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Leahy - The Man Who Sold The Sky  
User currently onlineUTAH744 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 206 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7320 times:

Great article from Tim Hepher of Reuters about John Leahy and his sales techniques. Under his watch Airbus has sold almost 9,000 of their total 10,000 aircraft they have produced. Enjoy.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Specia...an-who-rb-3522912871.html?x=0&.v=1


You are never too old to learn something stupid
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3680 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 6953 times:

That was a great read. Enjoyed it immensely


I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6761 times:

Interesting. A gifted sales guy with an obsessive streak – pretty much who you'd want to have in that kind of high-stakes position.

Interesting side question: Why has Boeing worn through several top salesmen in the same period? How was their relationship to their own management?


User currently offlinewingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2315 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6716 times:

The guy truly is amazing. It is impossible to criticize a $500B backlog in sales, I don't care what company you root for.

User currently offlineMortyman From Norway, joined Aug 2006, 4053 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6498 times:

A very nice read indeed  

User currently offlinewarden145 From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 541 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6429 times:

Quoting wingman (Reply 3):
The guy truly is amazing. It is impossible to criticize a $500B backlog in sales, I don't care what company you root for.

Quite true...well, I would take it a step further. This statement may be anathema to some, but I have trouble understanding why some people root for one company over the other, to the point where they seem to want the "other" company to go out of business. I admit that I generally prefer Boeing for a number of reasons, but I also recognize that competition's a good thing...a lack of competition leads to complacency, which in turn leads to lower quality control and, if a monopoly exists, considerably higher prices. In any event, it's not good for the consumer.

I say hats off to Airbus and Leahy, and may both Airbus and Boeing have many successful years to come!



ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
User currently offlineVS11 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6284 times:

Great article! Thanks for sharing the link. He is quite an impressive person and obviously a key player in making Airbus planes so popular.

User currently offline14ccKemiskt From Sweden, joined Nov 2010, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6049 times:

Nice! This is truly the best part:

Quote:
When Leahy loses, though, customers know about it. His old friend Steven Udvar-Hazy, founder of the world's largest aircraft leasing company, International Lease Finance Corp, and Leahy's biggest customer over the years, remembers buying up to 100 Boeing 737s on the eve of an Airbus event in Hawaii in the 1990s. The deal made the front page of a newspaper which Udvar-Hazy sent to Leahy's room.

"He was very sore," recalls Udvar-Hazy, who last week took his first Airbus delivery as head of a new company, Air Lease Corp. "That evening there was a party with everyone dressed up and he pushed me in the swimming pool. We were wearing nice evening clothes. This is the kind of supplier I have to put up with."


User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4575 posts, RR: 41
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4456 times:

Very interesting article. One of the things I think it highlighted well is that sales of aircraft don't involve an airline having a cursory glance at the specs on the website, then saying "If it ain't Boeing, we ain't going" or "Airbus is the only way to fly" etc. They are usually closely balanced deals which often fall one way or the other on quite esoteric details.

It's also interesting to think how rapidly Airbus's sales have ballooned in the past two decades - an increase by an order of magnitude in the total sales over that period is amazing.

V/F



"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineoldtimer From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2006, 191 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3941 times:

Quoting warden145 (Reply 5):
Quite true...well, I would take it a step further. This statement may be anathema to some, but I have trouble understanding why some people root for one company over the other, to the point where they seem to want the "other" company to go out of business. I admit that I generally prefer Boeing for a number of reasons, but I also recognize that competition's a good thing...a lack of competition leads to complacency, which in turn leads to lower quality control and, if a monopoly exists, considerably higher prices. In any event, it's not good for the consumer.

I say hats off to Airbus and Leahy, and may both Airbus and Boeing have many successful years to come!

As a retired aircraft engineer of over 45 years experience, been retired from aircraft for ten years, I did not have too much association with Airbus except the A300-B4 with Laker Airways and was a fan of both MD and Lockheed with my first licence being on the B707. So I appreciated to see the above comments from a Boeing fan. I agree, let both companies succeed. Good competition produces good aircraft, even with the current hiccups, I would hate to see either go the wall.

The anti A and anti b brigade are not true aircraft engineers or true enthusiasts.

oldtimer



Oldtimer, I should have known better!
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9210 posts, RR: 76
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3890 times:

As a good at a sales as he is, he could never have achieved what he did unless he had a competitive product range.


We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlinetravelavnut From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 1654 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

Great article! I was watching Building the Biggest Airliner from Disc. Channel, when I saw Leahy sleeping on a bunk-bed on the upperdeck I thought to myself "that must be a strange sensation, such a high-profile guy sleeping on a bunk-bed between watertanks". But after reading this I assume it is quite normal for him to be camping in an airliner 

Quoting warden145 (Reply 5):
Quite true...well, I would take it a step further. This statement may be anathema to some, but I have trouble understanding why some people root for one company over the other, to the point where they seem to want the "other" company to go out of business. I admit that I generally prefer Boeing for a number of reasons, but I also recognize that competition's a good thing...a lack of competition leads to complacency, which in turn leads to lower quality control and, if a monopoly exists, considerably higher prices. In any event, it's not good for the consumer.

I say hats off to Airbus and Leahy, and may both Airbus and Boeing have many successful years to come!

  



Live From Amsterdam!
User currently offline0NEWAIR0 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 939 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3361 times:

Quoting zeke (Reply 11):
As a good at a sales as he is, he could never have achieved what he did unless he had a competitive product range.

I don't know... some people just have a gift for sales... ever been to a used car dealer? lol.



"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
User currently offlinetravelavnut From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 1654 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3320 times:

Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 13):
Quoting zeke (Reply 11):
As a good at a sales as he is, he could never have achieved what he did unless he had a competitive product range.

I don't know... some people just have a gift for sales... ever been to a used car dealer? lol.

Granted, but if it turns out this smooth talking car sales man sold you a turd with wheels wrapped in glittery paper making you believe it's one hell of a babe magnet. Then you will never return to that particular car sales man, right?

Either Leahy is a Shaolin Master when it comes to wrapping crap into something nice, or he indeed has, like Zeke mentions, a product range that is actually competitive.

[Edited 2011-02-09 07:00:25]


Live From Amsterdam!
User currently offlineaaexecplat From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 636 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3115 times:

I think it's clear that Airbus ha a great product range. The aircraft fly efficiently for airlines and are comfortable for passengers. Yet, it sounds like no matter how good the Airbus product range, Leahy is the rarest of all breeds in business. Someone that is the ultimate sales person but with an immense attention to detail, a massive memory bank, and a tireless worker. For that, I respect him tremendously.

User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 7019 posts, RR: 46
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2864 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
Interesting side question: Why has Boeing worn through several top salesmen in the same period? How was their relationship to their own management?

Really, really gifted and effective salesmen are probably even more rare than top-notch chief executives. Leahy is clearly one of the very best; and I suspect that without him Airbus would have well under 40% of the market. As an avid Boeing fan I wish our side had his equal, but we clearly don't. Planes (or any other product) are bought by people, and people buy from other people. When technical specifications are close (which between Boeing and Airbus they usually are) the personal connection is very, very important. The ability to form and maintain a personal bond while mastering and putting in the best possible light the technical details of your product is very, very rare, and JL certainly has it.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21495 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2717 times:

That is certainly one factor, but the upper management's willingness to live with and support an extraordinary salesman with possibly his own ideas is always another important issue.

Good people need some leeway to make their own decisions and some backing from the top to be really effective...


User currently offlinepeanuts From Netherlands, joined Dec 2009, 1442 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2666 times:

Quoting oldtimer (Reply 10):
The anti A and anti b brigade are not true aircraft engineers or true enthusiasts.

        

Personality and drive are important. Don't make him into a "sales guru saint" please.
He has a great product to work with and sell to the world. It's not like as if he's had to try to sell ice to an eskimo...



Question Conventional Wisdom. While not all commonly held beliefs are wrong…all should be questioned.
User currently offlineChicagoFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 274 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2414 times:

I for one did not like this piece, because I did not find it very informative (especially given the length) with the exception of a couple of personal details about John Leahy himself. It sort of mentions great Airbus sales milestones but does not mention how they came about for the simple reason that the deals are very secret. It takes the easy road of sales anecdotes and personality profile--but does not leave one much wiser...

Did we learn how Leahy sold A350s to Emirates in the opening vignette? No. Clark did not choose to buy A350s because he rowed a boat on the Thames. The Cathay vignette has no info whatsoever. "Leahy unveiled a formula which worked for Cathay but which... did not simply involve shaving the price. None of the parties will say what the concession was."

"Now Leahy -- who first made his name some 20 years ago, persuading conservative U.S. airlines to abandon long-time suppliers and try Airbus's fly-by-wire A320 -- has just rolled the dice again, convincing reluctant Airbus bosses to embark on an overhaul of the A320." How did these two (very important) events in the history of A320 happen? We are none the wiser...

Some angles I'd have wanted to be covered:
How much input does Leahy have in design decisions? Despite the "personality cult" angle Leahy is known for empowering local sales teams--who are the local sales heroes? How does Airbus work with engine manufacturers on pricing and maintenance contracts? How Airbus dabbles in the secondary markets for aircraft (taking them off customers' hands to sell new ones) etc. etc.

Could have been a better article if the author had done some real research....


User currently offlineVS11 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2388 times:

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 19):
Some angles I'd have wanted to be covered:
How much input does Leahy have in design decisions? Despite the "personality cult" angle Leahy is known for empowering local sales teams--who are the local sales heroes? How does Airbus work with engine manufacturers on pricing and maintenance contracts? How Airbus dabbles in the secondary markets for aircraft (taking them off customers' hands to sell new ones) etc. etc.

Could have been a better article if the author had done some real research....

This is an article about the person John Leahy, not about Airbus....


User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2170 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2242 times:

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 19):
How much input does Leahy have in design decisions?

Yes, but the first and most important part of any sales job is to get your foot in the door!

Patton didn't have to like Rommel to respect him more than Montgomery.

As for Boeing lovers, at least they are still building commercial aircraft. The bigger victim of Airbus success would be . . . MD, LM,

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineabba From Denmark, joined Jun 2005, 1376 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2135 times:

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 19):
The Cathay vignette has no info whatsoever. "Leahy unveiled a formula which worked for Cathay but which... did not simply involve shaving the price. None of the parties will say what the concession was."



I completely disagree. This short description speaks volumes upon volumes of what is the most important point in making a sale, namely understanding what your customer wants and needs and being able to present your product on the basis of that knowledge. What seems to have been the final reason for CX to go for the 350 seems to be that it was sold to CX in a way that better served the needs of CX - in the broadest sense of the word - than the competition. You don't need to know the detail in order to get the point here.

Fine article indeed!


User currently offlineebbuk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2130 times:

Quoting ChicagoFlyer (Reply 19):
Did we learn how Leahy sold A350s to Emirates in the opening vignette? No. Clark did not choose to buy A350s because he rowed a boat on the Thames. The Cathay vignette has no info whatsoever. "Leahy unveiled a formula which worked for Cathay but which... did not simply involve shaving the price. None of the parties will say what the concession was."

No matter how much "real" research, there isn't a single journalist who could find that information. Commercially sensitive information will always be secret. Unless you are in the US, they send it in emails.


User currently offlineabba From Denmark, joined Jun 2005, 1376 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1660 times:

Quoting peanuts (Reply 17):
Personality and drive are important. Don't make him into a "sales guru saint" please



The funny thing about Leahy is how much he has been hated. He is possibly the most hated man i aviation and certainly hated fiercely by many of his countrymen.


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