Experience is a wonderful thing. How do you get it when no one will give you a break? And how do you research what your market wants from drones? When we first started flying drones from our first office in Newcastle, this was our story. That was until we learnt how to phrase the proposition discussion. Fast forward 5 years and we recently completed an asset infrastructure job outside Perth for a major power company with no supervision. No Supervision!!!! The reason I mention this is because when we first started, honestly, we had a basic idea of what was required.
We were military drone guys, working in civilian asset management. Asset managers knew what they wanted, and we went on steep learning curve. Every time we deployed to the field for a job, we’d have client engineers or configuration managers go with us to direct what was needed (babysitting). If this resonates with you, then you better get smart and get smart quick, otherwise you’ll get replaced.
“ if you want to succeed in the drone business, spend some time learning about your clients and what they want. Sure they want imagery of power assets, but why? “
To expand, if you’re doing this, the UAV service you are offering isn’t just $X per hour. To the client it’s your invoice, plus the hourly rate of the engineers or configuration managers AND the opportunity cost of deploying them with you. If you haven’t worked it out yet, you’re costing the same as the manual inspection you were hoping to replace. So what do you do? How do you learn what the client wants? How do you learn what the client has learned with years of experience?
Ask for help
Ever noticed how some car drivers prefer to risk getting lost before admitting they need a map (fella’s this is aimed at you!) Well it was the same with us. Over time, after expanding into Queensland and Victoria, we realised that if we were going to stay in the game, we had to learn about the industry we were providing drone services for. So we asked for help. And you know what, people want to help! We asked our clients how we could learn what would add value, how we could learn about issues that were important to them. We read industry journals, tagged along on company training, did short courses at Tafe in the industry we were targeting – whatever it took.
Our clients respected that, they appreciated it. And importantly for the business, they stuck by us. So if you want to succeed in the drone business, spend some time learning about your clients and what they want. Sure they want imagery of power assets, but why? Is there something you could be doing that they need but haven’t thought about? For example, can you offer Infa red imagery to show transistors operating outside normal parameters? Is this going to impact on serviceability schedules or timing? What I’m getting at here is how can you be proactive to add value to your client engagements.
Research what your market wants from drones, then drone on about the benefits
Remember from last week – stop talking technology, start talking product. No one wants a drone. The market want imagery or intelligence cost effectively. Start putting yourself in your client’s shoes and think how they think. What’s important to them is important to you. Remember the old saying No One Cares What You Know Until They Know That You Care.
Spend some time researching industry trends and developments. It pays off. Want to learn more about growing your business and drones? Click here to get our newsletter.