Northwind Aviation Partners is a Palm Beach-based private aircraft charter company, launched in 2012 by Greenwich, CT native Richard Segerson. Here are strategies that have helped him succeed.
Know The Business
As a child, Segerson used to fly back and forth from Greenwich to Cape Cod using fractional jet memberships. “I know the ins and outs and have experienced my competitor’s services,” says Segerson. After working as a Wall Street trader, he spent time working in private aviation sales in Florida before going out on his own. His industry relationships help him procure planes quickly for his clients.
Segerson’s client list has grown by word of mouth. He advertises a small amount locally in Palm Beach and at events clients attend, like polo tournaments. And he has 80 to 85 percent client retention. “It’s like if you bought five BMWs from the same dealer,” says Segerson. “You stay with someone who’s satisfied your needs.”
Have A Personal Touch
One factor in Segerson’s client retention is his dedication to interacting with every client, even though he’s hired a back office staff. “I answer the phone and make the decisions. There isn’t a huge amount of space between the CEO and owner and salesmen.” He even meets customers at the plane, when possible, to introduce himself. “I like to put a face to a name.”
Get It Done
What a customer needs, a customer gets, says Segerson. That’s why he sifted through the paperwork to arrange one of the first non-commercial flights to Cuba for a client. “I flew the executive team of a technology company based in San Francisco to meet with people in Cuba when [President Obama] was there. The flight from Oakland to Cuba was one of the first private ones going down there for business reasons,” says Segerson, who also flies to heavily regulated locales like Mexico City and South America. “I like the challenge.”