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Thu, Jul 28, 2011

Aviation Marketing Done Right

Enstrom Helicopters Making Efforts To Sell Professionally

By David Juwel

As our readers know, I am not shy about pointing out the dismal failures in aviation management and marketing. I do this to stimulate change which is good for our industry. On the other end of the spectrum, I thoroughly enjoy pointing out good examples. Such was the case today when I had a meeting with Dennis Martin, the marketing manager for Enstrom Helicopter. The meeting resulted in one of the most engaging conversations about aviation marketing that I've had at a fly-in.

There are 12 helicopter manufacturers in the world and Enstrom Helicopter is one of the smaller players. They are a privately owned company that has been in business for 52 years. With only 115 employees, they have a completely American made product, produced without the benefit of government subsidies like the European manufacturers enjoy, and they sell 20-30 aircraft a year. Currently, they are making significant inroads in the international market which will increase their output. This is occurring in spite of the international economy. I wondered how they were able to compete with the major manufacturers in those markets, or how they've been able to last this long considering some of the bigger players in their industry.

Even when you look at the comparison charts, some of the major manufacturers barely acknowledge their existence. But like the tortoise and hare race, Enstrom is patiently going the distance, and is slowly gaining ground.

Dennis told me that their mission is not to become the biggest. They just want to make a quality aircraft produced at a high American standard, and sell it at a very competitive price, and then provide excellent after market service. They have focused on that mission and stuck with it through the years. As a result they have a deserved reputation among their customers. The fact that they've kept their acquisition costs, and their D.O.C. down, hasn't hurt either.

In addition, they don't prequalify people before they'll talk to them. Dennis teaches his sales people to engage everyone. He recognizes that anyone walking up to his display, no matter how they're dressed, may not only be able to afford one of his helicopters, but they might also be able to afford a fleet of them. But no matter if they can afford it, if the individual is treated in a responsible business manner, years down the road when they can afford it, or when their company needs a helicopter - they may just remember the professional treatment they received and make the first call to you. Especially in business, what goes around, comes around.

Since their market is primarily private owners, law enforcement, and training facilities, it doesn't hurt to have a safe, high quality, rugged product, which is exactly what they produce.

What I observed at this display was professional and personable salesmanship. This is just what you should expect in a high-ticket item sales environment. Why don't we see more of that in the aviation environment? Could I write a complimentary story like this about your business. I would welcome it, and so would your bottom line.

FMI: www.enstromhelicopter.com

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