You can secure a great location, but it does take work. Here’s the way I approach securing great locations using a step by step method to radically improve my chances of success. I’ve done this wrong, and I’ve done this right. I’ve watched other people make mistakes and I’ve also watched other people absolutely nail this. Want to learn from my mistakes and drastically improve your chances for getting a great earning Helium location? Here we go!
Step 1: Find The Right Spot or Area
It starts with finding the right spot, or at least the right general area. Securing a high earning location can be a lot of work, so you want to make sure all that effort will be rewarded. I’ve talked a bunch in other posts about what makes for a great location, and how to find one. If you want to REALLY improve your skills on this, take my HeliumVision Masterclass to level up your game when it comes to finding great locations.
In general, great spots are up high, with clear lines of sight, and witness other hotspots with healthy transmit reward scale, preferable higher than .8.
Ok, so you’ve found a great spot (or area), now what?
Step 2: Identify the Property Owner
You might think, “Duh!”, but you’d be surprised at how many people just look at a spot, especially off grid, and decide to blast in without permission and place their Hotspot wherever they please. Yes, that can be a temporarily high earning strategy. It’s also selfish, foolish, and generally against local laws. I’ve found that most property owners are way more open than you might expect to having a Hotspot on their land, BUT you’ve got to have a plan for approaching them.
First, is it a residential or commercial spot? If it’s residential, one of the best ways is to drop off pre-printed flyers to multiple homes in the area with a “pre-qualified” offer. Very generally, the message would be, “Are you looking for additional income/free internet just for using a few square feet of your roof? Your home has been pre-qualified and is eligible to receive these benefits. Call this number if you’re interested in applying”.
As you can see, the general position you want to take is have the homeowner eager to work with you. Printing up a few hundred cards is cheap, and you know everyone who calls that number is interested in learning more.
You can do the same thing with businesses, although I like to have a little more personalized approach there.
However you initiate the conversation, BEFORE you do that, think about the following:
- What do they want?
- What questions might they have?
- What might be important to them?
- Do you have any relationships in common?
That last one is ultra important. If you already know someone on site, having that relationship makes this whole thing way easier. Before you just call ’em up and ask “Hey, can I put a Helium Hotspot on your roof?”, let’s do a little further preparation.
Step 3: Prepare Your Pitch, Part 1 — Information
Do your homework, and remember the 7 P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Now, this may sound a little dramatic, but prepare for a hostile conversation and blunt questions. “How much data will this use?” “Is this safe?” “Have you done this before?” “Do you have a license to install?” “Will this effect my internet?” “Will this damage my roof?” etc.
Think of every possible question under the sun you’ve heard asked, or read on Facebook, Reddit, or Discord. Practice your answers. There ARE good answers for each one of those. It’s up to you know have ’em on the tip of your tongue and be able to explain each one.
When you go in, know what you’ll need and ask for it. For a high earning Hotspot, you’ll need a cabled ethernet connection (NOT WiFi), access to power, and access to the property and roof for both installation and maintenance. Remember to ask for those thing. Don’t just assume that the property owner knows what you need.
Finally, if this is a commercial building, know the local average rent per sq ft. That can be a major benefit you offer, as a Hotspot mounted on a non-penetrating roof mount only takes up about 6 square feet. That means even at $30/month you’re paying well over market prices in most areas. Use that information to your advantage!
Step 4: Prepare Your Pitch, Part 2 — Framing
This gets a little bit into sales and human persuasion. When you meet to pitch them, whether that’s on the phone at first or in person, you need to present yourself as competent, confident, enthusiastic, and the kind of person they want to work with. That SHOULD be the person you are already, you just need to let that shine through.
Confidence comes from competence. Practice your pitch. Practice answering questions about the deployment. Know your job, your equipment, and your line of work. You don’t have to know everything, but you do have to know enough to appear worth doing business with.
Be enthusiastic. What you’re doing is AWESOME! You are helping build sensor coverage using a network of gateways that are easy and safe to deploy and can provide valuable data to the world. How cool is that?! Know the big picture behind deploying a Helium Hotspot, and lean into that experience. We are changing the world together, and being part of that is REALLY cool!
Frame the conversation in terms of what’s in it for them; they get an extra paycheck, they get to help provide coverage for an amazing sensor network, and if you’re willing to learn about it and implement for them, they get to benefit from sensors that you deploy.
That last part can really cinch the deal, but it will take a lot of extra effort on your part to implement. If you go into a business knowing how Helium coverage can help them, you are FAR more likely to close a deal for Hotspot placement than if you’re just proposing a straight money-for-roof-space agreement. Knowing how to find, buy, deploy, and visualize the data from sensors, whether you’re counting parking lot usage, the number of people walking by, or the weight of ingredients on a scale is hard. It’s also a GIANT advantage when it comes to persuading people to let you put a Hotspot on their property.
Step 5: Pitch them
I like to start off with what’s awesome about them. It doesn’t take a lot of looking to figure out where someone really shines, and starting a conversation with an earnest compliment is a great way to kick things off. Be truthful, don’t just look for some bullshit thing. All you have to do is notice where they’re awesome and mention it. People and places shine in so many ways, but that bright light of excellence often doesn’t get noticed by the public. Notice it. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it makes the world a little bit better of a place. Go ahead, start the whole thing off by making someone’s day.
Be friendly. It’s so much easier to do business with people who are friendly. Remember, the relationship you build is what’s going to determine how easy the whole process is. Build the relationship first, and put that front and center. Any asshole can make a dollar, but it’s hard for an asshole to make friends. Put in the effort to make friends and the fiat will flow.
Be knowledgeable, and have fun demonstrating that knowledge. Humans are naturally curious about the world. We are genetically programmed to love learning, and being around someone who will help explain some small part of the world is a joyful experience. Share your knowledge in a joyful way and they’ll appreciate it tremendously.
Be enthusiastic. Look, Helium is radical! For the first time ever, normal people can participate in wireless communications, and you and your potential client are a part of that. That is worth getting fired up about; you are changing the world together. Don’t overlook that!
Be confident in your pitch. Confidence is easy when you know what you’re talking about, and people love being around confident people. This doesn’t mean you should be brash, or aggressive, or cocky. Just know your material, share as much of that knowledge as they’re willing to learn, and demonstrate your competence. Speaking of which…
Be competent. Practice both your pitch AND your installation. If you’re going to be setting up a non-penetrating roof mount, make sure you’ve done it a few times at home. Sure, it’s extra work, but you’ll learn an absolute TON by practicing, and you’ll get much better both at the install and at explaining what you’re going to be doing.
Focus on the benefit to them. They know you’re going to benefit from this, otherwise why would you be there? Remember earlier, where I recommended you figure out what they want? Now is the time to demonstrate that you’ve thought about them and their needs. Focus on how they’re going to win by working with you. People love to win and Helium makes that achievable. Focus on the win for them.
Take on all the burden of work. Don’t put ANYTHING on them that you should be doing. Don’t ask for a ladder, or a screwdriver, or someone to help you run cable. Be prepared, and when they come up with questions or objections, be ready to say, “I can take care of that.” Now, don’t just say it, be ready to execute on it. If you come in with a can-do competent attitude you’ll be surprised at just how much people will want to work with you. Awesome is contagious. Be awesome!
Finally, I’d recommend talking about LoRa and IoT, at least to start the conversation. I do NOT recommend starting with cryptocurrency or Helium. You can introduce those things later if they want to know about them, but from my experience those can kill a deal before it gets going.
Ok, that wraps up the general idea for how to get permission to deploy your Helium Hotspot pretty much anywhere. It’s not impossible, it just takes work. You can do it, and I can’t wait to hear your success stories!
If you’d like to join up with a bunch of like-minded folks all working in pursuit of excellence, consider joining my community membership, the Gristle Crüe. We meet weekly on Zoom calls to go through the latest in Helium and to help each other solve problems. You also get access to the Crüe channel in my Discord so you don’t have to wait for a Zoom call to learn. I’d love to have you join up and learn with us, Helium is a ton of fun when you’re in good company. If you’d like to learn more, find us here.