Business aviation is an area that is often veiled in a kind of mist. Repair and maintenance of private aircrafts are no exception. The main reason is strict compliance with confidentiality rules while ensuring comprehensive high-end maintenance services. How to gain access to this closed club of clients and suppliers and become an excellent seller of technical maintenance services for private aircrafts?
Tenacious and consistent game of connections
“Our area of activities is a game of contacts and connections”, expert of business aviation market Brigita Nemeikaitė, who is a sales manager of Jet Maintenance Solutions, a private aircraft maintenance company established in Vilnius belonging to Avia Solution Group, says.
Visits to various countries, conferences, meetings and establishment of contacts is a vital part of our work. Before coming to actual transactions, sometimes it takes several years to keep reminding about the company. Over a period of time a person may move from one company to another, however, the connections remain.
“The person should be communicative, have courage to approach a random person and start a conversation, be persistent, make 5 or 10 calls to the same person on the same issue, if needed, at the same time continuing to be professional, capable to filter relevant information and avoiding intrusiveness,” the sales manager of Jet Maintenance Solutions says.
Discussions may extend beyond technical issues
One should have multiple interests in order to be a good conversationalist. The standard talk “about the weather” is not sufficient to keep a conversation. Much time is usually spent in conferences with potential clients and partners where discussions cover not only aviation business or technical issues.
B. Nemeikaite shares her experience: “Once I participated in a conference in Israel with colleagues who are experts with dozens of years of experience in aviation. I assumed that communication may be a challenge to me.
However, on the second day of the conference we had a tour in Jerusalem and, consequently, during the dinner the conversation was focused on religion, history and philosophy. Then I realised the importance of being highly educated not only in the professional field. Wide-range knowledge helps to sell even the most complicated product. Acting with discretion and feeling the limits of a discussion is always appreciated. Our partners and clients represent diverse cultural background. We should be aware of differences and treat them with respect.
A good seller must have analytical skills
Although it is very desirable to be highly communicative, analytical skills should sometimes come first.
“In this respect a person should be extremely well prepared as any activity in this field is based on the analysis of the market, competitors, current and prospective needs of clients. Homework must be done to have target-oriented meetings and networking,” the sales manager of Jet Maintenance Solutions affirms. “Analytical skills allow to collect and trace information, listen carefully and identify relevant issues as well as propose appropriate solutions.”
When in the long term some thoroughly fostered contacts lead to potential transactions, specific business discussions and negotiations are carried out. And here again knowledge of the aircraft servicing specifics, the potential of the company, ability to assess the actual situation are necessary.
“The person should possess relevant information and have comprehensive understanding of the client’s problem to be addressed and the price of the solution in today’s market,” the sales manager explains.
The seller becomes the project owner
The work of a sales manager at Jet Maintenance Solutions does not cease with the signing of a contract. When an aircraft arrives to the hangar for base maintenance, the work is coordinated by a planning engineer. However, the seller of the service continues to be the owner of the project supervising the progress of the project and communication.
“The service seller should lead the project from the beginning to the end. The management of the company must be kept informed on the project issues, when they call and ask for information. Of course, I should not be aware of the smallest details, however, general understanding on the technical maintenance progress is a must,” B. Nemeikaite says.
She makes no secret that project management along with the technical issues is not just work – these are very interesting areas for her.
“I like to go deeper into technical issues, analyse, coordinate, propose ideas and contribute to the improvement of internal procedures,” sales manager of Jet Maintenance Solutions B. Nemeikaite acknowledges. “An ongoing learning process and new experience is the captivating part of my work.”