I’m in. I’m sold. When can we start? Those are words we as salespeople love to hear. As a system integrator and system designer, your work should speak for itself. While you of course need to have professional proposals and documentation to ensure that you can communicate your skills and expertise to your potential customers, it is through your actual design work that many jobs are won or lost.
I heard a lot of hype about iPad apps at this year’s CEDIA, with some vendors touting the ability to create an entire $100,000 proposal – in front of the customer – on location – on a iPad! While that is technically possible – you could also do that with D-Tools as well – through apps like LogMeIn, Remote Desktop, Citrix, etc. that actually just enable you to connect to your PC back at home or the office, I keep coming back to the more important question – why would you want to? Are you really going to be able to put the proper thought and creativity that should and truly goes into a six-figure system with the client looking over your shoulder?
I get it. The iPad is cool. I have one. I bought one for my wife. It is immensely useful and the one thing that it absolutely excels at is presentation. Presenting images, media, movies, video, drawings. Ah yes, drawings. Well that is where we come in. With D-Tools you have the ability to create detailed system designs that can effectively communicate your vision for the customer system and the iPad is the ultimate presentation medium to share that vision with your customers. Often, in order to share intricate drawings with a customer you need to print out large scale drawings on a plotter, lay them out on a table and walk them through. With the iPad you can zoom in to any section, walk through designs room by room, and demonstrate your design and technology expertise using the season’s sexiest piece of equipment.
There are a number of ways to get your D-Tools drawings into the iPad for presentation purposes. You can simply save out your Visio drawings as JPGs and import through iTunes. An easy way to do this is to set up a specific folder and within iTunes when you set up your syncing preferences, sync your photos to that file and they will be available thorugh the iPad Photos app. Simple. Another way to get both images and sample documentation into your iPad is through a combination of a couple of almost free apps: Goodreader and either Box.net or Dropbox.
Goodreader is a $1.99 app that allows you to read and organize pdfs, images, and other docs on your iPad. You can easily add files from the web, from the iPad photo lbrary, or from server-based apps such as Box.net or Dropbox, and create an organized way to present your work to your potential clients. Box.net is an awesome online service that allows you to upload and store any number of documents or media files – there are a range of services from free to low-priced business accounts – you can sign up and then start uploading files immediately. Goodreader allows you to connect directly to your Box.net account and add files directly to the app.
Dropbox is another file sharing service that syncs your desktop PC or mac to an online account. Anything dragged to the dropbox folder on your desktop will be synched to your online folder, and this can be shared amongst other users and also connected directly to Goodreader.
Save some of your best work – both in documentation and drawings – and add to your iPad and you have a very powerful portfolio available to share with anyone, anywhere. That to me is a best practice and a proper way to impress potential clients that you are the right person for the project – that can help give you the edge and the opportunity to go and produce quality work that is worth waiting for.