Houston, Texas-based entrepreneur Janine K. Iannarelli decided to leave the conventional office so she could pursue her passions, use her creativity and gain control over her own life. Iannarelli and her business Par Avion facilitate international aircraft sales and she’s building up a strong client base by gaining a reputation for being a problem solver who approaches business with a deep knowledge of the industry and a creative outlook on transactions.
Iannarelli’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Par Avion was born out of the strong desire to control my own destiny. I wanted to take full responsibility for how my time was used as well as the potential to increase my revenues. By freeing myself of the conventions of the walls and halls of a traditional brick and mortar business and allowing my naturally creative spirit to work in harmony with my otherwise disciplined self, I found I could be much more productive, innovative and responsive to client’s needs. I could spend my brain and time capital as I felt best suited the project. What I felt was lacking in the aircraft sales world was the ultimate personal attention to every detail, transparency so there was never any question as to loyalty and intelligent analysis of market data on which a client could make a sound decision or listen to yours with the utmost confidence.
For a salesperson success is often measured in total dollar sales, net revenue and of course ultimately personal financial gain. While all of that is important as it contributed to my own personal goals of achieving financial independence and allow me to pursue my number one hobby, it was also the incredible feeling of a job well done. Nothing pleases me more to know I problem solved, out thought the competition and made my client pleased with the outcome. Exceeding expectations has helped me not just win clients, but keep them and build my portfolio each year.
“Nothing pleases me more to know I problem solved, out thought the competition and made my client pleased with the outcome.”
– Janine K. Iannarelli, Founder of Par Avion
The challenges to completing an aircraft sales transaction are numerous. They can be predictable to some degree, but then there are the instances where it is a first experience or there are an incredible amount of hurdles to overcome that most would just walk away and look for the easier deal. I am someone whom people bring their challenges to as I have earned the reputation of a problem solver and the ability to provide for the greatest ROI regardless of the market environment. For me one of my greatest success is the multi-decade relationship that I have enjoyed with one company in particular. We have been together through eight separate transactions. I am honored to know that my work is so well regarded that I have actually survived three changes of CFO and two CEOs!
Our industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled professionals. The operations side is challenged and the drive is now on to recruit youth to the piloting, maintenance, engineering and craftsman opportunities that exist in abundance. The commercial side of the business has long faced difficulty in recruiting educated, talented sales people and market analysts in part because it is not a business that pays as well initially. Couple that with the fact it is a business that flies below the radarscope and it is hard to convince a soon to be college graduate to chose aviation. The rewards come on the back side of a long on the job educational curve. I have worked to meet my own company’s employment needs by focusing on recruiting from smaller, local universities and community colleges or bring on interns. They learn about the business, see the potential and hopefully elect to stay. I am still learning about balance in work/life. My life at times is work!
My most recent past employer, David Eickhoff. I knew how to be a strong, resilient woman and there was not much I feared, of if I did, I knew enough to not show my cards. What I needed was to learn how to soften the edges, pick my battles and strategize. Dave made sure my aviation education was complete, he challenged me, but wisely in increments so as my skill set grew so did my confidence. He was the Will Rogers of aviation: sage, practical, but no fool. He took all that raw energy, drive and yes to some degree buried anger that I possessed and helped channel it into a productive, adept and clever aircraft sales professional. I realize how very lucky I was to not only have an amazing boss/mentor in my life, but for it to happen at a time in the industry where anyone but him would not have been able to help propel my career. It was serendipity.
An incident occurred in the last few months at my previous employer which became the catalyst for my taking that step towards independence. A junior employee in an effort to elevate his own stature and perhaps driven by ego, worked to undermine a transaction I was putting together. He successfully convinced one of the partners to accept what would become a weak offer the night before I had a Client arriving from out of town to buy an aircraft. Disrespect to me aside, it was dishonorable to the first prospect and would put my own reputation in a dangerous position. While it all fell apart for him, and the partners in the company tried to appease me, they did not do the right thing and that was to fire the person who would betray the team. It was at that moment I had an epiphany and realized I needed to take control of my own destiny and the time was now. I also learned that old adage of how to be slow to hire and quick to fire.
At present I am searching for that key employee who can step into my shoes and ultimately take over the business. I have successfully branded the company and while many think of Par Avion and myself as one and the same, the company can stand on its own merit. The right person just needs to step in and step up. Certainly with the addition of each salesperson I expect to at least increase the number of sales by an equivalent amount. The administrative side is straight-forward, but you need the manpower to have lead-generation, follow-up and management of an individual sales project.