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Mike M
06-27-2007, 08:11 PM
Okay, I decided I spent enough money, and I may be pushing the cart in front of the horse (is that how they say it?).

I am now handpicking names and addresses from the chamber directory for sending a profile about my business on my letterhead, as well as some photographic stuff from the manufacturers.

I will mail this out to, let's say, 100 people. I will focus small, so I can afford to send follow-up post cards, at least two more times. Maybe I will concentrate on some of these for in-person visits.

Of all the headings of business, which do you guys get the most referrals from, including the owners themselves:

General contractors, home builders, real estate developers, real estate professionals, other subcontractors (hardscapers, carpenters, etc.), I also have lists of doctors and lawyers and other business owners who may want lighting for themselves.

Thank you.

Mike M.

extlights
06-27-2007, 10:12 PM
None of the above for us. We have one landscaper that gets us 5-8 jobs per year, but that's about it. We get about 20-30 referrals a year from an upscale lighting showroom though. We're done concentrating on going after other contractors, or "business professionals". To much effort for very little return.

We strictly work from direct mail and customer referrals.

Chris J
06-27-2007, 10:58 PM
Just remember that with people like builders, they are getting hit at every angle from people just like you who want to be added to the preferred vendor list. It will be extremely hard for you to get in their ear. You best bet is to get involved in some of their organizations like the local Builders Association and start to do some networking. Normally, you have to shell out some cabbage to support their causes before they will support yours.

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 09:16 AM
None of the above for us. We have one landscaper that gets us 5-8 jobs per year, but that's about it. We get about 20-30 referrals a year from an upscale lighting showroom though. We're done concentrating on going after other contractors, or "business professionals". To much effort for very little return.

We strictly work from direct mail and customer referrals.

bingo... little to no return for us on builders and such and we been pounding them a year now.

Mike M... Your setting your sights a bit high by targeting customer builders and real estate developers this early in the game. You better have the experience to back up your offerings and deliver more than you promise if your going to target these types of people. Keep in mind they often have budgets that may not include your price but they can afford the lowballer.

In my opinion your best off working up a pyramid..

Start with signle family/own own home....

Then work up to landscape contractors.

Then fo after landscape arcitects when you have established yourself.

then you can move in on the general contractors and developers. Chances are thoes develpers are going to be working with a landscape architect anyways for thier entrance areas and such anyways.

When you target specific individuals its going to be much easier for you to get in front of them. Often times these other people you are speaking of are too busy to listen to another upstart.

There is no problem with you networking by joining things like your local chamber and associations tho. If I were you I would do the post cards and start at the residential level. Being deaf I am at a disadvantage there but I still do what I can. Had a client say something funny to me the other day when I was repairing her existing system... "Billy... you know its funny. Your deaf and your the first person to actually listen to what we wanted!"

They are building a new home and I have no doubt that I will be doing the lighting system there.

Mike M
06-28-2007, 06:19 PM
Billy, I'm trying a little bit of everything and I'll see where it takes me. I just ordered the Cast cards with the slot for my business card. I also ordered some of their brochures.

I will be honest with people about my experience, but I will show them some of my work up close if they want. I also ordered the cast bullet so I can hand them that if they are interested in Cast. I have a feeling I will be going with mostly Cast and Kichler.

I'll probably be getting the solder kit by Watson Irrigation.

I know people here will probably disagree with two primary installation methods, but I'm planning on offering a standard rate with Kichler AZT's and an upgrade rate for marine grade/solder/bronze fixtures, and let them decide. I will push Cast for waterfront areas. I can also offer other company's products in those areas as well, but still use the solder with tin coat.

Pro-Scapes
06-28-2007, 08:30 PM
man your on an island... your whole area is coastal. If you offer alluminum fixtures your going to be eating warranty labor. Wire can go either way as long as its sealed well.

If I was in your area I would forget the AZT line. cast or kichler br and bbr lines. If your going to do crap that falls apart how are you ny better than the next guy ? Just because you solder ? I dont think so.

Mike M
06-28-2007, 08:45 PM
I have inland regions. Clay soil, fresh water lagoons, etc. Chris J would be the expert on this. I wonder how his aluminum powdercoat fixtures stand up in areas 20-30 minutes from salt water? I wonder how his salt marsh connections hold up??

klkanders
06-29-2007, 12:26 AM
I like this marketing plan:
Spreading an install out over 2-3 days (easy for a one man band) but having some zones (like the front yard) going the first night. Then have business cards and or brochures ready to hand out the next day when the neighbors stop by commenting how nice the lights looked last night. Its been working alot like that lately for me and I have some good prospects!

Chris J
06-29-2007, 12:51 AM
I have inland regions. Clay soil, fresh water lagoons, etc. Chris J would be the expert on this. I wonder how his aluminum powdercoat fixtures stand up in areas 20-30 minutes from salt water? I wonder how his salt marsh connections hold up??

If you asked the Chris that started out 7 years ago, I would have told you to go ahead and do what you have to do to make the sale. Today, however, I am of a different belief. If you are near the ocean coast-line (let's say, within 75 miles) I would prefer that you use the brass, copper or bronze fixtures. I will still argue that the sockets are still the same, but my time in the biz has convinced me that you will be better off upselling rather than trying to compete with low price. Even if you do have to replace a socket, it's better to replace a socket on a job you have sold than to not have to replace a socket on a job that you never received.
Wow, that's almost like some kind of poetry.....

High Performance Lighting
06-29-2007, 12:56 AM
labor costs the same whether you use a copper / brass fixture that will last or a aluminum one that won't. Any reasonable person would agree.

Chris J
06-29-2007, 01:06 AM
East Coast time is 1:05 AM. I'm going to bed.

Mike M
06-29-2007, 08:58 AM
labor costs the same whether you use a copper / brass fixture that will last or a aluminum one that won't

That's the angle I want to use for selling up.

Chris, 75 miles? That's solves it, then. I'll take your advice guys, and exclusively offer brass, copper, bronze. (For what it's worth, I like the research on tin-coat, and I think it follows the same philosophy as the fixtures.)

Thanks, guys.

Mike