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Member Highlight – Brian Rauch – Aviation Sales Professional

Insider Circle - Member Highlight - Brian Rauch, Aviation Sales Professional

One of the biggest benefits for our Aviation Marketing Master Class is the opportunity to network with aviation professionals. Our members, or Insiders, one another to help us get to know one another better, make better referrals to each other, and generally learn more about the smartest people in the industry.

We’re looking forward to learning more about smart aviation professionals!

In this interview, Mark Leeper is interviewing Brian Rauch.

Mark Leeper: Brian, you’re located down south of Phoenix, Mesa, is that correct?

Brian Rauch: Yeah, I’m right by Falcon Field.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, good deal. Do you fly or have you been up in a smaller aircraft much or?

Brian Rauch: No, no, that’s a thing that’s on my to-do list. I’m doing a home study right now, and we’re saving up money to get me into flight training, so we’ll see how that goes.

Brian Rauch: Yes, absolutely.

Mark Leeper: Good, if you don’t mind, let’s start out and maybe chat a little bit about your background and where you’re from and stuff like that.

Brian Rauch: Sure, where would you like me to begin?

Mark Leeper: Well, I know you’re in Phoenix now. Are you from Phoenix?

Brian Rauch: No, sir, I’m originally from Longview, Texas.

Mark Leeper: Okay, all right, I’m a Wichita Falls guy, myself. Yeah, I seem to have around this way. So how long have you been in Phoenix?

Brian Rauch: I moved here, it’ll be 12 years ago this October.

Mark Leeper: And what brought you to Phoenix?

Brian Rauch: Well, I finally finished my undergrad work back at University of Texas, Tyler Branch, and I came out here because there’s a little bit opportunity than in Texas, and started working for University of Phoenix for about four years.

Mark Leeper: You did? Okay, what did you do for the University of Phoenix?

Brian Rauch: I was in enrollment, what I did was vet and recruit students for the freshmen/sophomore level courses, and assist them through getting into class and then staying in class, working through to finish their associates. And move onto their bachelor’s programs, either with the University of Phoenix or the Western National University campus.

Mark Leeper: Would you call that a sales business development type position?

Brian Rauch: Yeah, yeah, my educational background was in, I had a bachelor of arts in history with a double minor in secondary education and marketing. So working University of Phoenix kind of put some of those things together, which was really nice because I actually got to help some people out over the course of my tenure there.

Mark Leeper: Right, right, so yeah, you had that position immediately on getting to Phoenix, or have you had other positions since?

Brian Rauch: What I’ve done since then is I work for a local charity as their director of facilities for, they’re called Maggie’s Place. It’s a Catholic charity organization that helps homeless moms through their pregnancy, with follow-ups afterwards.

And I help them maintain the homes that were here in town, and one in Ohio, and at the time Idaho as well. Plus a major rebuild of the original property that was destroyed by fire. So did that for a year, did some handyman, remodeling work on the side, some repair things.

Those are just side things I do. Currently, I’m with Venezia’s Pizzaria down here. And that’s just kind of my survival job, while I work on, go ahead.

Mark Leeper: No, go ahead, I’m sorry.

Brian Rauch: While I work to break into the aviation industry is how I found ABCI, seems to be the only organization out there that seems to have information to educate, inform people without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to go through a full bachelor’s program.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, they’re a full resource, a tremendous help to people that are trying to build businesses, etc. So tell me a little about some of the things you’d like to be able to do in aviation?

Brian Rauch: Well, on the near to midterm, I’m looking to get in probably something that fits more of my background, sales oriented definitely.

I kind of like the flight training aspect of it. So that might be a little FBO or a flight training outfit. There’s also, I saw in your background you’ve worked with UPRT Company out of California, correct?

Mark Leeper: That’s correct, yeah.

Brian Rauch: And I’m interested in one of your competitors out at Williams Field APF.

Mark Leeper: Yeah.

Brian Rauch: So.

Mark Leeper: They’re a tremendous organization, growing one of the biggest in the world.

Brian Rauch: Yeah, and I’m just amazed with what that is. My father was a commercial pilot in the military, fighter pilot as well amongst other things in the service, and so aviation’s kind of in my blood, and I’m going hm, that might be an organization be nice to join.

So I’m educating myself on what’s involved, not just basic flight training, but also what is the sales and marketing process. Not just for them, but for the general aviation flight industry, and sales industry, so forth.

Mark Leeper: What type of aircraft did your dad fly?

Brian Rauch: Gosh, commercially, two sevens, three sevens, four sevens, five sevens, six sevens.

DC3, eights and then military, he was C47 so the DC3. OV-10s, A-10, A-37, PC-10s, and there’s a cargo plane in there that I don’t remember.

Mark Leeper: [LAUGH] Yeah, where was he based? Where did he fly? Probably all over the place.

Brian Rauch: Barstow was his primary station. He spent time also I forgot, England Air Force Base in Louisiana as well.

So those were his two stations.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, so you got to see a lot of parts of the country probably growing up.

Brian Rauch: No, he was a reservist, and you’re probably old enough to remember Braniff, he was one of the senior captains when version one went out of business, and came back for versions two and three.

Mark Leeper: [LAUGH] My goodness, yeah.

Brian Rauch: Then he also flew from North America, and his final commercial job was with Polar Air Cargo, now part of, I believe, Atlas.

Mark Leeper: Right, right.

Brian Rauch: So we just stayed stuck in east Texas, and then occasionally, we used flight benefits to go visit family up in New York and out in Denmark where my mother’s from.

Mark Leeper: Right, what are you doing right now to try and find out their opportunities in the sales area for the aviation industry?

Brian Rauch: Well, one is I’ve been doing a lot of online research. I’m looking at the materials that Paul and John have put together on the marketing aspects and some of the companies that are participating in the circle and the master’s class prior to that..

I’ve talked to some of the mid-level and mid-level senior management over at CAE Oxford here at Falcon Field, Classic Aviation, Falcon Aviations, because it’s kind of convenient learning because they’re about a mile away.

So I kind of drop in and just kind of pick their brains, talk to the higher ups of the people that work there and learn what the processes are involved and so forth. And just trying to find out what it takes to get in. And what I’m learning is it’s kind of challenging for an outsider such as myself who doesn’t have experience in the industry.

And so that’s why I’m trying to learn more, get into the ground school position, maybe go for private, though that would benefit me regardless within the industry. But try to understand the terminology regulations, and the specifics of the market that’s involved, that would be the prospects and existing customer bases.

Mark Leeper: I noticed the amount of flight instructors that are in demand right now. It seems to be increasing tremendously with the shortage of pilots coming up.

Brian Rauch: Absolutely.

Mark Leeper: And that really bodes well for flight schools, and Arizona being a flight school hub. Flight schools as a whole are always looking for ways to attract students.

How would you compare and contrast maybe what you did with the University of Phoenix, what opportunities that you see are part of the transferable fields you learned at Phoenix Aviation that can be moved over into flight schools?

Brian Rauch: Sure, of course you have the basic processes that is just kind of universal with a direct sales environment which is lead qualification and building rapport.

My personal view and my understanding with the industry is depending on who the target age group is. So if you’re looking for a younger student, you’re trying to inform as much as possible, but you’re trying to see how qualified and really prepared and dedicated they are to what they’re going to undertake.

So that requires some, kind of like we’re doing now, in depth questioning and interviewing to understand what the knowledge base is and to answer their questions. And also come up with clear expectations of what’s involved such as okay, well, how are you gonna pay for it, which is the most critical thing, and the most challenging thing for flight schools no matter where they are.

Because the cost of flight training on the low end for a school such as CAE and ATP amongst others, you’re looking at 60, 70 grand all day long, and it goes up from there. It’s quite a bit of money to pay for something, but you’re looking at fast track training of 18 months, plus or minus, to be CFI rated, and in many cases, APP rated on the low end.

Mark Leeper: What resources have you discovered that are available out there for financial assistance?

Brian Rauch: Well, if you’ve got some add initiative sponsorship programs like the big one that Jet Blue came up with, and then what that leaves a lot of students with is they try to line you up with, if you’re an American student and it’s a qualified program, you’re former military, you’ve got your GI bill and VA benefits.

If you’re just a student off the street, you may have some of the federal student loan and grant programs available if the school is qualified. Then, of course, you have private financing. Other than the good old fashion pay it with cash, or some people if they choose to do so, they pay it on credit, or from the family or whatever.

So those are the general resources that are available on the financial side of the equation. The question is, is the student willing and able to take care of that kind of debt load now? You also have some of these sponsorship trainings, what is it, not Mesa Airlines, but gosh, Transamerican.

I know they’re doing reimbursements if you qualify through schools such as APP, for example, of at least 11,000 in tuition reimbursement, along with sponsorship programs, which if you meet the minimal requirements and you pass the first interview, that you become, as part of the program, you become a paid trainer for whatever flight school, in this example, APP.

So you’re getting paid while you’re going to school, that kind of offsets some of the cost. And then you’re guaranteed an interview or possibly a slot to be a first officer as soon as you meet the qualifications, once you’ve built your time. So that’s another way to pay for school.

I’ve learned about more creative ways. Some people kinda hanging around FPOs for example and just picking up odd jobs, washing the aircraft, answering phones. Kinda trading their service or their labor as a way to offset costs to learn to fly. So that’s some of the non-traditional way, and then I’ve learned of others.

That some people will go out of their way and get into house flipping, or they’ll start a side business, or so forth. So there’s many ways to pay for school, but the most common seem to be financing it.

Mark Leeper: Right, well, we’re fortunate. Our industry, people have a true passion for aviation especially when it comes to flying, so they’ll go to great lengths to, most of the time, facilitate their education somehow.

Which is great, so we’re all dealing with passionate people. It’s a very small industry as a whole and a very close knit society,. So that’s good, and when you develop a reputation in the aviation industry, it can serve you well throughout the years.

Brian Rauch: Yeah.

Mark Leeper: If you looked at your combined skills that you’ve developed and educate yourself, what would you say, if you looked at the sales process from marketing to Prospecting, contacting, presenting, closing, follow up, what would you say is your top skill that you have?

Maybe the one you enjoy the most. Maybe the one that becomes the easiest and that you’re best at.

Brian Rauch: The one that comes best will be prospecting, followed by closing. Cause the prospecting is very challenging and interesting because you get to learn, it’s a new puzzle to be solved everyday.

So to speak. And when you have your prospective student client, whatever, on the phone or in person depending on however the sales process is setup. You get to know more about their needs and then match them to what the organization offers. For example I’m gonna go back with upset prevention in training.

Seems to be the target market right now is existing pilots, mainly commercial air transport. And those people are extremely busy, but with the requirements coming down, what 2017 the FAA is making it required for your current training to remain certified, something to that effect? Communicating the importance of going through this training is a challenge because, while I’ve, you know, we’ve done upset training when I did my flight.

And we do it in the sim, but it’s not the same as getting behind the controls of the aircraft and with somebody who’s versed in it. Because upset of an aircraft in flight is the most common cause of accidents and I believe many of the pilots that you’d be prospecting, they understand this.

They’ve gone into rough weather, they’ve fallen into turbulence from an aircraft ahead of them, something like that. And knowing how to quickly and safely recover the aircraft is a skill that It needs to be developed and it can be done quickly with competent training. And so illustrating that for the pilot and directing them to resources that are out there, YouTube videos that are posted, some of the research from ICAO and so forth, can help with the process of convincing them.

And then also showing how airlines are taken as seriously because they’re integrating that into their ongoing training to keep all their pilots current, and just let them know, hey you can be ahead of the curve on some of these things getting some people to think ahead. I know that can be attractive to some pilots, especially the more serious they are about the work they do.

So that’s kind of an off the chest scenario that I could foresee and just speaking to them on their level and directly, very plain spoken, don’t necessarily have to get in too much of the jargon. But from my experience has been just a facts man, because I don’t have a lot of time.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, exactly.

Brian Rauch: Very procedural, but yeah, if you do that.

Mark Leeper: I was gonna say people that have skills with the prospecting part of things and closing steps. A lot people will say that they enjoy sales. But that’s the hardest part of course, is contacting people on whether it’s cold or semi warm prospects.

So if you have skills at that and can You can exercise those skills, you should have an extreme of values on these companies, from my experience in sales training, there’s been too many of us in the field that have stepped back to rely only on social media, etc.

To try to close deals and that’s not where it’s at. It’s being in the trenches with the people that have skills like yourself and want to prospect and want to get on and come meet people and follow up, follow up, follow up until you find a point where the point where the customer is, all the needs are met and then you close the sale.

That’s a good thing to say. Most people will not say that, most people will say they like the marketing side of things, which is just as important honestly, but the personal contact.

Brian Rauch: Absolutely, because at the end of the day, I know this from my own experience.

When I need a product or service, there’s some things that are very transactional, say. I’m going to use spot-automotive because I just got done swapping a motor in my 4-Runner. I need some oil, I can go on Amazon and order a bottle of oil, I really don’t need help for that.

But if I don’t understand how certain gaskets are supposed to be used, or how to break a drive shaft that’s in the wrong position because it’s been there for 300,000 miles, I’m going to need somebody that has experience with that. I can read so much on the internet, I can watch so many videos but until somebody who’s actually done it.

Yeah, they tell you those things, but here let me show you. It doesn’t necessarily always click, plus it gives more confidence I think, to the consumer. And also to the business on the same hand, because you believe you’ve established that communication, and the rapport link that makes everyone more comfortable with what’s going on.

Mark Leeper: Our discussion to ABCI, tell me what you like best about ABCI and why?

Brian Rauch: Well, what I found very interesting about ABCI is how the scope of the information seems to be so broad and deep at the same time. It, from what I’ve been observing since January with the free posting of stuff, is how Paul and John have put together basically a marketing in a binder I’m gonna say, because I haven’t seen the binder.

And it starts from the beginning, okay let’s identify your market, what are your wants and needs, and what do you believe the wants and needs of your target customers are. And okay, let’s build up from there, what is your grant? What do you do best? How do you communicate this, are people trained to deal with customers?

Are you trained? Do you have systems in place, which helps with efficiency, let’s work on that. Trade shows, which we just covered last month. Okay, that’s a big thing that most people just blow off set up, I’m gonna set up my booth, and wait for the people to come.

No, it’s more than that. This is a great prospecting opportunity to draw in more leads, that are, that want the. How do you interact with people? How do you make sure that your information is from the market that you worked at prior makes that connection with the person where it generates their interest?

Where they want to learn more. The fact that ABCI wants to take a possible person, like me, to a professional, such as yourself, where they’re at and guide them along the way. For my case, inform them more about the industry and the processes, and then for a professional, such as yourself, how to make your processes better or help you generate a system that works for you.

I just find that tremendous. And in my prior sales experience, I wish I had some of these things before I was in those sales positions because I know I would have been even more successful than I was. And that’s just the value that I’ve found thus far learning from ABCI.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, I would agree with that. Paula and John have done an unbelievable job of building relationships throughout the aviation industry. And you’re right about their work and depth of companies that they work with, I mean, key individuals. It never ceases to amaze me that I can plug myself into ABCI and they’ll usually help me connect the over a short period of time with various different players in the aviation industry.

So that’s a real key thing. If you could help them and us out by saying, well what might you like to see us add to our menu so to speak, or what would you like to see improved? Could you think of anything that comes to mind?

Brian Rauch: Well again I, from my perspective I’m not the usual customer so to speak.

I’m a guy from the outside looking in what needs to get it. What I’m enjoying thus far is seeing how, the material even though it’s targeted towards people that are currently in the business, that information is not only informative to me, but it’s also applicable.

How would that help, or what offers can be added? Well maybe long term is how could ABCI actually develop something more of a training program for people like me or beginning professionals in the business that are going to be working in the marketing and the sales and the customer services.

All the things that keep the revenue flowing in order to. Help develop better professionals. The industry seems to be at a very critical point. General aviation is just kind of a wait and see mode right now. It’s kind of shrunk a lot, but there’s, you can just see there’s under the surface bubbling demand just about to happen especially with this pilot shortage.

And I really foresee some of these efforts that ABCI is helping to undertake with the business say hey, you need to ramp up. There’s an opportunity here that you can take advantage of. And I think that would be a neat thing, is how to identify possible prospects such as myself, or others again, that’s my biased perspective coming in.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, I think that’s a great point, giving back to the industry is always important, and it’s certainly done that, and you’re right about general aviation being a bit of a slump right now. So it will be interesting to see how things shake out, those are really good points.

Wanting to keep this to about 30 minutes, but the insider’s circle, how long have you been a part of that group?

Brian Rauch: Formally since last month. I’ve been informally watching since January. So here and there on the free webinars and some of the podcasts and everything. Since then because of my work and family demands, but I’m really bearing down right now to catch up on the past information and push forward.

Because I’d really like to be prepared and in a position to get on, again, we’re not or somebody else to start within the business in the next six months. And I’m hoping being within the insider circle will give me a broader knowledge base from which to present myself to prospective employers.

Mark Leeper: Well I’m sure with your passion for aviation and your professionalism and ability to sell, you’ll find a great position within the aviation field, especially in the sales, it is the lifeblood, we all love airplanes, we all love to fly. But nothing happens is when somebody sells something and it’s just so critical that everybody in a organization, the FBO, the flight school, etc is that part of that process on their mind is to how to network you know their services and professionalism out to the aviation community to bring in new customers because that’s what keeps things, again the gears turning.

Brian Rauch: Yeah, gotta grow the sales funnel and keep it filled.

Mark Leeper: Yeah, I’ll have you tell me as we conclude, what’s your next step? What do you see as your next critical move that you could take in pursuing this?

Brian Rauch: Well I’m hoping that an opportunity such as this Mark, getting some in-depth feed back from you.

Maybe connecting with others that are within the circle or some of your broader network. Maybe you said as a referral for mock interviews. Get to learn meet some of the owners and learn what the reality is from their side of the equation and determine whether or not I’m a good fit for the business.

Maybe for them or in general and then utilize that as a step to actually interview for real positions.

Mark Leeper: Well tremendous. Again, we’ve been talking with Bryan aviation, buddied professional, we certainly appreciate your comments and your positive response about aviation business consultants. And we’ll close this up, but again thank you so much for your help.

Brian Rauch: Thank you very much for your time Mark.

Mark Leeper: Okay we’ll talk to you soon.

Brian Rauch: Have a great day.

Square - Insider Circle - August2

How to Get the Attention of Decision Makers

Here’s the recording from this free Webinar:


A few of the resources we discussed:

Charts graphs tip sheet

Download our Charts, Graphs, Tables & Diagrams Tip Sheet!

Aviation Marketing Is A Team Sport At ABCI

By Kathryn Creedy

Larry Hinebaugh, Founder, V-Log Aircraft Digital Logbooks www.Vlog.aero uses ABCI for aviation marketing

Larry Hinebaugh, Founder, V-Log Aircraft Digital Logbooks uses ABCI for aviation marketing

When V-Log first started working with Aviation Business Consultants International two years ago, CEO Larry Hinebaugh faced a marketing challenge. He had invented a new product, one that was critical to aircraft value, but needed more than the traditional marketing approach. Much of the message was about educating the industry on the importance of V-Log, which digitizes logbooks and creates an online backup for something that represents about 30% of the value of an aircraft.


“I knew there would be a lot of education involved in bringing V-Log to market,” he said. “I was impressed with ABCI’s marketing classes and I felt confident they could probably help us. That included educating ABCI about the product and why it is so important to collaborate. Paula and John were able to help us articulate our message, constantly coming up with really great ideas. I think if I had to describe ABCI, I’d say they are the idea people.”


Hinebaugh zeroed in on what he liked best about ABCI. “Their role is definitely one of creativity and that’s exactly what you want,” he said. “That was also what we needed. I’m not a marketing person and have never marketed a product. Before we started with ABCI, we were limited to word of mouth and that worked because VIP aviation is a very small industry. But I knew we needed something more and I was very happy with the ideas they developed.”


With a new product, he explained, success can’t be achieved solely by word of mouth because your prospective customers don’t know they need something like V-Log. In fact, prospective customers not only didn’t know about V-Log, they didn’t even know they needed to back up these records which are searchable so maintenance, compliance and sales become much more efficient.


“We had to get the message out but we didn’t know how to educate the industry and have it wrapped up in an marketing envelope,” he said. “But they always came up with good ideas and then it was just a matter of my refining it. We’ve gotten a lot of traction in the industry because of it. We spent 2015 experimenting with different things and finding out what worked and didn’t work. We have changed the program significantly for that reason and this year our program will be much more narrowly focused on what worked.”


Hinebaugh explained that at the beginning of his marketing efforts, V-Log hired a sales consultant who told him he wasn’t ready for a big marketing campaign. “This consultant said we were too small for a marketing company,” he said. “But Paula turned him around and he continually sang their praises the entire time he worked with us. That is a good testament of how ABCI works and we want to keep working with them.”


Some of the work developed by ABCI for (and with!) V-Log:

Click on any of the items below:

Logbook Best Practices Blog

Audience – DOMs, maintenance personnel, aircraft owners

Purpose – Provide articles,  information and discussion on aircraft logbook related topics.

LBP screenshot


Printed book – the Plane Owner’s Guide

Audience – Aircraft owners

Purpose – Provide case studies and high-level information about how aircraft logbooks can impact airworthiness and resale value.

Amazon v-log screenshot


eBook – 12 Common Logbook Mistakes

Audience – DOMs, maintenance personnel, aircraft owners

Purpose – Provide more detailed information about aircraft logbook errors and how to avoid them.

V-Log Ebook 3d cover


Promo Video

Audience – Aircraft owners and brokers

Purpose – Promote the Plane Owner’s Guide

V-Log Plane Owners Guide Promo screenshot



Printed Newsletter

Audience – DOMs, maintenance personnel, aircraft owners

Purpose – Provide articles,  information and discussion on aircraft logbook related topics.

V-log newsletter


Orville & Wilbur In Charge Cartoon Series

Audience – DOMs, maintenance personnel, aircraft owners

Purpose – Simplify and explain complex technical information in a fun and easy format.

V-Log Orville-Wilbur1

Memorial Day

Memorial DayInstead of a Marketing Monday article this week, we’re taking time to reflect on Memorial Day  . . .

In spite of what you hear from both sides of the aisle in America, we have much to be grateful for.  We have law and order, a relatively free economy, and press.

This was made possible not by politicians, bankers, or journalists; but by the many soldiers who have given time, treasure or even their lives to secure these freedoms for us.

We’ll be back at it tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you have served in the military, please accept our gratitude for your service.

Black Friday Special – Get the Accidental Salesperson Course Free

Black Friday Special

Beginning at 12:01 am on Black Friday, join our Aviation Marketing Master Class at the silver level or above and we’ll send you our Accidental Salesperson Crash (Prevention) course free!


Black Friday Special

This week only. Sale ends  Friday, December 7!

If you’ve ever thought about getting into our Aviation Marketing Master Class, now’s the time!

When you join at our Silver Level (our most popular Master Class Level) we will also send you:

A one-inch three-ring binder with six complete lessons from our Marketing Master Class Series (each a $129 value)

  • Sales Phobia
  • What Sales Pros Know (that You Should!)
  • Marketing Basics
  • Advanced Prospecting
  • Advanced Credibility & Closing
  • Advanced Recaptures, Resells and Referrals

Each of these lessons includes:

  • Video on DVD
    (approx. 1 hour)
  • A Printed Workbook
  • A Homework Assignment relevant to Your Company (we provide customized feedback)

Free Bonuses as part of the NBAA special:

  • One free Mystery Shopping call.  (A $299 value)
  • A Coupon worth $100 off our customized Marketing Flight Plan

A total value of  $1,178 for  $179

Don’t let your business crash because of poor sales results!

Get it now!

You can cancel your membership in the Master Class at any time, the Accidental Salesperson Crash (Prevention) Course and all materials you’ve received up to the date of your cancellation are yours to keep.

Three Reasons Aviation Companies Should Run Marketing Campaigns

“Why should aviation companies run marketing campaigns?  Why can’t we just find a price that works, create an ad that works, and keep running that all the time?”

This was the most intelligent question we’ve had in a long time – unfortunately the person who asked it wanted to remain anonymous!

It stands to reason  – objectives of any great company that cares about its products and its customers wants to do the following:

  • Create a great product, always.
  • Provide something of value, always.
  • Charge a fair price for that product, always.

reasons aviation companies should run marketing campaignsThese are worthy objectives, and to many business people, seasonal or temporary campaigns can seem like unnecessary disruption of normal business practices at best, and shady underhanded dealing at worst.

We agree!   We’ve all seen the people on street corners waving signs screaming “50% OFF! THIS WEEK ONLY!” week in and week out.  We’ve all bought products only to find out that they went on sale the following week and we feel like we overpaid.

Disingenuous campaigns can ruin your credibility and your relationships with regular customers.

Having said all that, why do we still recommend campaigns?

Here are three main reasons campaigns can be absolutely vital to meeting your sales goals:

To Engage With a Sense of Urgency.

If you’ve found that prospects are progressing through your sales process and agreed they need your product but never quite committing to the sale, you may need to find a reason to convey a sense of urgency. If your prospects are telling you  “I love your product and I’m going to buy it someday,” you can’t exactly make payroll and pay your bills based on those promises.  You need to communicate some reason that its in THEIR best interest, as well as yours, to make the purchase a priority!

We advise reasons that convey reality.  If your product can be connected with a seasonal issue or a regulatory change, take advantage of the natural deadline to encourage customers to buy. If you offer a service that helps your clients come into compliance with a FAA or TSA regulation that is going into effect on a certain date or time, it’s a natural opportunity.

You can also communicate internal reasons as well – provide customers an “inside view” of some of your internal dynamics and let them take advantage of your naturally slower cycles can be a win-win opportunity. We offered a discount to clients who engaged us several months before our busy season before NBAA. Clients that engaged us for NBAA-related services in August were charged a lower rate than those who engaged us in October. Why? Because when we have to hire additional people and/or pay overtime, it’s reasonable that our prices reflect those charges.

To Experiment With a New Product or Package.

We all have to adapt to changes in regulations, technology, and competition.

If you have a software product for pilots,  there is no doubt that you’ve noticed the increase in the number of pilots that carry iPads and tablet computers.

When you develop new version of your product, (perhaps to be compatible with new devices, for example) there are several campaign techniques you can use:

  • Offer discounts to early adopters and “beta testers.”
  • Offer your older versions at a discount
  • Offer free upgrades if one is nearing completion

If you offer something else, like charter service, you may wish to “try out” a bundled service like ground transportation or hotel discounts before you engage in a long-term marketing relationship with a potential partner. Offering a short-term “deal” gives you the opportunity to see if your customers are excited about it, if your partner lives up to his promises, and if all goes well before jumping in with both feet.

You may want to try out different “bundles” of your own services to increase transaction size and encourage loyalty. If you offer aircraft maintenance, for example, you may offer a loyalty program that offers discounts or additional services like a detail cleaning with a phase inspection.

To Bring Back Old Customers

We’ve often said that the “money is in Phase Three” in aviation marketing, (Phase Three being repeat sales and referrals.)

We advise clients to run a special campaign once or twice a year that focuses attention on your existing or past customers, this  is a great way to ensure you’re capitalizing on your greatest asset – the people who already know, like and trust your company. Referral campaigns can be a time to specifically reach out to your existing customers and ask for referrals, or “friends and family” events can offer something special to your past and existing customers and entice them to refer friends or family for a special discount or bonus.

There is probably a natural cycle to repeat purchases – one of our clients knows that his clients tend to make a purchase every three years.   He keeps in touch with them during that three year cycle with continuous newsletters and birthday cards, and at about the thirty month mark he makes a note to give them a call and find out how business is going and how things have changed.  Those calls bring in new business.

To Sum Up

While we agree that the first priority should be to offer a great product at a fair price and a consistent experience to all customers, seasonal promotions and marketing campaigns are a valuable tool that you can’t afford not to consider!

2014 Masterclass Topics

We’re developing next year’s syllabus for our Aviation Sales & Marketing Master Class.

2014 Marketing Masterclass Topics

Thanks for taking a few minutes to let us know which topics are important to you!

You may notice that we’ve held sessions on some of these topics in the past – some may be worth updating and running again. Some topics are new.

Which of these topics should we include in our 2014 Syllabus?


  • Showing Rather than Telling – Infographs & Images
  • Story Boarding Your Marketing Campaigns
  • Direct Mail  & Information Packages
  • Branding & Consistency Workshop
  • SEO
  • Fun, Games & Entertainment in Marketing – What Works & What’s Fluff
  • Qualifying Prospects- Determining Where to Spend Your Time and Resources
  • Capitalizing on Controversy Without Being A Jerk
  • Effective and Non-Awkward Networking for Sales
  • Doing Market Research – Where to Get Good Data
  • Podcasting as a Marketing Tool
  • Your Sales Process & Your Marketing System – Like Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Construction of a Marketing Funnel
  • Why Random Acts of Marketing Don’t Work
  • Statistics, Measurements & Return on Investment (ROI) for Marketing
  • Joint (Co-operative) Marketing Campaigns
  • Attractive “Packaging” For Your Product or Service
  • Effective Trade Show Campaigns
  • Investing in Marketing Content – Using Ebooks, Books & Articles
  • How to Know When You Need a Dedicated Salesperson/Staff
  • Sales Presentations
  • Sales Accountability
  • Direct Mail – The Power of Snail Mail
  • Branding!
  • Content Marketing – What the Heck Do I Write About?
  • Sales Phobia
  • Planning a Marketing Campaign
  • Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
  • Using Video for Marketing
  • Time Management for Sales Marketing Teams
  • PR & Reputation Management
  • Planning a Marketing Calendar
  • The New Customer Process – Sales Doesn’t End with the Transaction
  • Direct Response Marketing
  • Information Packages – How to Use Them, What Goes In Them, etc.
  • In-Person Sales Presentations
  • Working with the Press

Go to our Online Survey, or enter your thoughts in the comments below.

Not a member of our Master Class? 

Accidental SalespersonTake advantage of our NBAA Convention Special –Click here to Join at the Silver Level before November 15  

Receive  $50 off per month
(You get the Silver Level Membership at $129 rather than $179 per month)

AND you receive our Accidental Salesperson Crash (Prevention) Course (a  $1,178  value!) as a free gift!

You may cancel your Aviation Sales & Marketing Master Class subscription at any time. Keep the Accidental Salesperson course, and any course materials you’ve received, with our compliments.

nbaa NBAA Convention Special Offer





Throwback Thursday – American Airlines Ad Displays Unique Selling Proposition with Curiosity-Inspiring Headline and Image

Unique selling proposition

#ThrowbackThursday – This vintage American Airlines ad includes a lot great elements:

  • Attention-Getting headline
  • Curiosity-Inspiring image
  • Great copy (text)  that explains a Unique Selling Proposition-  (a competitive benefit of traveling with American) the customer probably didn’t know. (In this case, explaining how radar makes air travel safer – a novel concept!)

Even if American wasn’t the only airline at the time using radar, it would probably stick in the mind of readers that “American is the airline that uses radar and is therefore safer.”

Have an example of a great vintage ad we can use on #ThrowbackThursday? Let us know!

A 130-Year-Old Sales Technique (a la Robert Louis Stevenson)

This sales technique is 130 years old.

In April’s lesson on great sales techniques, we talked about the “reverse negative close,” also known as the “takeaway close.”  At that time, we didn’t have an example this good or we would have used it!  Essentially, this technique takes the pressure off the prospect, while at the same time, letting him know “this product is not for everyone. ”  At the same time, it appeals to something that you’ve noticed is a “trigger” to him.
The takeaway close

On the road home from Infusionsoft University, we were listening to the excellent audiobook of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island by exLibris, and we noticed that Stevenson used this technique very masterfully and eloquently in 1883.

Keep in mind that Stevenson’s effort was to sell books to young boys, who would probably rather have a baseball or other toy than a book.  Here’s the passage –

To the Hesitating Purchaser:

If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And buccaneers, and buried gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of today:

–So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:

So be it, also! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!

In aviation, you can appeal to your audiences’ desire for exclusivity, convenience, smart business decisions, or perhaps even adventure.  After all, we’re all kids at heart.

If only we were all this eloquent!  But even in plainer, modern language, you can see how this technique could be used.

How well do you know your own “Hesitating Purchaser?” Do you know enough to create a statement that indicates “this product is not for everybody” in a way that is likely to make him even MORE attracted to your product or service?


Off To School Again – Being a Lifetime Student of Marketing and Technology

Infusionsoft University marketing and technologyI’m writing this on Saturday while John is packing for a trip to Chandler, Arizona.  We’re on our way to the Infusionsoft University next week – need to keep up with the changes in marketing and technology!

We love traveling. And you can never get too much school.

You can call us nerds, egg-heads, geeks, whatever; but we enjoy going to classes and learning new things, particularly marketing band technology.

There is currently much controversy about whether a college education is a good investment for a young person.  We’ve heard the arguments and we  agree with some of them, but we still encouraged our kids to get at least a bachelor’s degree. We think it teaches as much about self-discipline and working within a system as it does about the subject matter, and the doors it opens are still worth the investment.  It also helps a young person build up a trusted network of contacts within their chosen field and start building relationships.

John and I both have Master’s degrees.  (John’s in Business, mine in Adult Education.) While this is not specifically about marketing OR aviation, we’ve found the background really helps us put things into perspective and sets us apart from other people in aviation and marketing who don’t have the deep understanding of business informs our discussions with clients about how product pricing affects long-term financial projections, or how an investment in marketing affects the bottom line.  The education background is helpful to our clients because we truly believe that educating customers should be a function of great marketing.

We try to attend two major classes or seminars each year, in addition to aviation conventions. We can’t learn everything there is to know, but we carefully choose one business or marketing topic that has changed a lot in the last year, and one technology topic that has changed a lot (or that we feel holds the most value for our clients.)

We chose Infusionsoft because ALL of our clients have expressed a lot of interest in marketing automation – no matter how brilliantly designed a marketing campaign may be, it won’t work if our clients are too busy to execute it well.  Automating as many steps as possible frees up their time for sales tasks that require a personal touch.

While we love online webinars and books (we each read about a book a month, on a wide variety of topics)

We like to attend them on-site when we can.  The reason?

  • Going somewhere forces us out of our routine.  Meeting different people, eating different food, sleeping in a different bed causes a shift in our perception so that we look back at our own business (and our clients’ businesses!) from a different perspective, at least for a week.
  • Interacting with people in a room brings unexpected ideas and connections for collaborations.  We’ve met people at seminars that we’ve subsequently introduced to our clients, creating mutually profitable new relationships.

Looking forward to sharing more great ideas when we get back!

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