AINsight: There's Huge Value in Face-to-Face Meetings

 - October 3, 2019, 9:52 AM

Last month, two of the industry airframe manufacturers held their respective industry influencer gatherings. It is always so powerful for the industry insiders and professionals who earn their livings buying, selling, consulting, lending, managing, and providing legal expertise to the industry to get together to socialize and discuss best practices and new phenomena affecting the industry.

In fact, years ago our company and an aviation attorney friend of ours used to host a dinner the night before the NBAA convention began. We would invite top-tier participants to what we'd call a competitors dinner. When we are with the prospects and customers at the NBAA event, we have our game faces on. We are all working to secure, retain, and build our bases. Once the lights turn off, we can relax—we in the industry are all very good friends and, for the good of the industry, respectful competitors.

The recent OEM events also allow us to gather in these casual settings to relax and share with each other. Admittedly, this gathering is not just about letting us relax and take deep collective breaths. More importantly, it allows our host OEMs to spend time briefing and educating us about new products, improvements to customer service offerings, and deliverables that will help us help them in the markets we serve.

Most of the OEMs today are just about to or have just started delivering clean-sheet aircraft. There is so much to learn as we as the external voices for the OEMs go out into the marketplace to sell and represent these exciting entrants. New technology, which is introduced and built into these new products, is often not learned as easily by printed or electronic delivery methods as they are by face-to-face meetings with actual demonstrations of the products.

Sitting in a room with the best and brightest of the manufacturers, developers, and leadership teams, and then having the best and brightest of the market professionals, leads to spirited and intelligent discussions and learning sessions for both sides. The hosts tell us their methodology of gaining and retaining brand loyalty and market share with the new products, and we can offer our insights as to the competitive landscapes and offer doses of reality to the building blocks anticipated.

At the end of the gatherings, I leave with a better understanding of products. I am able to go out as hoped and provide factual intel to my market. I am better prepared—as I believe we all are—to share new strategies with the market regarding service and service center improvements. From my perspective, the time away from the office is a tremendous ROI of my time. Having the face-to-face with my great friends is beyond valuable. The industry is better as a result of these gatherings. I know everyone is looking forward to another great opportunity to see everyone later this month in Las Vegas at NBAA-BACE.