There are currently over 100,000 FAA Licensed Drone Pilots in the United States and that number is expected to rise exponentially in the next few years. As a result of this growth, you may have heard companies within the drone space say that the industry is quickly becoming a crowded marketplace, which it is, however, the applications for drone technology are unlimited and it’s not how many drones are being sold that will determine the opportunity in this industry, it’s how licensed drone operators utilize this technology as a tool to shift common workflows, and provide valuable deliverables to the end-user.
Through our experience over the last 5 years, we’ve helped countless organizations use drones to do one of three things; make money, save money or be more efficient with their utilization of time. In working with these companies we make it very clear before moving forward, that drone technology is not the end-all solution to their problems (like most drone operators market it to be), it is simply a tool to assist them in the process of solving problems within their current workflow. As a drone operator, it is important to ensure your clients know that you will be working with them to understand where the technology will be most valuable within their operation.
Before we get started, I’d like to say - If you’re new here, Welcome to the AltitudeU Community! We are an Online Training Platform for the Drone Industry, and our goal is to assist Commercial Drone Operators like yourself in the process of acquiring your Remote Pilot’s License and providing valuable deliverables to a variety of different industries.
Getting started can be challenging, and marketing your business can be even harder, so I’ve written this guide to help you create the Ultimate Sales Pitch for your Drone Business.
It always surprises me how few drone service providers actually understand the objective of their sales presentation. The drone industry is all about providing value to your prospective client, and until you can show someone that what you are providing is going to completely change the way they do things on a daily, you are going to have a hard time getting a response from your pitch.
Your goal may be to give a brief overview of your company and the unique services you offer, or it may be to listen and really understand where the pain points are in their business so you can collaborate on a solution. The most overlooked objective by commercial drone pilots is the focus to move your client to the next step in the process. Find out where they are struggling, and give them an idea of what they should do next so that they begin to explore the idea of moving forward with you.
Build your storylines, and help your potential client understand where you’ve been and why they should trust you. Creating The Ultimate Sales Pitch is about telling a story that your potential client can connect with and REMEMBER. Statistically, during presentations/meetings - your prospective client will retain 5-10% data, 25% images, and retention increases to 60-70% when stories are used to convey value. Clients want to understand where you’ve been, and why they should trust you with the collection of data they will be using to make better overall business decisions.
Instead of using ladders, aerial lifts, or man baskets, we can use a drone to get first-hand visuals of the structure’s aesthetics or check the structural integrity of the exterior facade while having zero safety risk to our workers leading to improvements in overall infrastructure.
When clients are unable to come to the job every week, drones can be extremely helpful in showing them the progress on the job and provide the client a visual aspect they wouldn’t have been able to see even if they were on the job site.
Instead of using human resources and expensive surveying tools that end up producing complex data that needs a great deal of analysis, a drone can provide accurate data far more efficiently, saving our clients time and money. For example, a quick drone fly-over can help generate an accurate quantity and volume of dirt and other fill material on a site. A drone eliminates the human error involved in this traditional process.
A drone provides instant connectivity between clients, construction workers, managers, and the job site. Many superintendents consider a drone to be an invaluable tool. Clients with up-to-date site photos can express changes they want to see early in the process, rather than down the line when they are much more costly. Drones also increase efficiency due to their ability to collect real-time data.
A drone can be extremely helpful in a construction company’s safety program. Being able to have our eyes and ears in the sky allows us to carefully examine and better position a job site, and be able to spot safety hazards easier. Not only that, drones sent up to spot structural issues in high locations reduce the number of workers exposed to fall risk.
The agriculture industry is growing exponentially each year, cementing itself as one of the fastest-growing markets in the commercial drone industry to date. In the past, farmers have utilized workflows that were passed down by generations without realizing that an ecosystem of aerial imagery workflows has emerged. Agricultural surveying drones are now flying more efficiently, with the ability to capture large amounts across hundreds of acres. However, with all of the advances in technology, there is still a learning curve associated with adopting new workflows.
The key to precision agriculture is knowing how to utilize the data being collected in the field, ranging from detecting crop damage to predicting the yield months before harvesting.
It can be extremely challenging as a farmer to inspect vast fields with high efficiency when there are also factors like unpredictable weather conditions. With satellite imagery, for instance, farmers had to order photos in advance, they could only provide the service once a day, and it’s been known to be very imprecise for the cost associated with that service. Today, you can have a drone up in the air within minutes, surveying and creating precise maps to assist farmers in creating better processes for crop monitoring.
Plant Health Assessment
It’s essential to have a drone surveying the health of crops on a consistent schedule to detect problems before they happen. The best option for monitoring the health of plants is an NDVI camera, which captures the infrared light reflected off the leaves of plants so the farmers can pinpoint areas of stress that require further investigation. As soon as the problems are detected, the farmers can then use the drone data to apply and monitor remedies with incredible accuracy.
Plant counting allows for the ability to automatically quantify the number of crops. In addition, you can provide your client with an accurate representation of the success, and potential yield for the growing season in advance.
Soil & Field Analysis
Being able to identify crop variations and damage within a few hours with detailed mapping. Identify over-watered & under-watered areas which will allow farmers to shift their irrigation patterns.
There are no more excuses for low-quality real estate marketing in today’s tech-savvy era. Real estate agents across the nation are looking to utilize new and innovative ways to market their properties and aerial photography is rapidly turning into an industry standard. To avoid falling behind the competition in this extremely competitive market, agents are in need now more than ever for viable solutions to increase closing rates and to do it affordably.
Incorporate specific examples/ case studies and data into your sales pitch. There is plenty of information regarding the various ways drones are providing value in their respective industries, and I would highly recommend including a relevant case study somewhere in your sales pitch to give your client some valuable metrics to quantify the potential cost savings. If you are just getting started, read through our case study below on how we saved one of our clients over $60,000 with a few clicks.
Feel free to use this as a template to draft your own case study moving forward.
*All company & location information redacted for the sake of client privacy
Scope of the Project
Hours of Work: Four
Turnaround Time on Data: 1 Day
Profit as a Drone Pilot: $1,050
ROI for Client: $60,000 Cost Savings
Total ROI: 570% Return
In the summer of 2017, our team here at Altitude was given a mission. Working alongside many different facets of the organization, we were tasked to enhance one of the largest sports park developments in Southern California using drone technology.
Seems vague right? That is because it was…
Each department within this multi-billion dollar development company had different ideas on how they thought this technology could help them, but no one knew even half of what these machines are capable of.
Before I dive in on how went about this mission here are the specs of the project and the equipment we used over the 4 month period:
The Site: 431 Acres, Split Into 4 Sections
Purpose: Sports park with 40+ fields including baseball, softball, soccer, etc.
Involvement: Executives, Stakeholders, Designers, & Project Managers
Drone: DJI Inspire 2
Camera: ZenMuse X4S
Ground Control Points (GCP’s): Propeller AeroPoints
Other: IPhone, Hard Hats, Orange Vests, Orange Cones & Landing Pad
Flight Software: DJI Go
Mapping Software: Drone Deploy Propeller (many platforms work, reach out with questions...we’ve tried them all)
Brandon Trentalange: Remote Pilot In Command (Must be Part 107 Licensed)
Jenner Kearns: Visual Observer #1 / Safety Manager
Ben Heymann: Visual Observer #2 / GCP Specialist
Over the years our team has seen an incredible return on investment using drone technology for commercial uses, but the stigma in the industry seems to be that this is hard? Well, at the beginning it was for us too, you just need to take the time to learn how your clients define success and run your operation accordingly (with the right safety precautions, equipment, and licensing of course).
Success can be measured in a wide variety of ways on a construction site, but finding the answer is probably the most important aspect of any job. Once you can locate the decision-makers, and understand what they are looking for, you have a much better chance of tailoring your flights for customer satisfaction.
Positions: President, Vice President, etc. (In our case it was one of nine VP’s in the company)
Goal: Use the technology to meet deadlines, provide transparency to stakeholders, and combat the ever-increasing labor reduction in the construction industry.
Success: Replace Labor; Prove ROI to Superiors
Positions: Investors, Lenders, & Higher Positions in the Company
Goals: Save Money, Meet Deadlines, and Stay Updated on Project Progression
Success: Remote Access to Site (provides transparency)
Positions: Architects, designers, surveyors, etc.
Goal: Ease & Accuracy of Land Analysis, Pre-visualization, Land Surveying, & Project Planning
Success: Accuracy (measurements should be within 3cm-2in of accuracy)
3. Project Managers
Position: Project Manager, On-Site Day-To-Day Management
Goal: Stay Within Budget, Meet Deadlines, Check Subcontractors, Quick Measurements, Project Progression, & Remote Access of the Site
Success: Money and Time Saved (quantifiable results)
Over the course of the project, we developed hundreds of use cases for how each of these groups found success through our flights, but today we are going to focus on our work directly with the Project Manager.
Over the course of the project, we were conducting daily flights, to test how we can best provide the information our Project Manager was looking for. Every day, we would go out and fly at the same time (shadows affect accuracy; time is important).
So...since this is a case study we will focus on a day where our customer saw a significant ROI and Time Savings.
Step #1: Prepare for the Flight
Step #2: Conduct Flight
Step #3: Upload Data
Step #4 Deliver Data:
Step #5: Observe the ROI
After delivering the data, the Project Manager was able to go to the computer, log in, and within minutes see the entire construction site at her fingertips. On this particular day, she had a sub-contractor come one site, observe the dirt piles, and quoted her $100,000 for _____ cubic yards of dirt.
The Project Manager was able to quickly use the mapping software to assess the dirt piles. With three clicks, she was able to see that the dirt piles were only _____cubic yards (⅓ of the original quoted size).
Our client was able to save her firm $60,000 with three clicks at her desk, which would’ve taken her surveying team over two days to do.
If that type of savings is possible with just three clicks, just think of the savings construction professionals are going to start to find as they allow more drones over their sites, and more importantly, the type of money that is available for drone pilots like you and me to take advantage of!
When you are conducting commercial jobs, ensure your discovery of the company is thorough. Meet with each team involved, and deliver them results in their language.
Although this is a construction use case, this process and way of thinking is how you will acquire and retain clients while maximizing the revenues in real estate, agriculture, inspection, and any other commercial application you are thinking about getting into.
After you have built out the storyline for your services, and given your potential client a clear understanding of how you can provide value to their operation make sure to leave some time at the end for discussion. Use this time to determine the next steps, get feedback, and make sure you have their proper contact information for the follow-up.
We are Altitude University, a group of young Part 107 Drone Pilots and entrepreneurs with over 15 years of combined experience. After working with some of the top real estate, construction, energy, and agricultural firms in the nation; we are looking to pass our knowledge onto pilots striving to make money flying drones.
That is why we have created Altitude University. An advanced training platform for the drone industry. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced drone operator, we have helped hundreds of individuals become Licensed Drone Pilots, and advance their drone businesses to become wildly profitable doing something they love.
Let us do the same for you. Get your Part 107 License Today!
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