FlightPath Podcast: Dustin Cordier of StepZero Coaching

From a naval aviator to OEM and brokerage sales leader, the company’s founder shares his secrets to building successful teams.

In the latest episode of FlightPath, the business aviation podcast hosted by FLYING Finance chief commercial officer Preston Holland, the spotlight is on Dustin Cordier of StepZero Coaching. [Screenshot]

Having led sales teams through rapid growth, global recessions, competitive environments, and generational change, Dustin Cordier knows the secrets behind good leadership. In this episode of the FlightPath podcast, Cordier, the founder and head coach at StepZero Coaching, shares his journey through business aviation.

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Cordier’s Background in Aviation

Cordier began his aviation career in the Air Force, graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994.

Over 10 years, he flew aircraft such as the C-21 (Lear 35) and the KC-135 (Boeing 707). His military background provided a solid foundation in aviation, but unlike many of his peers who transitioned to commercial airlines, Cordier sought a unique path that leveraged his aviation expertise differently.

Return to Aviation and Entry into Business Aviation

Cordier reentered the aviation industry after a short stint in banking with FlightSafety International. In this role, he managed Bombardier products and enhanced his understanding of aviation training and sales.

His career continued to progress as he moved to Cessna, where he sold aircraft such as the Mustang and CJ series, navigated the challenges of the 2008 financial crisis, and honed his prospecting skills.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Aviation Market

Cordier's experience during the financial crisis highlighted the resilience required in the aviation industry. He said his ability to identify new opportunities during economic downturns allowed him to succeed when others struggled.

The cyclical nature of the aviation market demands adaptability and a keen understanding of market dynamics, which are lessons Cordier said he now applies in his role as a consultant.

Founding StepZero Consulting

Cordier's extensive experience led him to establish StepZero Coaching, a comprehensive consulting platform for business aviation companies. StepZero helps businesses achieve their goals more efficiently, emphasizing strategy, execution, and sales. 

Cordier said his approach, which integrates his background in the military, banking, and aviation, offers a unique perspective that benefits his clients.

Key Insights and Topics Covered

  • Military-to-business transition: Cordier's journey from the Air Force to managing a bank and his eventual return to aviation.
  • Sales and relationship building: The importance of trust and relationships in sales, a lesson learned from his banking experience.
  • Navigating economic downturns: Strategies for identifying opportunities during financial crises.
  • Business aviation market dynamics: Insights into the cyclical nature of the aviation market and adapting to changing conditions.
  • Founding StepZero Coaching: The motivation and vision behind StepZero, focusing on strategy, execution, and sales for business aviation companies.
  • Role of coaching and mentorship: The impact of mentors and coaches on Corider's career and his desire to give back to the industry through coaching.
  • Industry trends and future projections: Current trends in business aviation, including inventory challenges and economic factors influencing the market.
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