In the first of a comprehensive, two-part series that offers some valuable insights on the complex process of selling a jet aircraft, I’d like to begin by focusing on this important preliminary step: How to pick a broker and knowing what to look for.
Having as much knowledge and understanding about the brokerage professional representing you is vital to the process.
Keep in mind that your relationship with them is, for all intents and purposes, a “strategic partnership.”
Before you shake hands and agree to work together, you should familiarize yourself with their operation. In doing so, you’ll gauge how valuable they’ll be to your sales goals, how they work, what their relationship with you and potential buyers will entail, and many other important considerations.
After all, you want to be sure what the broker you select is capable of doing for you. What background, skills, technology, relationships and marketing experience can they summon to the job of selling your aircraft?
Value, value, value
Understanding an aircraft’s value is a core competency of any broker; it’s also the most important.
The pre-owned aircraft marketplace is an incredibly intelligent one that rarely overpays in value. This makes pricing your aircraft extremely important. Price too low and you give away money. Price too high and you’ll end up chasing the market down over time, and/or not selling at all.
What knowledge and tools does your broker use to value aircraft? And what is their pricing strategy?
At Guardian Jet, we’ve build a robust, proprietary system to continuously tracks the aircraft values of more than 125 aircraft markets. The data is at our fingertips, 24/7, and it’s also available to our clients online through our client portal called “The Vault.”
Keep it “open”
Here at Guardian Jet, if we happen to be representing you as your broker, it’s our strong belief that we must work to ensure complete transparency throughout the sales process. If we’re working in your behalf, our process is to help you know everything that’s going on.
Through “The Vault,” we keep you up-to-date of all activity on your aircraft as well as important documentation related to the sale.
Make it “shine”
Aside from pricing, prepping your aircraft for sale is the most important component to help distinguish it so that it stands out from the masses of others in the marketplace. As a part of that, you have to probe the brokers you’re considering to help you in the sale regarding several aspects of their services, and how they’re going to position your aircraft:
- What’s their experience?
- What’s their marketing strategy?
- How many other sellers are they representing? What’s their position regarding exclusivity?
- How many aircraft do they sell annually, and what’s their sales tally over the past two or three years?
- How do they collect data on your aircraft and what do they collect?
- How—and how timely—do they handle sales call follow-up?
- Most important, what happens after the sale? Will the broker serve as your partner and help you create an asset management strategy so you know the value of your aircraft throughout its lifecycle?
Regarding the first bullet, you’ll want to fully explore their experience, including their client list, client references, their marketing plan, their network of potential buyers and whether they’ve formed any exclusive relationships in the marketplace. How big a sales team do they operate with? Is it just one broker who handles everything?
As obvious as it might seem, remember that whatever broker you choose to handle your sale should organize and review all details of your marketing with you before your aircraft goes on the market.
Here at Guardian Jet, it’s our practice that when we complete the listing agreement we immediately start all the preliminary steps to ensure that your aircraft will be seen in the best possible light. That includes setting up a highly professional photo shoot.
Make it “marketing-friendly”
Keep in mind that, these days, the first exposure someone has to your aircraft marketing will be online (via AMSTAT, JETNET, Controller, etc.). In our case, the majority of prospective inquiries originate from these sites.
To ensure that your aircraft stands out among the crowd, you’ll want the most in-depth aircraft specification (brochure) in the market. This includes the latest data on the aircraft as well as photos taken by a professional photographer.
Guardian Jet’s aircraft specs are part technology, part sales and marketing. Therefore, our “brochure” caters to both pilots and potential owners.
Make it “timely”
Lastly, what can you expect in terms of timing for your sales cycle? How long does the broker typically average to sell an aircraft?
In a depreciating market (which aircraft markets typically are) the faster the aircraft sells, the more money the market will bring.
Correctly identifying the value of the aircraft up front is the biggest hurdle in moving your aircraft fast. A good rule of thumb is a range of between 90 and 180 days if your aircraft is appropriately priced to sell.
Remember, a well-priced, well-maintained aircraft with a representative of the crew who can answer and all questions about the plane that might arise are some of the basic components of a quick sale!
Next up . . .
In my next blog, I’ll be discussing market conditions necessary for a quick, effective sale. What do you need to consider or plan for before you list your business jet? We’ll be exploring that issue at length, so please check back with us!