real data points to look to when trying to reprice a market.  At the same time, I have seen the same consistent phenomenon throughout this downturn.  And over just the last few weeks, as many of the sellers in those respective markets have reduced their prices (including our clients), many of these aircraft have gone under contract (and we have significantly increased activity on our listings).

There are still many hardships in our industry, limited aircraft financing being one of the biggest, however, when prices are right, there are some buyers.  The consistent phenomenon is that once buyers recognize the right value, they step in.  Until the prices in a specific make/model category reach that value zone, the buyers stay away from the respective market. This isn’t about just selling at low prices.   This is about finding the right value zone where amongst the global fleet of aircraft of all makes and models, certain make/model markets should be priced to demonstrate appropriate value against the competitive markets.

As I said at the beginning of this post, most make/model markets are already in the right zone and aircraft have been selling again.  It is only a few holdout make/model markets that are finally finding their footing.  And, finding it is making all of the difference!

Part 4: Database Housekeeping

This article is the fourth in a continuing series 
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business part 1, part 2, part 3
Marketing and communication with clients and prospects is such a comprehensive endeavor.  Our goals include, among other things, advertising our aircraft listings to communicate the competitive advantages of our listings and most quickly affect a sale and provide insight into aircraft ownership issues so current and future clients understand the various complexities of such an asset.  Our communication medium include our blog, our LinkedIn connections, our Twitter feed, the many articles Jay Mesinger writes for various publications and our weekly emails.  Each platform can perform a specific task in our overall strategy, but just throwing information to as many people as you think you can because it is a paperless, stamp free Internet, while seeming to reach the biggest audience, is not the most intelligent strategy.  It takes work, housekeeping and general maintenance to make sure the right people are hearing what you have to say. 

This week we took at closer look at our email marketing efforts.  Through some new thorough analytic tools in our email and web platforms we realized the significance of quantity vs. quality.  We want to be an organization that gets quality information to the right people within the aircraft community, who want to utilize it.  In order to do this most effectively we have worked hard over the years to create a clean list or recipients  free of bad email addresses, old contacts and duplicates and of people that don’t want the content and look at it only as junk or spam.  Using these new analytics tools, we are working to further refine our database and find out who wants our information, what types of information they want and how to best get it to them. 

 At J. Mesinger, we want to engage, but we also want to draw people to our site and bring attention to our inventory.  We want to provide information to the aviation world through various communication outlets, so that our clients realize we are in the forefront of our industry and in front of our competition.  It is important for us to know who we want to reach, how we want to reach them and also have the most accepting audience we can.  As has been said before and holds very true in this environment, it is not quantity, it is quality.  We do our best to know our community, respond to it, and send the right people within it, the information they will most likely benefit from and come to us for in the future. 

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 (, 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”

(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.

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