Part 3: The Playing Field
This article is the third in a continuing series
A Career Change: Learning the Aircraft Brokerage Business
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.