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RLI Electric
01-24-2010, 12:16 PM
Do any of you have a showroom or a place you can take clients on a walkthrough? I am assuming the majority of you have lighting in your own yards. I have turned my own yard and house into a "proving grounds". Which means not too many wires are buried due to moving things around and trying new stuff. If any of you have been to Jan's Dogpark, you know how beautiful the property is. I joked with her that her class is really going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars due to the fact that I would like to have a studio like hers with a view of the property with landscape lighting. My dream studio would not be limited to outdoor stuff either. I have dabbled in home theater as well and that is something else that I have played around with on the interior of the house. If any of you have been to Lutron's Experience Centers, you can understand how the enthusiasm for is infectious. They have a 98% close rate on sales when a client comes in. The idea of an Experience Center for lighting and electrical is therefore not limited to just interior electrical but also the outdoor lighting of gardens. I really need to win the lottery because unlike a lot of you I am not a landscaper and therefore the whole thing of learning plants is new to me too. I thought a great sales thing would be to invite a client to the "Proving Grounds" for a walkthrough with wine and cheese or something to really allow them to experience what the lighting can really do to enhance their lifestyle rather than just trying to describe it. If anyone has something like this in their own property it would be great to hear what you have.

Mayor_tx
01-24-2010, 02:05 PM
Hey Bobby,

I think you should just stick to doing lighting demonstrations on each clients home. That is what they want to see lit up after all. And it would be much cheaper to just buy a couple demo kits. Even if you had a showroom, you would probably have to demo their home eventually.

Bring a big portfolio with you to show them pictures of homes you have already done with before and after pics as well.

Good luck!

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-24-2010, 02:23 PM
When I built my shop/office/studio about 8 years ago, I purposefully made the interior of the office quite nice. I installed some nice lighting, custom desk, nice seating, drafting table, etc etc. The idea was that I would have a place where I could have clients come to see my work, discuss their projects, etc. Since doing this, I have had a grand total of zero (0) clients come to my place here.

I would say, that unless you are operating a retail location, with a lot of established walk in customers, there is no reason to put a lot of effort into attracting clients to your property. For the most part they are going to want your attention at their property. It is a lot easier and more convenient for you to go to the prospect's property than to encourage them to come see you. You have to be on site to do the design in any case.

RLI Electric
01-24-2010, 03:00 PM
I do the demonstrations already. I live on a corner lot that is lightly wooded. I sort of thought of setting up an "enchanted garden" that people would be able to come through to see downlighting. I only have 1 fixture in my demo kit on an extended painters pole to simulate a down light. James, do you have pictures of the office? Out of the thousands of homes I have been into the only thing that gets me pumped up are home offices and work shops. Kitchens, theaters and family rooms don't get me too excited. I once saw a coffee table book on tool boxes. Sounds boring but really cool. I thought it would be a good idea to do one on workshops.

emby
01-24-2010, 05:20 PM
I have to laugh at my own residence as I have been using it as a testing facility to say the least. Most of the wires are on top with multiple types of connections exposed and buried. I have many different fixtures with many different bulbs operating in my backyard. This allows me to make choices when designing and deciding what product and bulbs to use. My front yard is complete as I wanted to ensure that the curb appeal was present.

Personally I would not want to bring potential customers to my residence because of this. I want to show my customers that their propeties are my only focus and you can only do that by working on their landscapes.
Having a portfolio and offering demos are my way of expressing a little taste of my design capabilities and also showing them the possibilities of a well designed landscape lighting system.
I am sure that Jan's estate is very impressive but it is what it is. It is a training facility and has been set up to do that. If that is your business scope then yes I would ensure that you proceed with your plans. If your only doing it to add another residence to your portfolio I would personally concentrate on your customers residence in creating your portfolio.
Just my 2 cents as always. Hope this helps.

Ken

RLI Electric
01-24-2010, 08:18 PM
Emby, point well taken. Maybe I will do my Proving Grounds for my own use. The demo kits that you guys have, how many fixtures will you take out for a demo? My kit is currently around 20 fixtures but I will expand it a little bit. Most of my demos are a set up and break down on the same evening.

Mayor_tx
01-24-2010, 08:27 PM
I started with around 20 as well. It gets the point across for most homes.

One bit of advise if I may, leave that demo out for a few nights. Let the neighbors know who you are by leaving a nice looking sign out or hand some cards out. Always helped us out.

Good luck out there this year!

RLI Electric
01-24-2010, 08:30 PM
Mayor, do you do anything for a downlight demo?

Mayor_tx
01-24-2010, 08:36 PM
I do have a couple down lights that I put up in the trees. I like your painting pole idea though.

I've been taking my 10' ladder which is usually fine for our live oak trees here.

RLI Electric
01-24-2010, 08:44 PM
The painters pole worked great gets up about 16feet and then add your arms length to it. Gives them the idea of what you are getting at.

extlights
01-25-2010, 12:24 AM
We have a room set up at a lighting showroom that's completely dedicated to us and our lighting. That alone accounts for 1/3 of our business.

RLI Electric
01-25-2010, 06:00 AM
Dave, do you have a photo of the showroom? I for one, work out of my home and am interested if some of you bigger lighting installers do the same or have offices and showrooms.

extlights
01-25-2010, 06:43 AM
I will get pictures of the room and post them. That room is just a marketing tool for us. We don't work out of the lighting showroom, however we do do business with the showroom. Sometimes you have to put business sense before craft if that makes any sense. If you want to PM me I can go more into detail.

JoeyD
01-25-2010, 10:49 AM
For years we have been putting on events which we call "Illuminations"

The goal was to take a top notch lighting project and invite architects and designers from in and around the area and give them a sense of what our products along with a proper design can do to transform a home. We had great success with these events. We served wine and some lite appetizers and the event usually lasted a couple of hours. We would attract around 15-20 guests and even invite the other homeowners in the neighborhood.

We ended up modifying this event and began helping our contractor customers put these events on. In this event the actual installing contractor would be the focus and he/she would invite existing and perspective clients, along with perspective architects and designers that they were seeking to do their install work for. These events worked quite well.


Attached is one of the invitations we made up with Silver Moon Lighting here in San Diego.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-25-2010, 03:54 PM
Joey's Idea there is much like our "Lighting Ceremony" This is where we hold off on powering up a system until the clients can be in attendance, we also will invite neighbours & friends (with client's permission of course) to the "event". We bring some Champagne and arrive around dusk, spend some time with those in attendance and generally prevent anyone from going outside or even looking outside until it is good and dark. Then we lead a walkthrough of the entire installation.

This is generally very well received and leaves that "Remarkable" impression in the client's mind. It is a fantastic way of getting your service in front of other prospects too, as long as they are in attendance.

Anything that puts your product/service in front of, and in the realm of experience of your intended customer base is a very effective tool for selling. Much more effective than any type of traditional advertising or marketing.

RLI Electric
01-25-2010, 08:51 PM
174921
Sorry, but I am very excited that I learned how to post pictures. Thanks Tim and James for the help

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-25-2010, 09:59 PM
174921
Sorry, but I am very excited that I learned how to post pictures. Thanks Tim and James for the help

Hey Bob, the ability to post pictures here is a double edged sword. On one edge you get to show off your work :clapping:, but on the other you open yourself up to critique and criticism! :dizzy:

This can be a tough room! :hammerhead:

worx
01-26-2010, 08:36 AM
Nice picture Bobby, what type of camera are you using? I like the back drop lighting on the oaks behind the home.

JoeyD
01-26-2010, 10:02 AM
great depth in that photo!

RLI Electric
01-26-2010, 11:39 AM
I don't know what kind of camera the guy used. I had a photographer do this and it was his first time taking a outdoor night time shot. He was pooping in his pants when I told him that we just use the light that is there and not to set up any additional lighting. He was saying it can't be done when I showed him George Gruel's website and his jaw dropped. Thanks for the comment on the trees behind the house. That is the signature Jan Moyer move and I thought it was great how it defines the shape of the house as opposed to lighting the house itself. Joey, for my dormers I want to use Stellars. Can I get away with 3 using linear spread lenses. I would place them in between the 2 dormers on the main part of the house and 1 in between the dormers over my garage. Right now I just have 2 20watt BAB in the planting bed in front of my door. Decent effect until you are standing at my front door and the glare bombs blow your eyeballs out.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-26-2010, 11:52 AM
Bob, you might want to bring the wattage of the two coach lights down. I would say 15W each if they are A19-Med Base. If they are candelabra, I would use 4W Silicone Dip there.

Regards

RLI Electric
01-26-2010, 01:47 PM
Yeah, the picture showed them hotter than they actually are. They are 25watt lamps dimmed to 50%. The light on the garage is 25watt. I couldn't find any clear A19 lamps in a smaller wattage. James, on a different note. I am doing a couple of kitchen remodels and I am installing magnetic low voltage cans by Halo. Do you know of a LED MR 16 lamp that can go in them that are a decent color? Maybe with a 50watt output and 35 degree beam spread, I would love to know if there is something available now. I am assuming in another year it will be readily available.

worx
01-26-2010, 02:47 PM
Hey Bobby what lamps/fixtures are used to uplight the oaks behind the house?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
01-26-2010, 03:52 PM
Yeah, the picture showed them hotter than they actually are. They are 25watt lamps dimmed to 50%. The light on the garage is 25watt. I couldn't find any clear A19 lamps in a smaller wattage. James, on a different note. I am doing a couple of kitchen remodels and I am installing magnetic low voltage cans by Halo. Do you know of a LED MR 16 lamp that can go in them that are a decent color? Maybe with a 50watt output and 35 degree beam spread, I would love to know if there is something available now. I am assuming in another year it will be readily available.

Bob, There is currently one supplier of 300+ Lumen LED MR16 Lamps that I would trust with my business, but their lamp cost is very high. I have sampled some other 35W Halogen replacements but their heat output is way too high in my opinion.

I am currently working on developing a 340+ Lumen LED MR16. Testing is pretty much complete and we are moving into production on it soon. This will be a direct replacement for 35w Halogen MR16 lamps. There are no LED replacements for 50W Halogen (that I know of) at this time.

RLI Electric
01-26-2010, 03:57 PM
The oaks were lit with 2 50watt EXN's and 3 20watt BAB's. The 3 20watt fixtures were just mockup lights. My leaching fields are close to the drip edge of the tree and I did not want to hit those;). I also lit a beech tree in the woods. The photo attached looks different than it did. In real life it looked like flames due to the color of the leaves and that the tree has never been pruned.

RLI Electric
01-26-2010, 03:59 PM
Again, in real life it did not look that hot on the oak or the birch. Sounds like a weak excuse but the photographer was learning and I thought it looked good enough to give an idea to the average person, not to a bunch of lighting designers. So be easy on me.