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In This Issue
• LIDAR Leaders  • Points & Pixels  • Well-Planned Success  • Polaris  • Topo-Bathy Lidar  • Street Smarts  • Japan  • Where Are We?  • USIBD Matters  • Wedding Photographers
Articles   View Cover    Click HERE for the PageFlip full version of the magazine.
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The Business of Laser Scanning: Finish Print E-mail
Written by Ken Smerz   
Tuesday, 03 December 2013

A 384Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

In our business, we basically have the following sequence of events when providing 3d imaging or modeling: educate the client; bid the project; image/model the project; process the data; and provide the deliverable. What's missing for most businesses is they forget to close the loop with the final step. They don't truly finish the job to leverage it for all it's worth. Many simply don't know how, or don't see the value in that process, or maybe never thought about it. It's called "sell through."

There are many reasons why it's important to finish, but more than any other, it allows you to overcome the biggest challenge in the nascent world of 3d imaging--the lack of recurring revenue. Anyone in this industry has the brutal challenge of developing long term recurring revenue streams. Without this it makes our business growth very challenging and risky. If we can put in place practices that allow us to mitigate this challenge, our odds of success increase dramatically.

What to Do After You're Done
There are many different ways to close the loop or finish. Here are some suggestions:

Ask for feedback: For every project you complete, circle back within a week or two and seek honest feedback. The easiest way is to have someone from your company who wasn't involved in the project go through a predetermined list of questions that are short, specific, and easy to answer. And don't do it in an email; make it an old fashioned phone call. The rationale is you want someone who is as objective as possible seeking out your client's opinion on what you did right and wrong. I'd suggest not making this time consuming for your customer; make it easy to answer by ranking the responses on a 1­10 scale. This is simple and as close to objective as you might find.

If you can collect data from a variety of clients, and track it historically, then you will know what adjustments to make to improve your business. Just as importantly, if handled professionally, your customer will appreciate your desire for continuous improvement, which should help you land the next job.

Project Recap: Service providers work on projects that take months to complete, which are commonly overlooked by your client at the time you turn over the deliverable to your customer. Why not conduct a project summary meeting, or if you don't have the time, a summary sheet that outlines the projects successes as well as areas for improvement. In doing so, you're basically bragging about what you did, while at the same time giving your client a "playbook" for their next project on how to use you and the benefits your company provided.

Referrals: All of your clients know others within their company, and overall industry. If you did a great job, then it's not a big deal to ask them who else they know who could benefit from your services. Perhaps it's as simple as you asking to present their project [aka-- success story] to other clients within that space--whatever that might be. The key to the getting a good referral is to make your client a hero, to brag on their behalf, and they'll open up doors for you because it makes them look good.

Client Marketing: Too often we provide outstanding 3d deliverables that we're proud of, but unfortunately never see the light of day outside the intended user group. So, what if you asked permission to show the work you provided at an industry conference; or on a social media website; or in the local newspaper? Wouldn't that do wonders promoting your own business AND the reputation of your client? How many projects have you completed that you'd be proud to share with the world?

Expounding upon this idea, if you're under the assumption that your client could market there business better in 3d--then why not make them something you provided that they can share with their client list? It can be a short video clip, a PDF, or even a printed 3d model. Again, it's good for them...and good for you.

Emphasize Customization: As an industry, we get lost trying to standardize our approach to the business. One thing I'm sure about is that we're in an evolving market as the technology continually changes. So to help close the loop, or finish, do you effectively communicate to your client that you are changing with the technology and have the ability to help them remain competitive in their business? The simplest way to do that is by positioning your company as a consultant, and not a contractor who completed a single job. Nurture a long term relationship of which the single job you just completed was a minimal part. In doing so your ability to get the next job skyrockets.

Finishing takes time, but the rewards can lead to more stable growth and predictable cash flow. Give it a try.

Ken Smerz is the President of Precision 3D (www.precision3D.com) a service provider that travels throughout the nation working with A/E/C and forensic clients. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with any questions or comments you might have.

A 384Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
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