Airplanes & Roller Coasters
My experience this last week is further proof of the second oldest adage in our industry. The oldest adage is of course “Time Kills Deals.” Incidentally, that continues to be as true as it ever has been. The second oldest adage is “If things are slow, go on vacation”. Now I can’t say things were exactly slow before I left for Florida last week, but it seems to me that as soon as I left, all our customers decided that the time was right to get serous about aircraft transactions.
I think the longer you plan for a vacation, the more this adage applies. I have had this trip on the books for over a year now, so all my leads had plenty of time to gather a nice head of steam. Over the 5 workings days that I spent on the road, the following developments took place:
- I executed a listing agreement on a Challenger 601-3A for a repeat customer. We had been discussing this listing for quite some time.
- An opportunity surfaced on the purchase of an Astra SPX which a client expressed interest in. The plane happened to be in Florida, so I was able to pull away for an afternoon with them to take a look.
- I negotiated a listing agreement on a G450 for a repeat customer.
- I received an offer on a Lear 45 that we have listed.
- A first time buyer that I have been talking with for quite some time finally decided that they would like to meet – this week. I was able to postpone the meeting until next week.
- I was asked to submit a listing proposal for a Gulfstream III.
- A much anticipated L.O.I finally arrived on a Citation XLS+ we were representing. Unfortunately, though a lot of work was put into the negotiations with this foreign buyer, they eventually decided against the purchase for undisclosed reasons
- A client expressed renewed interest in upgrading out of their Challenger 300 to a longer range aircraft.
- I received numerous phone calls and inquiries and arranged schedules for several photo shoots and aircraft showings.
All this while trying to spend quality time with the family at Disney World.
After the annual NBAA trade show, I am typically swamped for the next two weeks following up on all the leads and contacts I generated. Though I was busy after NBAA this year, my time was mostly spent sending out emails and letters to contacts saying that I enjoyed meeting them and to let me know if I could be of help in the future. I guess all those leads were just waiting for me to leave the office before they would surface.
In hind sight, I probably should have seen it coming. The election is now over. That piece of uncertainty is now behind us. Whether Wall Street likes the results or not, at least we now know who will be running things next year. There are exactly 13 business days left until Thanksgiving. If anyone wants to complete an aircraft transaction in 2008, the clock is ticking. Prices have fallen across the board, with a rather precipitous drop over the last 30 days. There are good buying opportunities in every market and corporations are still flying quite a bit, some even need additional lift.
All signs point to a very busy two months left in 2008. I’ll admit that my wife was not thrilled when I had to ditch them for a day at Magic Kingdom to go see an airplane. She did roll her eyes a bit when I had to pull away for a half hour conference call while at Animal Kingdom. But after living with the ups and downs of this business over the last 11 years, she knows that we have to “Strike when the iron is hot”. Wait…..maybe that is the oldest adage in our industry?
Toby J. Smith
JBA Aviation, Inc.