We are used to newly certificated pilots asking, ‘what plane should I buy?’ And as experienced pilots, our answer is almost invariably the same, ‘what is your mission?’ As we all know, the mission determines what airplane a pilot should choose. One pilot may simply want to fly themselves to a Saturday morning pancake breakfast fly-in. Another will want to fly their family of four and a dog to visit family 300-miles away. Yet another may need to fly themselves and a couple of employees 800-miles to visit clients.
A 172, Bonanza, and King Air could complete any of the missions, but each is optimized for a different customer. And getting it wrong might mean someone gives up on aviation and we lose another chance to grow the pilot population.
Your flight school also has a mission. Students planning to fly for the airlines will start out with the intention of earning their instrument rating, and commercial, and instructor certificates. They will want to start out flying a glass cockpit aircraft with an integrated flight deck similar to the ones they will fly in their career. Their goals are very different from the weekend flyer who may not have any plan to use their certificate in mind and might be happier flying a simple VFR only aircraft.
Now I hear what you’re thinking, ‘Hey Antoni, I can’t afford to turn away customers because they don’t meet my mission.’ And you’d be right, but here’s the thing, by defining your mission you get to better understand your customers. You can adapt the way you communicate with your career clients and your recreational clients depending on their goals. If they don’t yet have a purpose for earning their certificate, you can help them find one.
Start by recording what your customers’ goals are. How many of your clients are renters and how many are students. How many of those students are planning to pursue a career in aviation, and how many are looking to fly recreationally? Next, create a training plan for those pilots looking to get their ATP, those who are planning to fly for their business, and those who simply want to enjoy a weekend burger run. Finally, see how you can modify your business communications to serve each segment better.
As your business grows, your flight school will become known for it’s incredible customer service. Clients will become raving fans, recommending the way your business ‘gets them,’ making it grow with less effort and money spent on marketing.
Start defining your mission today and get more insight into your clients.
A well-defined mission will help you connect with customers and grow your business.