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TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 09:02 PM
To a major low baller!!!! This was a 44 light job. a little over 11k. someone came in behind me and is doing it for 4200 dollars...WTF?!! I am so mad right now. I want to hurt this guy so bad! This just kills me... this is the third time this has happened. What do you do in this situation?!

Eden Lights
06-09-2008, 09:41 PM
You really would need to give us more information on how these have been going down, so some of the guys here can help you out. We do a sitdown in the house proposal that takes about a full 60-70 mintues. I try to define to the client why our services are the best value for them, this includes a explanation of all the possible options that they might take after I leave and I try to leave them with some pros and cons with each avenue. Yes, that includes giving them options that they might not know about, but if your work, products, and service is superior you have nothing to fear. If a client just doesn't have the time to listen then it's a battle you can't win, just let it go. I have gone to proposals before and decided not to even show the design.

You can not make everyone be your customers, but you can decide what type of customers you want to share your passion and excellence with.

TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 10:21 PM
ok it hasnt happened 3 times... i dont know where that came from...sorry bout that. this is the first.

i figure im doing something wrong. i havent been closing near what i should be...i try to explain the warranties the difference between me and other companies around me. and of course the lowes and home cheapo lights, my main competition is from $215-295 per light.. but 95 a light?? i try to mention these people in my spill and i guess it goes over their head.

i have to be doing something wrong here... any help is greatly appreciated. i hate landscaping and want to only do lighting. weve done between 10-15 jobs but i of course want 2-3 per week. ask anything, i want to be better. i have a 20+ unique lighting demo kit. maybe its my spill or something. i know im not a very good sales person.

The Lighting Geek
06-09-2008, 11:07 PM
Think about this: did you sell fixtures or did you sell artistry? How much time did you spend talking about competition vs. ambience? Do you have a killer portfolio to show off your work? a website? Did you do a demo? Is your marketing setting you up to close the deal or causing you to explain the difference between you and everyone else? Are you selling a service or setting trends? Don't feel you are alone here, because your not. But the fact is you were not in front of the right customer. They did not see the value of what you had to offer.

Chris J
06-09-2008, 11:09 PM
If your doing a demo, you shouldn't have to say too much. The demo should speak for itself. Maybe that's the problem? Not trying to discredit you because 95/light is a bit crazy. I would suggest that this type of person was not your customer to begin with. People who have the money to spend on quality will spend it as long as you gain their trust. If you're just another clown, but happen to have a big price tag as well, they will read right through you.
To answer your question about what to do in a situation like this: Simply smile and thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. Also tell them that you will be happy to service that cheep-ass lighting system in the future when the jerk who installed it won't call them back! Just don't say it quite like that.

TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 11:37 PM
Think about this: did you sell fixtures or did you sell artistry? How much time did you spend talking about competition vs. ambience? Do you have a killer portfolio to show off your work? a website? Did you do a demo? Is your marketing setting you up to close the deal or causing you to explain the difference between you and everyone else? Are you selling a service or setting trends? Don't feel you are alone here, because your not. But the fact is you were not in front of the right customer. They did not see the value of what you had to offer.

I did a demo of course. I only spent about 5 min or so on competition this that and the other. i try and tell them im trying to bring out the beauty in their home. it takes some time to get the right lights and to do this perfect. i try mojority of the stuff i hear here from you guys. i do have a poster which i use as my portfolio for them to see... i need something better, and web site is under construction. their taking way to long...

TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 11:43 PM
If your doing a demo, you shouldn't have to say too much. The demo should speak for itself. Maybe that's the problem? Not trying to discredit you because 95/light is a bit crazy. I would suggest that this type of person was not your customer to begin with. People who have the money to spend on quality will spend it as long as you gain their trust. If you're just another clown, but happen to have a big price tag as well, they will read right through you.
To answer your question about what to do in a situation like this: Simply smile and thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. Also tell them that you will be happy to service that cheep-ass lighting system in the future when the jerk who installed it won't call them back! Just don't say it quite like that.

the demo thing you said was my whole deal! i figured the lights will do the talking! but thats only worked on 2 or 3 jobs. the rest ive needed to pull something out my ars and it sometimes works sometimes not! Maybe these werent the right people i dont know, but gosh this was a 700,000 dollar house and the people made plenty of money. there was about 8 or 9 other lighting jobs in this neighborhood 5 of which were my main competitors, the others looked pretty bad. could be the same compan who stole this one from me i dont know. all i know is i have to figure this out fast. cuz i want to only do lighting. very tired of the landscaping crap.

David Gretzmier
06-09-2008, 11:45 PM
I would stay in contact with that person. at 95 per fixture, they are going to need your help with the problems with the competitors system. I'd check in on them at 3 months, 9 months, 15 months. at the prices your competition charges, they must be installing cheap stuff and probably incorrectly. don't wait for them to call you for help, they will likely be too prideful to do so. I think you will find yourself in the position of getting this job in 2 years or less. and at your price.

Mark B
06-09-2008, 11:45 PM
Yeah what Chris & Tommy said. Try to get the service. I have also found out in the past when doing irrigation. When me and a friend were bidding on the same job. My friend told me what he was bidding I went in $300.00 over him. I got the job, then customer said that my frined did not sound sound confident about doing the job. My friend would use words/phrases like I think I can, I might be able to XX phrases like that. Do you sound very confident with what you are selling? My .02

TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 11:47 PM
Think about this: did you sell fixtures or did you sell artistry? How much time did you spend talking about competition vs. ambience? Do you have a killer portfolio to show off your work? a website? Did you do a demo? Is your marketing setting you up to close the deal or causing you to explain the difference between you and everyone else? Are you selling a service or setting trends? Don't feel you are alone here, because your not. But the fact is you were not in front of the right customer. They did not see the value of what you had to offer.

and i try not to "sell" the best i can. i try to show them the magic of the lights, what you can do with lights. i try not to say: heres how much, heres some lights blah blah. i sell myself. i try to make them comfortable with me. maybe thats wrong i dont know.

TXNSLighting
06-09-2008, 11:51 PM
Yeah what Chris & Tommy said. Try to get the service. I have also found out in the past when doing irrigation. When me and a friend were bidding on the same job. My friend told me what he was bidding I went in $300.00 over him. I got the job, then customer said that my frined did not sound sound confident about doing the job. My friend would use words/phrases like I think I can, I might be able to XX phrases like that. Do you sound very confident with what you are selling? My .02

Confidence is what i really strive for! especially with our client base. they like to see confindence, it definately makes them feel better about spending 10k+. I just feel theres something else im messing up on. Were still a new company so we dont have all that many jobs. but i feel were a great company with good work to show.

Chris J
06-10-2008, 12:09 AM
Maybe it's time to read some books regarding selling to the higher-end client? I really don't know the answer to your dilemma, but I wish you well in your search. Good luck man. Keep trying.

Pro-Scapes
06-10-2008, 12:19 AM
as soon as I stopped talking about fixtures and other things and got more confident I noticed an imediate change in the way clients reacted to me. I no longer run all over the yard in the dark with wires and lights.

I am still developing my own style but just from someone who has been where you are not so long ago it might sound like you are trying too hard and getting too worked up in front of the clients. Relax and be confident. You know you can do it. A simple smile and nod with a " yes, absolutly" is much more effective than some hyper ventilating long winded explanation of how and why and which fixtures you can do to accomplish something.

The Lighting Geek
06-10-2008, 12:50 AM
I no longer run all over the yard in the dark with wires and lights.

A simple smile and nod with a " yes, absolutly" is much more effective than some hyper ventilating long winded explanation of how and why and which fixtures you can do to accomplish something.

Man Billy, you just described me to a T! LOL

JimLewis
06-10-2008, 03:48 AM
Ryan,

Lots of good advice above. These guys know this business and how to sell. Pay attention to that advice.

I will add a few things;

First, try to be sure to qualify your customer before you do a demo or submit a proposal. There are a lot of ways to do that. That's a whole other thread. But not everyone can afford a $11,000 lighting job, as much as they might love the effect. They may be just tapped out right now and don't have that kind of money. "Big fancy house" doesn't always equate to "lots of liquidity". Taking some time to qualify them will help weed out the pikers.

Second, take some time in your presentation for show and tell. I use mostly Unique fixtures too. And the nice thing about their fixtures is those things are SOLID! They are impressive. I have 3 of their fixtures in the back of my truck at all times (spot light, path light, well light). I also have 3 cheap versions of the same kinds of light fixtures from a much less expensive brand. I hold up the path light and mention all of the things that it has over the cheaper path light. Material it's made of, lifetime of lamp, wattage of lamp, aesthetic appeal, lifetime warranty, 25' lead of 12/2 wire, etc. I explain "you get what you pay for." I go through the same stuff with the other lights. When I get to the spot light, I have them hold the cheapo spot light first. I show them the dings it has in it, just from sitting in the back of my truck. I show them how easy the metal is to bend. Then I have them hold the Unique spot light in the other hand. It's like 3x as heavy. They can tell instantly the difference just from the weight. I say, "Look how thick this thing is? I could drive my truck over this fixture and it wouldn't break."

Then I go on to explain all the benefits of that light. When I am done with all this, I always explain, "I believe in using the best. There are a LOT of other lighting brand out there on the market. This stuff is about the best there is out there. Best warranty, best lamps, best leads, best materials, etc. But it does come with a price. And we also take our time and install everything the right way. There are companies out there who will just install a lighting system for half of what I will sell you one for. If you want a cheap system, they're out there. But most of those systems will be beat up and falling apart in just a few years. If you want light fixtures that last and will still be here in 20 years, that's the kind of systems I sell. And not everyone wants to spend that kind of money. But if you're up for it, we'd be happy to show you how we can make your home really stand out with a system that will last a lifetime."

Then I go into the effect and artistry and ambiance and all that, like the other guys suggested.

Third, realize that you just won't land every bid. But the more you do, the more your reputation will grow for being a lighting expert and then you'll get more referrals and THOSE are the customers you want. But come to terms with the fact that you'll lose some for whatever reason. And then just advertise so that you're giving bids and doing demos all the time. Then losing a few here and there won't matter because you're giving another 8 bids that week anyway. I probably land less than 35% of the lighting bids I give. A lot of that is due to the fact that I don't have a demo kit and always have to borrow one if I want to do a demo. So I don't do a lot of demos (yet). But I don't focus on the 65% of bids I am losing. I focus on making the 35% that I win look freakin' awesome. (I only wish I could find someone who could take decent photos of them....... :rolleyes:)

50% of our lighting jobs come from customers who we already installed lighting for and now want more. 25% come from their friends. And 25% are new customers.

Best wishes. I'm still not great at landing lighting jobs. But over the last 12 months I've definitely got a whole lot better at it. And it helps to have some pretty nice jobs under our belt to show people. It takes a long time to get good at this. I remember thinking 2 years ago that I'd NEVER be able to convince people to spend $2-$10K or more on lighting. It just seemed so difficult and way out of most of my customer's budgets. But now we seem to land those kind of lighting jobs fairly regularly, as I've gotten better at it. It will come for you too. Just takes time and experience.

TXNSLighting
06-10-2008, 10:13 AM
Thank you for that. I definately dont think i will land every job, but man its getting to where i have not closed a job in a while...out of the past 5...it just gets scary. but its on the up and up. This job really got me thinking about better advertising, and striving on making myself better. Of course everyone here is definately helping a ton. Keep em comin.

I thought about taking different fixtures to each demo. Home improvement stores lights, and my lights. I think that could help. I definately think i need a better screening process. I will definately work on that today. i usually get out the average price per light, and majority are ok with that. i guess i should expand that and say most homes take anywhere from 20-30 lights or more. and the average job is over 5k.

My eyes are very much open now. and its time to make myself better at this wonderful job i have. Thanks for all your imput, i hope to hear from more of you.

JoeyD
06-10-2008, 10:20 AM
Just keep plugging away Ryan. You got some good sound advice here. Dont let one low baller job get you down. Chances are you did most things the way they should be done, the customer was just baseing there decision off of dollars and not quality and design. "We just want some lights"

Continue to practice and refine your sales approach and techniques. Dont abandon your demo as that can be your best friend when times are tuff and homeonwers are on the bubble. Remember you cant get every customer and some customers are better off left alone. Focus on establishing yourself as the "quality" guy in town and it will pay off.

Here is a good website for you and others to go to to build a book like portfolio. You can bind it and put a nice heavy cover on it. This is something nice to show potential clients. It works well when giving them your proposal and allows you to show things you have done that may apply to the project you are trying to sell.

http://mypublisher.com/

Keep plugging away!

steveparrott
06-10-2008, 10:33 AM
This is a great opportunity to plug my favorite website on selling: http://trustedadvisor.com/articles/. Several of these articles address exactly what you're going through. Gaining the trust of the client should always be the number one priority.

Regarding the low baller - one thing for sure, this guy is not running a profitable business. He'll go away in a few months or years (at the most). He won't get good referrals and he won't get repeat business from his clients. He will never become a major player in your high-end residential market. Just be patient and persist in keeping the high road, refining your design skills and targeting the big projects.

Lite4
06-10-2008, 11:07 AM
Hey Ryan,
Here is a story for you. About a month ago I did a demo on a house that is probably valued at 2 mil. Should be the right customer you would think. The demo was beautiful and the homeowners were falling all over themselves about it. So The homeowner is a realtor and has a little referal network of contractors set up on his website. He shows it to me and asks if we can barter some for placing me on his list. I am not really all that excited about it as I know the net result of that list will probably be a big fat zero, but I want the job in that neighborhood for exposure to the neighbors, so I concede a little bit on my price. Mind you I am only lighting the house portion of my demo. So I give him the bid (trying to keep it low for them because the original lighting budget the landscaper gave them was 2600 bucks.) Let me preface this with this is a pretty trick installation, some of the lights are core drilled into concrete, gutter mounted lights in an upper eave on a second story and feeding wire from the back of the house because it is the only access point to the roof for wire. 20 lights, 2 transformers, 2 HAI -upb modules, core drilling of the concrete, two new outlets for the transformers. My proposal was just over 4k. (I know, I am lucky to break even I am thinking). I gave him nearly 1400 in labor for his (trade). We sat down at his table and we reviewed the proposal for about 10 minutes and then he gave me His reply, "I just don't know if we can part with the extra 1500 right now." At that moment, I stood up and I apologised for wasting their time. I said, "MR and Mrs -----------, I am terribly sorry. I have wasted time for both of us here today. I was mistaken and thought you were interested in the services of a lighting 'professional'. I should have done a better job finding out if you were qualified to work with me before setting up a demo and setting aside time to meet with you here today." I then said, "I clearly misundertood what you were looking for. I should have realized you were just looking for someone to sell you some light fixtures." I said, " You can find many of them in the phone book under landscapers or electricians." I shook their hands, gathered my things and hit the door. Will they call me? who knows, probably not. So Ryan, it just goes to show that regardless of the window dressing some people show, they are still very cheap and don't know what they have in front of them. It is your duty to find that out up front before wasting all that time you could have spent on someone who was qualified, (unlike myself). Don't get discouraged, your next sale is quite possibly the next contact you make.

TXNSLighting
06-10-2008, 12:33 PM
Hey Ryan,
Here is a story for you. About a month ago I did a demo on a house that is probably valued at 2 mil. Should be the right customer you would think. The demo was beautiful and the homeowners were falling all over themselves about it. So The homeowner is a realtor and has a little referal network of contractors set up on his website. He shows it to me and asks if we can barter some for placing me on his list. I am not really all that excited about it as I know the net result of that list will probably be a big fat zero, but I want the job in that neighborhood for exposure to the neighbors, so I concede a little bit on my price. Mind you I am only lighting the house portion of my demo. So I give him the bid (trying to keep it low for them because the original lighting budget the landscaper gave them was 2600 bucks.) Let me preface this with this is a pretty trick installation, some of the lights are core drilled into concrete, gutter mounted lights in an upper eave on a second story and feeding wire from the back of the house because it is the only access point to the roof for wire. 20 lights, 2 transformers, 2 HAI -upb modules, core drilling of the concrete, two new outlets for the transformers. My proposal was just over 4k. (I know, I am lucky to break even I am thinking). I gave him nearly 1400 in labor for his (trade). We sat down at his table and we reviewed the proposal for about 10 minutes and then he gave me His reply, "I just don't know if we can part with the extra 1500 right now." At that moment, I stood up and I apologised for wasting their time. I said, "MR and Mrs -----------, I am terribly sorry. I have wasted time for both of us here today. I was mistaken and thought you were interested in the services of a lighting 'professional'. I should have done a better job finding out if you were qualified to work with me before setting up a demo and setting aside time to meet with you here today." I then said, "I clearly misundertood what you were looking for. I should have realized you were just looking for someone to sell you some light fixtures." I said, " You can find many of them in the phone book under landscapers or electricians." I shook their hands, gathered my things and hit the door. Will they call me? who knows, probably not. So Ryan, it just goes to show that regardless of the window dressing some people show, they are still very cheap and don't know what they have in front of them. It is your duty to find that out up front before wasting all that time you could have spent on someone who was qualified, (unlike myself). Don't get discouraged, your next sale is quite possibly the next contact you make.

I know i really need to stop thinking big house, dont care about money spent. I have definately found out thats not true. Very good story there. and i will keep that in mind from now on.

Im in the process of writing a new qualification letter for myself. taking every point i have heard so far. hopefully now i will not be wasting my time. my main business is about an hour away so its not cheap to not sell these jobs.

Infinity Landscapes, Inc
06-12-2008, 01:49 AM
I know its a hard sell lighting but like the others said you have to sell your self. Don't just talk lighting 24/7 with the client check out there other intrests when you enter the home or yard. Find somthing that you have in commen with the clent even if you have to bull s#@t a little. They will soon become more comfortable with you. You have passion for lighting and you have to demonstate that in differn't ways. You can please some of the people some time, Most the people most the time, but you can't please all the people all the time. Remember just for today you will live through the next 12 hours and try not to tackle all of lifes problems at once. The end. LIGHT ON MAN:)

Chris J
06-12-2008, 02:53 AM
Damn, I feel inspired all of a sudden.

TXNSLighting
06-12-2008, 08:59 AM
i know its like a light just started glowing on me (ha) Very good advice there. I definately am working on my client relations. im still working on my pre qual system, and next is sells technique. been a fun few days with this. it helps i sold a 25 light job a couple nights ago.

JoeyD
06-12-2008, 10:40 AM
right on Ryan!!

The Lighting Geek
06-12-2008, 12:58 PM
Ryan, we all have been in your shoes at some point in our careers, just hang in there.

I had a customer who called me for a demo and I didn't prequalify him enough and I knew when I showed up it wasn't going to work out in my favor with him and his wife. But I needed work and did the demo anyway. Once I got going I got a little more animated (me?) and ended up with 20 or so lights set up. When it came around to looking at the demo with the customer we looked at it and I told him it was going cost him $XXX. He scoffed at it and said it was way over priced and that he could.....blah,blah,blah. I didn't hear him after that but he kept talking..LOL. I was so discouraged. I told him it was late and I would leave up the demo for a week because I was busy (I wasn't, but Nate said to leave it for a week) and I went home. The guy across the street come over a day or so later and asked about the demo. He said it was 'unbelievable'. He asked how much and said, 'is that all? I just had some lighting work done at my office and it sure as hell doesn't look like this and it cost me a whole lot more money. When are you having yours installed?' The demo guy said maybe sometime later. I ended up installing 45+ lights for the guy across the street because he saw the value of what I did. The demo guy never did any lighting, at least not yet. It just goes to show you, you never know who is watching you. It still makes me laugh everytime I pass that house. Keep your chin up and keep fueling your passion for lighting. Your time will come.

JoeyD
06-12-2008, 01:12 PM
Ryan, we all have been in your shoes at some point in our careers, just hang in there.

I had a customer who called me for a demo and I didn't prequalify him enough and I knew when I showed up it wasn't going to work out in my favor with him and his wife. But I needed work and did the demo anyway. Once I got going I got a little more animated (me?) and ended up with 20 or so lights set up. When it came around to looking at the demo with the customer we looked at it and I told him it was going cost him $XXX. He scoffed at it and said it was way over priced and that he could.....blah,blah,blah. I didn't hear him after that but he kept talking..LOL. I was so discouraged. I told him it was late and I would leave up the demo for a week because I was busy (I wasn't, but Nate said to leave it for a week) and I went home. The guy across the street come over a day or so later and asked about the demo. He said it was 'unbelievable'. He asked how much and said, 'is that all? I just had some lighting work done at my office and it sure as hell doesn't look like this and it cost me a whole lot more money. When are you having yours installed?' The demo guy said maybe sometime later. I ended up installing 45+ lights for the guy across the street because he saw the value of what I did. The demo guy never did any lighting, at least not yet. It just goes to show you, you never know who is watching you. It still makes me laugh everytime I pass that house. Keep your chin up and keep fueling your passion for lighting. Your time will come.

thats an awesome story!

Chris J
06-12-2008, 07:17 PM
Sounds like this should have been a FIDO to me, but I'm glad it worked out for the good.

TXNSLighting
06-12-2008, 08:46 PM
Ryan, we all have been in your shoes at some point in our careers, just hang in there.

I had a customer who called me for a demo and I didn't prequalify him enough and I knew when I showed up it wasn't going to work out in my favor with him and his wife. But I needed work and did the demo anyway. Once I got going I got a little more animated (me?) and ended up with 20 or so lights set up. When it came around to looking at the demo with the customer we looked at it and I told him it was going cost him $XXX. He scoffed at it and said it was way over priced and that he could.....blah,blah,blah. I didn't hear him after that but he kept talking..LOL. I was so discouraged. I told him it was late and I would leave up the demo for a week because I was busy (I wasn't, but Nate said to leave it for a week) and I went home. The guy across the street come over a day or so later and asked about the demo. He said it was 'unbelievable'. He asked how much and said, 'is that all? I just had some lighting work done at my office and it sure as hell doesn't look like this and it cost me a whole lot more money. When are you having yours installed?' The demo guy said maybe sometime later. I ended up installing 45+ lights for the guy across the street because he saw the value of what I did. The demo guy never did any lighting, at least not yet. It just goes to show you, you never know who is watching you. It still makes me laugh everytime I pass that house. Keep your chin up and keep fueling your passion for lighting. Your time will come.

Thats what keeps me going. I know it will kick in soon, and maybe off a neighbor of a demo! that would be perfect. Im definately keeping my head up, Im very driven to succeed. Im finally respected for what i do now, and i want it to continue. I got invited to a party one of my very high end clients is having. Its just for his close friends, (about 150 people) so thats just awesome.


Thanks for all your input guys, its been very helpful.

Chris J
06-12-2008, 11:00 PM
Way to go Ryan. Keep it up. By the way, who in the hell has 150 "close" friends? I think I have 15 maybe, but I guess it's all in the definition.

The Lighting Geek
06-12-2008, 11:13 PM
The only way I could keep my friends was to act like a fool, because they found out how broke I was....LOL

Chris J
06-12-2008, 11:38 PM
The only way I could keep my friends was to act like a fool, because they found out how broke I was....LOL

Yeah, whatever GEEK!

Lite4
06-13-2008, 12:19 AM
If I had to pay for your advertising budget I would be broke too my friend. Oh wait a minute, I am trying to advertise like you, and yes, I am broke.

TXNSLighting
06-13-2008, 12:29 AM
Way to go Ryan. Keep it up. By the way, who in the hell has 150 "close" friends? I think I have 15 maybe, but I guess it's all in the definition.

Well when your worth almost 100 mil...I get more excited each day i wake up, hoping for that phone to ring for a demo! and try my new prequal screening! And like tommy said, i cant believe i get paid to do this!

TXNSLighting
06-13-2008, 12:30 AM
Thats what i need! A nice advertising budget! That would really help business.