by Jay Mesinger
month's article I dealt with the process of buying. It spoke
of the pitfalls of going at it alone versus the idea of
employing an aircraft sales professional to advise and guide
one through the many facets of smart buying. As I look back
over my 29 years of aircraft sales experience, I have noted
that in about 90% of all transactions, there is an aircraft
sales professional on both sides. With this percentage, the
norm becomes obvious quickly.
selling also includes the need for help. Last month I
pointed out the reasons for not announcing to the world that
you want to buy without representation rather than aligning
with a professional to represent you exclusively. Market
perceptions and activity get skewed and smart buying seldom
occurs when you go at it alone – selling is no different.
Having a team approach to selling is also smart! The idea of
looking for a skilled sales professional who has experience
in the type of plane you have for sale is the likely
of what anyone is saying, the market is still flat. It does
not even have the activity today that it had at the end of
2003! It is more critical than ever to be well equipped for
the market you are entering. There is no way you should
enter this market without market knowledge and expect to
command the market attention you need to get a plane sold.
step that a sales professional will take is to help you
understand your plane in today's environment. This look will
include fleet compliance in several areas. For instance,
what percentage of the fleet in the category you own has
RVSM presently complied with? If a large percentage has it
and you do not, the impact on price will be more
significant. If a small percentage of the fleet has
complied, not having RVSM on your plane will have less of a
holds true for engine and airframe programs. The value in
the programs will be fleet driven as well as program driven.
Proximity to major events like hots, overhauls or a major
airframe inspection will have impact on pricing and
competitive differentiation. The pricing balance of these
events will need to be accounted for so the aircraft is
considered a positive buy for the prospective buyers. For
those aircraft coming very close to an engine event, the
prospective buyers will typically discount the purchase
price by a worst case number.
aircraft is on a 100% engine program, there is no real need
to feel compelled to eliminate that objection by doing the
engines early. The cost fear will not exist. It will only be
a down time consideration.
interior questions are answered much the same way. It is
more of a future downtime consideration for a buyer than a
cost fear. Paint and interior quotes are fairly cut and dry
and should not be overstated when a discount is considered
by a buyer for a plane that is being sold (that needs one or
the other). All of these are market pricing and positioning
strategies. The mechanical condition and records condition
will also be highly scrutinized during both the "For
Sale" period as well as the actual pre-buy inspection
today having so much choice in most categories will demand
the best from a considered aircraft. The mediocre planes
today might only be sold on one basis; price. Price is the
worst reason to be chosen for a purchase. You will always be
chasing price. Work with your aircraft sales professional to
define the benefits to sell rather than just price.
nice sales package to use for representing your plane is a
key ingredient to a successful marketing strategy. Magazines
like this one you are reading are a must to advertise your
plane in. Good pictures, accurate specs, are all 'must
haves' when entering such a slow crowded market. Be prepared
to give, or get maintenance questions answered quickly.
Delays in these answers could cost you sales opportunities.
like to run a title search the day I put a plane on the
market. This might seem like truth in advance but every once
in a while we will find that there is a title problem that
cannot be dealt with quickly and if discovered at the time
of closing, it could cost you the deal.
inspections often causes panic among sellers. It can create
real feelings of disbelief that this or that could be wrong
with your plane. Be realistic. Strive for a shop that has
great experience with your type of plane. Encourage the
buyer to find the best shop available, even if it is the
manufacturer. Believe me, it is better to have a shop that
truly understands your aircraft rather than one that miss
diagnosis situations and conditions and creates even greater
problems through lack of experience or just sheer ignorance.
As a seller
there will be no short cut around the plane being airworthy
and systems functioning and current on all programs. Logs
and records will have to be in order and yellow tags etc.,
must be present and accounted for. Buyers will accept no
less. I always get my selling clients to organize records,
look at obvious maintenance deficiencies and correct things
at home well before an independent inspection facility finds
the problem and has what could be a greater cost of
conclusion, sell with a team. Include your flight department
personnel, your legal counsel and tax experts. The winning
team photo will be one that you will be proud to display on
your trophy wall.
Jay Mesinger is the CEO of J. Mesinger Corporate
Jet Sales, Inc. He is on the NBAA Board of Directors
and is Vice Chairman of the AMAC. Additionally, he
served on the Duncan Aviation Customer Advisory
Board for two terms, is a member of MEBAA, EBAA
and is associated with IBAC.