Originally published as a blog for AINsight for Aviation International News on 10/7/22
I would imagine all of you reading this have your own set of milestones that help you set your personal clocks. Mine are very specific and get me through the year. As you read this, I will be celebrating a big one in Europe. Birthdays are a time to recount one’s health and well-being. Look around yourself and count your blessings. This birthday for me has me thinking of my career and how I have fared. I started thinking back to 1974 when I started a Piper Dealership in Houston, Texas. My partners and I took over a defunct dealership at Hobby Airport. Within the first year, we had turned the business around to be the largest by sales volume of the Piper network in North America. Then the next year to be the largest by volume in the world. That’s lots of Piper aircraft sold.
I can remember a sales lesson I learned and one that strikes me to this day, when customers would come into my office and say, “Give me your best price.” I was so young and naive that I thought that was what they meant. So, of course, I would give them my best price. Little did I know that was not what they would then pay me, it was just a new starting place for the customer to begin negotiating from. From there I learned so much about how to conduct myself and set up the culture for my business and that of the people who supported me.
In 1986, when Piper like most other general aviation manufacturers either stopped building planes or what few they built started distributing directly, I took the Piper Shingle down and put up the J. Mesinger and Associates sign. This allowed me to take the customers I had introduced to aviation and grow with their aviation needs. I have several customers today who started with me way back then.
Other very meaningful milestones in my business world were having my wife, Sandy, who is a CPA by trade join me in the business to become not just my wife but my partner. That was 30 years ago. Sandy has added unmeasurable depth and growth to the company. That was the start of being able to boast that we are a family business. Next came Josh who, believe it or not, has been with the company for 22 years, and then our other son Adam, who is celebrating his 13th year with us. Both sons bring great skill sets and integrity to the business and are becoming industry leaders.
Over these many years, we have tried to always grow our market share with innovative and creative marketing campaigns. Once, we had 100 cell phones branded and exquisitely packaged to send to prospects. They were activated and only could dial 4 numbers, Myself, Josh, Adam and the office. The tagline was that once you have these numbers you need no others. We all anxiously awaited a call!
I have added a link that I hope you will follow to watch one of my early video attempts. Another example of trying to be ahead of the pack. Who knows how any of these actually worked, but something must have as we are still here today 48 years later.
So, I hope this article has the intended outcome, and each of you will think about those important, meaningful life milestones and create your own memories. Thanks for being a part of mine. It will be fun in the next two weeks to see so many of you that we have not seen in person in Orlando at NBAA-BACE. Taking the Zoom screen from between us will be wonderful and allow us to share our life milestones in person. One of my first marketing videos: View the video here