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Thu, Jan 24, 2013

How To Sell An Airplane At An Air Show

Bristell Shows That They Came To Sebring To Do Business

By David Juwel

Every year I point out the marketing failures I see at the various air shows and fly-in’s.  I do that because I hope to help companies sell better which will contribute to the success of general aviation overall.

But this year, instead of proclaiming a winner of my ITBOA BNITBOB award (In The Business Of Aviation, But Not In The Business Of Business). I wanted to recognize the company that I felt was conducting the most professional presentation at the 2013 LSA Expo.

That company is Adventure Sport Aviation, LLC, which was presenting the Bristell aircraft. They had a magnificent aircraft on display sitting on a polished wooden floor under a huge open air tent. Behind the aircraft, they had an office tent that had all of the pamphlets, brochures, chairs, and follow-up logs they needed to efficiently operate.

The salesmen were quick to respond to the presence of people examining the aircraft. I shoulder-surfed as salesman John Calla presented the aircraft to a prospective customer. I listened as Mr. Calla gave his absolute attention to the individual, answered every question, qualified him, and then asked for his name and address for additional follow-up. Great job!

However, they wouldn’t allow you to sit in the aircraft because it belonged to a customer. Since, in my case, a “comfortable fit” is a prerequisite, I told the salesman that I would really need to sit in the aircraft before I could decide whether to add it to my list of candidates for possible purchase. Nonplussed, Mr. Calla immediately said he would take me out to the flight line to do exactly that with their demonstration aircraft; which he did.

Excellent salesmanship and commitment to the job! I am finding that type of professionalism and “get it done” attitude to be rare in the aviation business community. The value to you as a potential customer is that the demeanor of the sales people shows the culture of their company. Ordinarily, if the culture of the sales division is professional, then every other aspect of the company will be professional as well, and vice-versa.

But they didn’t stop there. They came prepared to sell aircraft, and to do so they used a business tool called “synergy.” Synergy is where you develop a relationship or add a step that compliments the goal of two different activities. In this case, Adventure Sport Aviation developed a relationship with Aviation Access. Aviation Access is a company that helps people develop fractional ownerships and flight centers, and they had an office booth at the end of the Bristell display tent. If you love the Bristell, but can’t quite afford it, Aviation Access will show you how you “can” afford it. If you don’t have a decent training center available, Aviation Access will show you how one can be developed. The activities of both companies supported and fed each other. That’s synergy!




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