There's a team of personal trainers at Hangar 10 – a perennial pilots' survey favorite serving Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (KMKC). But they're not working in the fixed base operator's large, decked-out fitness center featuring men's and women's locker rooms with showers.
Personal trainers help coach people to get the body they desire. But Hangar 10's "personal coaches" help people make sure they get the aircraft they need.
For a sales effort, focusing on coaching over selling takes a unique mindset. At the newly formed Hangar 10 Aircraft Sales, it's no longer all about the "close," it's about the process.
"Positioning Hangar 10 as a coaching advocate puts buyers at ease, and that helps them concentrate on making the right decision," explains Kyle Eiserer, General Manager of Hangar 10.
Selling aircraft through coaching is just one of many interesting things Hangar 10 has done since it began operating out of a metal trailer in 2009.
Some might have challenged the Phillips 66 Aviation-branded dealer's wisdom to build out at Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport, a facility experiencing declining traffic. But build they did.
Now Hangar 10 boasts a state-of-the-art, 26,000 square-foot terminal, complete with that fitness center, several pilot overnight rooms/day quarters (each with a desk, entertainment center, private bath and bed), an advance flight planning area, conference rooms, and coffee pots brimming with Hangar 10's own roasted blend. All of that is lit and powered by an energy-efficient system featuring solar panels, translucent panels, Orion Energy System lights and large fans that have reduced what could have been Hangar 10's energy costs by 75 percent.
The FBO also built a ramp, extensively reinforced to withstand the weight of a fully loaded Boeing 737.
Twelve corporate jets have filled its 28,800 square-foot hangar. And Hangar 10 just announced plans to construct another 11,000 square-foot hangar and office building to handle the growing needs of existing tenants.
Couple those amenities with a team that Eiserer coaches to be customer-attentive, knowledgeable and smiling, and it's easy to see why this relatively new FBO placed third in the 2013 ProPilot survey, ninth in AIN's 2013 survey, and first in FltPln.com's North Central division three years running.
"It's our mission to set new expectations for pilots and passengers alike," Eiserer says.
Put me in, Coach
Directing Hangar 10's new aircraft sales coaching effort is Larry Peet – a former sales and marketing veteran for aviation stalwart Cessna, and New England's Port City Air and Carolina Jet. The 30-year aviation industry pro is a commercial pilot with instrument and multiengine ratings, with a career that runs from Navy flight deck operations to sales and marketing.
"A typical aircraft broker is centered on the sale," Peet explains. "Here, the approach is different. Our emphasis is in on coaching, not selling. We're advocates and advisors for the customer, there every step of the way – from evaluation and negotiation to the prepurchase survey, acceptance flight and closing process.
Peet says by coaching, not selling, they help customers make a decision that is both informed and confident.
"A coach is a guide, someone with knowledge and expertise that takes care of all the details – from small to large – so customers can focus on getting an aircraft that is a perfect fit," says Peet.
And because coaches like to coach in person, Hangar 10 believes in working with customers face-to-face, whether they are buying or selling. "If you can't come to visit us in Kansas City, we'll bring our service to your office or hangar," Eiserer says.
Hangar 10 developed its coaching approach after taking a close look at the process an aircraft buyer goes through.
"It's been our experience, as both buyers and sellers of aircraft, that knowledge is key – and helping a customer through the process results in a smoother transaction," Eiserer explains.
The Hangar 10 team of "coaches" has logged $1 billion in aircraft transactions during their careers, delivering hundreds of aircraft from multiple manufacturers. Their focus these days is on light and medium-sized business jets, facilitating both buyers and sellers.
What goes around, comes around
In many ways, the policy to forgo ramp fees is indicative of Hangar 10's customer-centric, value-added methods.
"Mandatory fuel loads do not mesh with our mission to create a customer experience that's unlike any other," explains Eiserer. "It's about the long term. We may not get a load this quick-turn or the next. Eventually we'll get a courtesy fuel load from that customer. And we've found that our courtesy fuel loads are higher than if we'd set a minimum gallon requirement to waive a ramp fee."
Hangar 10 promotes the WingPoints Rewards program from Phillips 66 Aviation to gin up repeat customers. WingPoints that accumulate with aviation fuel purchases can be immediately redeemed online for gift or debit cards. Used with the Wings® Card – Phillips 66's new aviation credit card – jet fuel pilots and flight schedulers can rack up double points at participating FBOs.
"If all that we do creates a rewarding experience for customers, we know they'll be back," Eiserer explains.
To add value to catering requests, Hangar 10 features a good-sized galley, gleaming with stainless steel. That allows the FBO to partner with a variety of local caterers, while keeping prices "fair and reasonable," says Eiserer.
The FBO's customer service representatives are called Client Solutions Managers. "They have the wherewithal, knowledge and empowerment to provide solutions, which is what customers want," Eiserer explains.
And that's where Hangar 10's fitness center comes in again. It's a facility that goes beyond a couple of pieces of gym equipment crammed into a small, windowless room in an airport. Stroll into Hangar 10's fitness center and it feels like you've walked into one at a respectable hotel or private club.
"The fitness center here is more than something to check off on an amenity list," says Eiserer. "We provide a place where customers can take care of their health. Creating a rewarding aviation experience goes beyond selling fuel and aircraft. And that's the basis of our motto 'No better place to land.'"
As one of the country's most famous coaches, Yogi Berra, might have put it, aviation is 90 percent mental, the other half physical.
For more information about Hangar 10, call (816) 949-8900, or visit www.H10Aircraft.com.