Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants

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Sep 9, 2002 by Sean Luce

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to observe a number of startup companies. Some make it, but unfortunately, most don't. The aircraft industry has been of particular interest to me as I spend so many hours in the air. I think a Denver-based startup has a good chance of making it. Called Adam Aircraft, the company has a new airplane, which it calls the CarbonAero. Let's check some of this plane's specs,which I recall from an article in July's Flying Magazine:

"The CarbonAero is a push-pull pressurized piston aircraft powered by twin Continental turbocharged 550s, rated at 350 horsepower each, and controlled by FADEC computers. Adam predicts a maximum takeoff weight of 6,300 pounds. Max cruising speed of the CarbonAero is pegged at 250 knots, with a high-speed cruising speed of 223 knots.Most pilots hope to be flying piston airplanes with advanced solid-state electronic, attitude-heading reference systems (AHRS) showing all flight instrument information on the PFD, but no cost-appropriate units exist yet, so Adam is planning to certify with conventional vacuum-driven instruments. The Company hasn't chosen an ice protection system yet, however they can always install conventional pneumatic boots if other technologies don't arrive on
time. Adam Aircraft expects to fly the first conforming CarbonAero this fall and to receive certification early in 2003. In summary, Adam looks to have a good chance to succeed."

OK, so you think I've gone nuts? Well, here's the point. Imagine that you are a parts vendor making a call on Adam Aircraft and do not know anything about its industry.What might be your chances of selling them anything except possibly a Snickers bar? Unfortunately, many of us in Radio sales and management are calling on businesses in the retail industry, and we haven't a clue about basic retail jargon.

Two of my basic sales-training questions deal with retail terminology: "Can you define the term 'markup'?" and "Can you define 'profit margin'?" Remember, we are supposed to be in the business of helping clients grow their sales and profitability. In most cases, however, we don't even understand basic retail terms! With a limited knowledge of the fundamentals of business, our chances of being able to work with clients to increase their ROI are about as good as our selling a new ice system to Adam Aircraft.

The good news is that it is not too late to learn! Here is a brief test to give to your staff: Retail - Terms, Phrases and Vocabulary. It's not a very hard test, and it's short, with only multiplechoice and true/false answers. It might, however, take a little work if you are starting with only limited knowledge of the subject.

"What's in it for me?" you ask. Just think how your credibility will soar with clients and prospects when you start talking their language! So, learn and study constantly! It will be worth it when big orders comes in, and you have customers buying your proposals because they trust in your abilities to help them grow their businesses!

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