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Carsten Matthiesen about current development, challenges and the targets of the AeroVisto Sales Team.

"We are service providers, not sellers!"

In response to the strong growth in requests for our services from international markets, we at the AeroVisto Group have created structures over the last few months that will enable us to meet the current demands. This includes our new sales team.

We spoke with Carsten Matthiesen, CEO and Executive Director Commercial of the AeroVisto Group, about the current development, the present challenges and the targets set. Here is the first part of the interview.

Aerovisto, Business Jet,

Carsten, you have been with AeroVisto as CEO from the very beginning and have always been heavily involved in customer relations. How would you describe the core values followed in sales at the AeroVisto Group?

CM: Well, to put it briefly, we are service providers, not sellers! We have always followed this principle when interacting with prospects and customers. This means accompanying a customer in the long term – in good and bad moments. It also means that I can’t be indifferent to whether a project goes well or not so well. When you’re as close to the customer as we have been from the very beginning, you have to be able to look your counterpart in the eye at all times. That’s an obligation.

Isn’t this approach exhausting in the long run?

CM: Relationships between people always involve „costs“ and personal commitment – whether in the private or business sphere. But this commitment pays off. Private and business aviation has always been a people business. It generally involves significant investments – and mutual trust is an absolutely essential foundation. That’s why we have always regarded cultivating customer relationships as a „matter for the boss.“

What does that mean in real terms?

CM: It means that we feel personally responsible for the satisfaction of our customers. And yes, I know that every company and every sales team claims they always work in a customer-oriented manner. But if you look around the market, the question is how far this promised customer orientation goes. Am I really trying to take my customer’s perspective? Or am I trying to sell the customer what best utilizes the capacities in my production? How often do I reply to my customer that this request is not realizable? And why do I do this – out of convenience, because I don’t want to disrupt my internal processes, or because it really is beyond the scope of what is feasible?

But you’ve also had to tell a customer, „that’s not possible,“ haven’t you?

CM: Yes, of course – that happened and still happens occasionally. But: If a customer’s request pushed us to the limits of our possibilities, we were not satisfied with the fact. With Hermann Bauer, we always asked ourselves: OK, what must we do to overcome these limitations and accommodate the customer further? From such situations, sometimes the best offers and ideas emerge.

For example?

CM: For example, we realized how important it is for a customer, an aircraft owner, to see and feel the materials live before making a decision. It is only sometimes possible for the decision-maker to visit us in our manufactory. So it was clear that we had to take on-site material selection at the customer’s site to a new level. That’s how we came up with our Mobile Showroom, which now regularly tours Europe. It was a similar story with our packaging and logistics service. We were simply not indifferent to whether it was easy or difficult for a customer to ensure that the disassembled cabin parts arrived safely at our facility. The logical development of this customer-oriented idea was then the close cooperation with VARTAN AERO, thanks to which we can optimize the processes for our customers even more.

Aerovisto, Business Jet,

How does that pay off?

CM: We are known on the market as service providers, not sellers. Experience over the last few years has shown that this makes a big difference. This is the reason why we have so many returning customers. Customers come back because they want to, not because they have no other choice. And that’s precisely how it should be!

Now AeroVisto has grown strongly. With Zurich and Schnaittach (Germany), new locations and many new team members have been added – also in sales. What challenges does that bring?

CM: Yes, that’s right. We are happy about this expansion and about the fact that our team is growing. In the last few months, we have recruited some great, strong personalities for the Group. This also changes the character of the team. That is only natural, and it is what we want. The challenge now is to work together to ensure that the core values we have established in the relationships with our customers continue to be lived. This is a fundamental goal, especially for our sales team, which is particularly close to the customer.

Aerovisto, Business Jet,

Interview — part two

"One team, one goal: Maximum customer satisfaction!"

Why is it so vital for the sales team to understand the group’s core values?

CM: Because as a company, we want to remain authentic and committed to our principles despite all the growth. We want to continue to be fast in our response, continue to be close to the customer, and, as before, cultivate the intensive customer relationships that we have built up. And that is mainly the responsibility of our sales team.

How do you find the right people for this task?

CM: We always keep our eyes and ears open to see if there are still people in the business who value and embody the kind of consulting culture we practice. And yes, they still exist. These are the candidates we approach.

What else should a sales team member bring with them?

CM: Well, when we talk about being service providers, it means that every single sales team member should feel personally responsible for customer satisfaction. They should have a personal desire to be perceived by the customer as a consultant and partner, not as someone who offers commission-driven off-the-shelf solutions. A salesperson should never be indifferent to what he or she is selling to the customer. This requires the proper essential attitude towards the business, personal commitment, and the will to perform. This may be read easily on paper. But it is quite a challenge to maintain this high level in daily work, especially when the volume of inquiries and orders increases noticeably, as is currently the case at AeroVisto.

And what about professional competency?

CM: We want to continue to be the „realizers of our customers‘ wishes.“ That’s why, as a direct contact, you must understand and feel what is possible and feasible. On the one hand, this has to do with technical solutions and understanding of materials, but also with the fact that large refurbishment projects require much time for implementation and must therefore be well planned and timed. Commitments to a customer directly impact the performance and success of our company. That’s why it’s essential that all sales team members are technically competent and creative but, at the same time, think entrepreneurially.

What does it mean to think entrepreneurially in Sales?

CM: Well, when we talk about continuing to respond quickly to customer inquiries, we need short paths and quick decisions. Customers don’t want to and can’t wait until a service provider’s CFO signs off on a calculation. But that requires a high decision-making ability for our customer advisors – in other words, in Sales. When we talk about „Sales Directors“ at AeroVisto, these are not titles for the business card. Instead, it is an appropriate job description – in terms of decision-making ability but also the entrepreneurial responsibility for the success of the Group.

Aerovisto, Business Jet,
Aerovisto, Business Jet,

How does the AeroVisto Group deal with the increasing volume?

CM: We have created structures at the right time to react flexibly to the current growth. But we are talking about the parallel execution of complex aviation projects at different locations in Europe or even worldwide. This requires close coordination between sales, project management, and the manufacturing units‘ site management. So, there must be no silo thinking in people’s minds like “Oh, those from Sales,” or “Oh, those from Production again.” To succeed, we must act as one unit, one team with one goal: Maximum customer satisfaction.

Isn’t this demand on a team a self-evident fact?

CM: It may sound self-evident, but it’s not. Mainly if you have worked in large companies in the aviation industry, such departmental thinking can be profoundly in-rooted and noticeably disrupt processes. Customers and prospects sense this. So, you have to get out of any silo-thinking-habit quickly at AeroVisto. We make this easy for our employees – with special training, continuing education, and a strongly socially oriented corporate culture.

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