I just returned from the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, CA. I am not sure I have ever had that kind of experience before. It was a list of global who’s who, speaking on topics that were geopolitical, financial, services, and on and on, though no political slant or other biases were obvious. Having a list of speakers and panelists like this conference gathered then attracted the unbelievable list of attendees who were actually no less impressive than those on stage speaking. When you have the privilege and credentials to attend an event like this it is truly a playing field leveler. Everyone there enjoys equal footing. I want to thank Bombardier for the generous invitation and hosting that they bestowed on me. It was no small deal!
I went to many sessions and wanted to take this article to leave you all with some powerful takeaways I had. One of my favorite themes throughout the conference was, effort does not equal results. So many initiatives and actions fall short due to there being just that, a lot of effort or action without the benefit of good planning or clear goals. Do those people expending the effort wonder why there is no result at the end of all of this activity? It really made me think about how our organization of Mesinger Jet Sales does our best every day to work hard, but also strategically and thoughtfully, to create real results behind the effort.
Next is the belief people have that longevity is really all you need for success. I, like many of my fellow sales professionals, will say or advertise the long number of years we have been in business, as a badge honor. Don’t get me wrong, the 45 years we have been buying and selling planes is a real badge of honor, but longevity in life or business is not enough. Many of the speakers and topics dug down into what really creates sustainability. It is more than number of years in business. It is more about evolving and continuing to develop one’s deliverables to meet changing needs of the client. Just think about this in terms of sales evolution. So many companies start in business because they develop a product or service that a market needs and is not being delivered by either their current provider or by anyone else, often due to changing needs. Companies that used to fly domestically now needing to fly internationally for one examnple. This change brings about very different needs of the customer, such as trip handling, security, and service support in other parts of the world.
In fact, they say there are three phases to a sales and product business. The first phase is the offering of a new product or service that meets a new need of the customer. Phase two is the replication of the deliverable. This phase allows the product or service to become profitable and allows for the research and development costs to be recouped. It is the third phase where most small new companies fail and fall out of their success. This is the phase that looks to their customer base and recognizes that the business or segment they are in is evolving and the needs of the customer are changing. In short this means the current product or service is no longer meeting the needs of the customer base. Those companies that rest on their laurels miss the boat and do not emerge to phase three. Evolution therefor plays an equal or maybe even greater role than sheer incumbency.
Finally, data, data, data. The more the better in today’s world. Artificial Intelligence was a hot topic this year. Aggregating and disseminating data may be the future for many industries such as health care, maintenance and marketing to name a few. I do not think however, that in our industry segment, there are enough aircraft sales transactions to bring enough data together to be meaningful to the true definition of artificial intelligence. Transactions can be too unique with variables that cannot be linked from one to the next in a way that an algorithm can set. Data in our industry segment is critical, but it remains subjective in many cases and it still takes the hard legwork, thinking strategically, to make the results meaningful. A computer will not do this for us.
As the conference was titled, “Driving Shared Prosperity,” one must always move beyond the words into deeds and result oriented actions. Planning and then acting on the plans. Delivering products or thoughts into a diverse world are what really create change and awareness. I came home more aware.