Overcoming Aircraft Buyer Preconceptions

How can an internationally-based aircraft seller overcome negative perceptions of less familiar markets?

Jet Tolbert  |  14th October 2015
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Jet Tolbert
Jet Tolbert

Jet Tolbert is president of Florida-based American Aircraft Sales where he oversees all aspects of aircraft...

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International Private Jet

As the online marketplace has increased the options that are available to aircraft buyers, stories of transactions involving aircraft based in less familiar regions and their associated problems have grown, notes Jet Tolbert. So how do you overcome suspicion and gain fair value for your jet if you’re a seller based in such a region?

As mentioned in last month’s blog, environmental and cultural issues can impact the condition and maintenance of an aircraft. Those very real concerns can tarnish the image, and negatively impact the value of even the best aircraft. Horror stories exist within Business Aviation of buyers who purchased an aircraft believing they were getting a great deal, only to discover they had made an enormous mistake. However, not all aircraft owners are the same – and irrespective of the region, many owners do take steps to ensure their aircraft is well maintained and looked after.

If you are such an owner, when you decide to sell your aircraft that was based and operated in a region purported (rightly or wrongly) to have inherent problems, how do you guarantee fair value is ascertained for your jet, overcoming buyer preconceptions that your region of the world could only produce a lemon?

Following are three areas you can address to help secure a fair deal…

Representation & Transparency

Consider hiring an aircraft broker with experience of selling aircraft across borders and who can mitigate negative associations by anticipating buyer objections and demonstrating to prospective buyers the high standard of care that the aircraft has received in relation to the region it has operated in.

A trusted broker can bring top-dollar to your sale by really understanding the geographically-related prejudices buyers may harbor and fully knowing what level of maintenance is required to ensure top quality from an aircraft.

Additionally, by structuring a multifaceted marketing plan, the broker will strategically increase the pool of buyers to a size large enough to help maximize the chance of a sale.

A vital component to achieving transparency is to address the elephant in the room and demonstrate that any potential problems associated with specific geographies have been monitored and addressed by the seller during their ownership period.

An experienced broker can help add some finesse to the process of building value around your airplane, which in turn can equate to significantly higher sale prices than a seller might otherwise achieve.

More importantly, when value is built tactfully, you will receive qualified offers.

Building Confidence Across Borders

One of the most challenging aspects of doing a transaction that may span many time zones is the ability to reliably assess the condition of the aircraft and then smoothly transition it to the new base. Leveraging a worldwide network of industry connections, the right partners can eliminate the guesswork, speed up the process, and make sure the right questions are asked up front, and the service providers arranged keep everything on track.

Where has the airplane been operated and where does the buyer plan to base and operate it? A trusted broker will be able to locate an unbiased shop for a pre-purchase inspection with significant history in both regions, yet without any ties to the seller to send a clear message of impartiality.

This will build confidence in the mind of the buyer and enhance the likelihood that the transaction will close, while independently demonstrating the quality of the aircraft.

The broker should further enable the smooth transition from one region to the next by providing contacts that will dovetail the inspection process to the new maintenance program, and if necessary, manage CAMO moving forward.

Qualify the Buyer

Showing the buyer they should have this inspector involved early in the process will give you the opportunity to further qualify the prospect as a bona fide buyer, who is well informed and less likely to get cold feet late in the deal.

From the buyer’s perspective the inspector will allow them to know up front and with confidence that they are proceeding down the right path with a good aircraft.

Your experienced broker should also be familiar with how the buyer plans to certify the aircraft with their local aviation authority and how they plan to maintain continued airworthiness. By anticipating these things, the broker will be in a great position to help overcome the buyer’s negative preconceptions about your jet.

Being represented by a broker able to hold the buyer’s hand through the process and show them value along the way will get the buyer and seller their desired results and peace of mind.

What do you think? Have you had experience buying or selling in challenging markets? If so, please share your comments below

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