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Aww Shift

Sep 27, 2021

In today's episode, our guest is Jason Zilberbrand, consultant, teacher, conference speaker, and author. He is an aircraft valuation expert and the President of VREF Aircraft Value Reference & Appraisal Services. Jason knows the international aviation marketplace. He is considered an expert in aircraft valuations and aircraft transactions, and his background is diverse with knowledge in technology and aviation.

[5:57] Jason’s Background

I had a very fortunate experience of being born into an aviation company. My dad started an insurance business when I was in high school. And I was at that just-right age to be able to absorb it like a sponge. I was 15 when he started the business. And by the time I was 21, I was working for him full time. So it was a really strange situation. I got to see somebody who is an entrepreneur, his whole life starts something from scratch that he knew nothing about and actually makes it work. 

[8:23] Entering Entrepreneurship

I was fascinated by how people have made their money. I was promoting concerts. That was what I was doing punk rock shows and whatever we could do. I go to my dad and my dad's business partner, I need to borrow some money, and I'm going to do this big concert, and they thought I was absolutely out of my mind, but they never said no, they just kept giving me enough rope to hang myself. But no, I didn't want to be in the business at all but they wanted me to figure it out. Like if I was going to be an entrepreneur, and this was my career path, they're going to support me.


Back in the 80s and 90s, there weren't many popular aircraft; flying corporate aircraft and entertainers primarily used them. It was a really neat time to be in aviation and corporate aviation because we still had flight departments, we still have flight departments. Today, things have gotten a little crazy. But back in the 70s and 70s was a little different because there were all sorts of options for flying privately. The planes are used by every publicly traded company, right to move middle management to move the chairman.

[14:55] Closing Big deal

One thing that all of us have in common is structure or schedule. It's so easy to say that, but it's not easy to do it. You've got to have a structured life to succeed in the business side of the business. It's no different from running a marathon, doing a triathlon, being a professional athlete, or being a collegiate athlete.

[19:00] Learnings from Darkest Moment

My most depressing moments in life were also my weakest in terms of my physical fitness. I think one thing that I've learned over the years is that you've got to pay attention to your body. You got to stay healthy. And the stress of having all that financial responsibility will eat you alive and that was eye-opening. Always remember you can be saved. Being a salesman is not the way to be successful, like finding a solution. You want to find something you can do as a service. You want to solve people's problems.

[24:07] Discipline and Skills

I discovered that I had a skill set that was coveted and needed and that in a space that nobody was paying any attention to was Buying and selling aircraft. Therefore, I know what they're worth. I started reaching out to the people that were competitors of mine in the brokerage world and said, Hey, I'm not buying and selling airplanes anymore. I'm just appraising. And suddenly, business started to come. You have got to stick to what you know, and there are many opportunities out there. 


I realized that there was money to be made as an expert witness. Suppose there are kids out there interested in a fantastic industry with so much to offer, I mean, corporate pilot, air airlines, and transport piston aircraft, helicopters. In that case, it's the backbone of our economy.

Key Quotes

[14:54 – 15:04] “I think the first time you close a big deal or you have like that first taste of success, it's a double-edged soared because what I learned in sales is you're only as good as your last close.”

[18:50 - 19:01] “There's immediate gratification, you finish that workout and you've accomplished something and that's why I think more people that look for success need to start inside.”


Connect with Jason Zilberbrand:


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