Project Flight School: Package pricing

As turnaround specialists Mike Dempsy and Rod Beck began working with Cirrus Aviation’s Nayda Cattin, one of the first ideas to experiment with at the school centers around the concept of package pricing, selling value, and how to get over price objections on the phone. Below is the advice Dempsy and Beck gave Cattin.

The pricing below and the way to package it are suggestions. We have come up with a price that will build profitability into each program. Price is always going to be a part of the equation because everyone is after the most bang for the buck. The presentation and close are things most people don’t think about, yet are the most important parts of the business.

SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL PRICES

“Try Your Wings”

Plan 1 – Cessna Skycatcher 162: $795

Course includes: 4 hours flight instruction, 2 hours briefing/debriefing

Flight logbook and basic flight manual

 Plan 2 – Cessna 172S: $895

Course includes: 4 hours flight instruction, 2 hours briefing/debriefing

Flight logbook and basic flight manual

 

“Top Gun” Solo Course

 Plan 1 – Cessna Skycatcher 162: $3.495

 Course includes: 16 hours flight instruction, 8 hours briefing/debriefing

Flight logbook and basic flight manual

 Plan 2 – Cessna 172S: $3,795

Course includes: 16 hours flight instruction, 8 hours briefing/debriefing

Flight logbook and basic fight manual

NOTE: All programs are prepaid for special pricing

When offering packages they should be geared toward the goal of getting the prospect all the way to a certificate. This is an upsell approach that many flight schools do not use. But the opportunity is really there. So how do we deal with the common objection of, “The Top-Gun solo package is a lot more expensive than if I bought per flight hour.” The usual answer is to discount until the customer thinks the price is worth the package. A better strategy is to say, “We find our pilots save money by purchasing the package because they are more motivated to finish up quickly.” An alternative is to say, “Instead of us spending most of your time retraining the previous instruction, students who buy the package (at full price) are more apt to finish the course and reach their goals in a lot less time.”

Are the above statements accurate? I think that someone who flies more frequently picks up on the lessons quicker. The buyer wants the product that gives him the best chance of completing his training and realizing his goals.

We can also handle it in a context based on your actual experience with instructors. Do this by stressing the completion rate and the price savings. To the client it sounds like, “In our 18 years of experience training students, over time we see this program as being the most cost effective way of you achieving your goals.”  Then don’t forget to work on closing the deal by asking if they have time to come by the school today, when they want to start, when they want to get on the schedule, or when a flight instructor can call them back.

Make the proposition simple and interesting. They call and you outline the course for them. At that point, get them talking about the motivation for the course. Start at the top course involving the Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna Skyhawk and why this is really the way to go. If they balk because of cost or other reasons, start working down. Offer the Top Gun program. Say, “Most people who have wanted to learn how to fly actually get to solo an airplane and make the decision from there.” If that doesn’t work, go to the “Try your wings” course. A no response here is a rudder kicker! They may want to go a la carte, but at least you identified someone wanting to learn how to fly.

The real key with pricing and talking pricing on the phone is not doing too much on the phone or via e-mail. Get them to stop in to meet with a flight instructor or see the business.  Don’t spend a lot of time giving all the information on the phone. They’ll have no reason to sign up, and they control the purchase. Turning the questions around on them like, “Do you live in Sarasota?” And, “When would you like to stop in and see us?”

Appointments are the name of the game. You will be surprised by your success if you can get that action put into the thinking. Our Internet department went from a 11 percent lead to close, to a 41 percent lead to close by implementing this as the only thing you are doing. It works. And if you do one thing figure this out. Chances are, most of the time the person will purchase something other than they inquired about. They may think they want the 6-months to private course, and end up buying the LSA course. Either way, you win.

The next update of Project Flight School will Cirrus Aviation’s reaction and experience with implementing the course pricing practice.

 

 

 

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