Broker Perspective: People Make the Deal Go Round
I recently said that an aircraft transaction is one of the most complicated feats known to man. So, it is nice when I am reminded of the shining side of our industry: the people. They can make everything work better and bring more enthusiasm to our projects. The people include the clients, of course, but also the collateral players such as the legal teams, maintenance teams, and the fellow sales professionals that aircraft brokers communicate with daily when in the process of a transaction. The weaker links in these chains of people stand out and can dull the enthusiasm and weaken the resolve that it takes to bring a complicated transaction across the finish line.
As our market shifts to buying aircraft in very-high-demand, low-supply markets, it is again the people who make the difference more often than the airplane. I remind my buying clients often that in the hunt we are not going to be alone. The relationships we all have with our fellow professionals can often make the difference between getting to make a deal or not.
This week brought an example of that theory. We closed on an aircraft that was in a high-demand, very-low-supply situation. Many weeks before, when focusing on the target aircraft and making an offer, the selling broker said that although his activity level was high, doing business with us was as important as price and terms—because of the perceived certainty of the deal with our client. This is not to say price and terms do not matter, but people make the difference to get to a tipping point. I know when the role is reversed and we are the selling side and an offer comes in on an airplane, I go to great lengths to let my selling client know the people.
I wrote an article years ago that I am reminded of—it was about manufactured tensions in a transaction, which creates the opposite effect. This phenomenon occurs when someone in the transaction creates tension for the sake of moving one side or the other. In fact, the group could most likely be moved with respectful and thoughtful discussions, rather than negative forceful behavior.
Believe me, there are times in every deal where one side or the other really needs to convey a position that might not be pleasant to hear but is right. I used to say I often feel like an eye doctor when I come into a selling situation trying to give people peripheral vision so they can see me on their side rather than across from them. However, in this market environment, it is the relationships, the respect for all parties in a transaction, and the ability to manage the balls in the air that will make us all feel better and get more transactions over the finish line.