For me, after 45 years, the answer rolls off of my tongue. I care about others and I care that what I promise in life, I can deliver. I get huge enjoyment out of success. I also wanted to build a business I could proudly bring my family into. I receive emails and phone calls all the time from people asking me, “how do I get into your industry?” It seems the tougher the overall business climate is, the more calls I get. From the outside looking in we probably look like a very sexy and high paying industry. After all, we sell private jets to the wealthiest people and the biggest corporations. It only stands to reason we would be an attractive career. The only problem is that we are not that sexy and we do not make huge amounts of money. We are an industry of relationships and very hard and diligent workers.
I always get a good laugh when I get these calls. People call that think they can just come on in! It is true as an industry, at least in the brokerage side, that has no real barriers to entry. There are no bricks and mortar. It does not take a credit line to broker aircraft. If anything, this should be as troubling to our fellow aircraft sales professionals as it is to our client base. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. When the curtain blows away all that one sometimes finds is a person with a megaphone shouting skills and successes with no real reality to back it up.
The only thing a real participant can shout about is a track record of time and success that are real and can be substantiated. I have many friends who have been in this industry almost as long as I have. They are solid, important leaders in this sales professional arena. They may be single practitioners without a stable of employees, and if the curtain blew back it might only be them. This should not be reason alone to not continue the dialog with that person. Size and depth could be limiting based on the overall scope of a certain project, but no reason to not keep the discussion going. So many of us have different models we subscribe to. Some want to be big in size, and some believe in and deliver excellent products being smaller and nimble.
The most important factor would be the line of questions one should ask everyone they are considering working with. They should center around experience. Especially around the specific project one is contemplating. Do they have the network of people they can bring in for multi-registration projects? Do they have maintenance expertise they can contract with to complete the initial due diligence, as well as provide oversight for a project? There should be no reason to feel like bigger is better with respect to the size of the company. I think the number of years doing it successfully with high transparency and personal ethics are the keys to success.
There is also something to be said about working in such a small niche industry which serves the people who can take advantage of this very specialized and impactful type of transportation. I have to also say that those fellow aircraft sales professionals, for the most part, are wonderful people to rub elbows with. After all, in most transactions there are sales professionals on both sides. That means I get to brainstorm and execute with highly skilled people and come up with solutions to very hard, thought provoking challenges. I think about solutions all the time. There is no such thing as an easy deal. I always say if it were easy everyone would be doing it. Real transactions never occur by accident. They happen because everyone involved is pulling in the same direction. This does not mean we always see eye-to-eye at the moment, but ultimately before a successful deal is complete, we all come together to pull it across the finish line.
So, if you are thinking about coming into this industry, think long and hard. Are you willing to work harder than you ever have? Are you willing to work smarter than you ever have? Are you willing to invest years in an industry that will reward you generously not ridiculously? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you just may be suited for our industry. Now you can come on in!