Top 10 Airplane Selling Tips… From a Car Salesman

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Airplanes and cars are, obviously, different. But selling is selling and, make no mistake, you need to sell your airplane not just put it out there.

I was talking with a car salesman, and fellow pilot, friend of mine the other day and we started talking about selling. A lot of people have low opinions of car salesman but, to a certain degree, when you are selling your own airplane it would be helpful to have a the mindset of a salesman. To that end, here are his top ten tips when you are trying to sell your airplane.

1. Don’t lie to potential buyers. I didn’t say you have to tell them everything you know, but don’t lie to them. If you don’t have the answer to their question, tell them you don’t know and that you will get them an answer. The only possible exception to this rule is the story you tell on why you are selling the airplane.

2. Know what you are selling. Knowing every detail about your airplane won't make the sale on it’s own, but a potential buyer needs to feel comfortable about spending a large amount of money. If they feel that they are working with someone that doesn’t know what they are talking about they are likely to walk away from a deal.

3. A buyer can smell desperation. When you are desperate to sell your airplane the buyer will sense it like an angry dog can smell fear. Even if you desperately need to sell your airplane don't show it. Desperation will turn them off so quick you will wonder what you did or said. This goes back to the exception to tip number 1, have a good story for why you are selling.

4. People like to talk about themselves. Yes, even the shy and introverted people like to talk about themselves. If you can get them to trust you and find some common ground you can get even the shyest people to talk your ear off and provide you with everything you need to sell them your airplane.

5. Every buyer wants to FEEL like they are getting a deal. This a very important sales tip, whether they are getting a good deal or not they need to FEEL like they made a good choice. They want to feel like they got a good deal. Almost all buying decisions are made with emotion, so the way they feel about you, the airplane, the price or the deal is critical to closing the sale.

6. Leave your problems on the ground. Just like when you are flying, selling requires you to have your head in the game at all times. Don't burdon a buyer with your problem. You need to have the answers, ask the questions and be a step ahead of your buyer at all times.

7. Shut up and listen. You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you talk. Uncomfortable silences are a useful tool. They either get the buyer to make a decision or lead you to their real objections.

8. Look them in the eye. If you have a tendency to look away when people look you in the eye you better get over it. Most people do, but when you look a buyer in the eye as you speak it gives you trust and creditability. You can also pick up on their level of commitment and sincerity when you look them in the eye.

9. Follow Up. Follow up on everything whether it is a quick email question, a short voicemail or a full aircraft demo. Sometimes you just have to ask for the sale.

10. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm sells more than almost anything. Make potential buyers feel like you are happy to talk to them. Don’t be phony or they will sense it, but you should be genuinely excited to talk about your airplane, aren't you?

There is a lot that goes into selling something but these tips are good all around advice. You may not want to think of yourself as a salesman when you are trying to sell your airplane but, to a degree, that's what you are. Pay attention to these tips... They come from someone who makes their living selling everyday.


Photo Credit: chimothy27 (Flicker CC)

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