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  #11  
Old 01-01-2008, 06:49 PM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
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Great topic here guys. I'd like to see more suggestions as I'm all ears (eyes) right now. I listend to a speaker at a conference once that said to never talk about cost over the phone, but I didn't agree with it at all. Around here, I get more than a few calls from "tire kickers" because of my exposure with my ads, not to mention my truck graphics. I truly believe that something has to be said about cost in order to prequalify over the phone. Otherwise, I would be wasting a huge amount of time going on sales call that I have no business going on.
I usually ask the potential client if they have any experience with professional outdoor lighting. When they say no, I explain the difference between the big box stuff and the pro stuff. I then go on to explain that of course the professional systems are going to be much more expensive for obvious reasons and the average "modest sized home" could have a nice lighting design for roughly 28-3500 for the front yard. I always add "but it could be more or less depending on your personal taste and needs as well as the complexity of the job." However, this has bitten me on a couple of occasions. I can remember more than once when the job turned out to be 6-8k and the customer replied "I thought you said 3k?"
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  #12  
Old 01-01-2008, 07:04 PM
steveparrott steveparrott is online now
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While pre-qualifying is an important step for the contractor, we need to remember that the client is also pre-qualifying the contractor. For the client, price may not be the primary concern. In fact, if the contractor brings up price immediately then the client may focus on that instead of value.

For this reason, it's important to communicate your company's value proposition in the begining of the call. For example,

Prospect: "Hi, my name is Mary Jones, I saw your ad in the paper and am interested in landscape lighting for my home."

Contractor: "Thanks for your call. Do you live in {state}?

Prospect: "Yes, I live in {town}."

Contractor: "Good, we've designed lighting for many homes in your area. Let me briefly tell you about our company. We've been in business for 20 years and are a full-service landscaping firm. We have a highly trained team of lighting designers and installers. They use the highest quality products and specialize in custom lighting design. Can you tell me more about your property and what kind of lighting you have in mind?"

Prospect: "I live in a smaller house and am interested in lighting the front walkway.

Contractor: "We could certainly light your walkway, but for a project to make sense for us, we do require a minimum of 10 fixtures. That would cost about $2,500. Would this be within your budget?"

Prospect: "Oh. I was thinking that a few hundred would do the job."

Contractor: "Professionally designed and installed lighting is more expensive but the results are far more rewarding and will save you money in the long run."

Prospect: "Let me talk to my husband and I'll get back to you."

The point of this fictional conversation is that by presenting the value first, then you can be sure that regardless of who the prospect is, they will understand that they will be getting value for whatever the cost is. The above prospect may call you back and say that she didn't understand that lighting was so expensive but now she sees the value and would like to continue the conversation.
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  #13  
Old 01-01-2008, 07:22 PM
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NightScenes NightScenes is offline
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Steve, have you bugged my phone??? This sounds like one of my cold calls. Let them know who you are and get to know who they are and what they are looking for. Then you can talk about expense.
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  #14  
Old 01-01-2008, 08:49 PM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveparrott View Post
While pre-qualifying is an important step for the contractor, we need to remember that the client is also pre-qualifying the contractor. For the client, price may not be the primary concern. In fact, if the contractor brings up price immediately then the client may focus on that instead of value.

For this reason, it's important to communicate your company's value proposition in the begining of the call. For example,

Prospect: "Hi, my name is Mary Jones, I saw your ad in the paper and am interested in landscape lighting for my home."

Contractor: "Thanks for your call. Do you live in {state}?

Prospect: "Yes, I live in {town}."

Contractor: "Good, we've designed lighting for many homes in your area. Let me briefly tell you about our company. We've been in business for 20 years and are a full-service landscaping firm. We have a highly trained team of lighting designers and installers. They use the highest quality products and specialize in custom lighting design. Can you tell me more about your property and what kind of lighting you have in mind?"

Prospect: "I live in a smaller house and am interested in lighting the front walkway.

Contractor: "We could certainly light your walkway, but for a project to make sense for us, we do require a minimum of 10 fixtures. That would cost about $2,500. Would this be within your budget?"

Prospect: "Oh. I was thinking that a few hundred would do the job."

Contractor: "Professionally designed and installed lighting is more expensive but the results are far more rewarding and will save you money in the long run."

Prospect: "Let me talk to my husband and I'll get back to you."

The point of this fictional conversation is that by presenting the value first, then you can be sure that regardless of who the prospect is, they will understand that they will be getting value for whatever the cost is. The above prospect may call you back and say that she didn't understand that lighting was so expensive but now she sees the value and would like to continue the conversation.
This is outstanding Steve. While we are role-playing, could you take a stab at this one:

Prospect: "Hi, my name is Mary Jones, I saw your ad in the paper and am interested in landscape lighting for my home."

Contractor: "Thanks for your call. Do you live in {state}?

Prospect: "Yes, I live in {town}."

Contractor: "Good, we've designed lighting for many homes in your area. Let me briefly tell you about our company. We've been in business for 20 years and are a full-service landscaping firm. We have a highly trained team of lighting designers and installers. They use the highest quality products and specialize in custom lighting design. Can you tell me more about your property and what kind of lighting you have in mind?"

Prospect: "Well, I've just seen your ads, and I think the lighting looks beautiful. Could you come out and give me an estimate to do my home?

Contractor: .....................your suggestion, and your description of how the rest of the conversation will go.


I'm not being an ass here. I really want to know how you would handle this. If any of the others would like to take a stab at it, please do. I'm in my "student" mode at the moment.
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, GA Lic#LVG105244
www.JohnsonLightingInc.com
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  #15  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:11 PM
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NightScenes NightScenes is offline
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Chris, here is how I take it from that point:

Contractor: Well, this is how we work. I will come out to your home and give you a free one hour consultation. We will talk about you, your home, your entertaining style as well as what you expect from me. If you would like to work with me at the end of that hour and would like me to design a lighting system for you, there will be a $--- design fee which helps cover my time for creating the lighting design/proposal.

Prospect: How much does this kind of thing usually cost?

Contractor: The projects that I am involved with start at $2500 for a basic system and go up from there. Have you been to my web site?

Prospect: Not yet.

Contractor: I suggest that you go to my web site at www.---- and then you will have a very good understanding of the kind of work that my company does. Would you like me to set up a consultation?

Prospect: Let me visit your site and talk to my husband.

Contractor: That's great, if you or your husband have any questions at all, please call me or send me an email from my site and I will be happy to answer all of those questions. Have a great day.

This is pretty close to how it goes most of the time that I talk to cold callers. Those that are referrals are quite different.
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  #16  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:21 PM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
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Cool response Paul. Thanks for the input and tips!
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Johnson Landscape Lighting, Inc.
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, GA Lic#LVG105244
www.JohnsonLightingInc.com
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:23 PM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
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Could you please explain your typical call/response to a referral type call?
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, GA Lic#LVG105244
www.JohnsonLightingInc.com
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:23 PM
pete scalia pete scalia is offline
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Makes sense and it's not a bad thing to do. However people are generally lazy by nature and most are very busy. There's no way to guarantee they will go to the site and ever contact you because stuff happens and they don't. Why not ask them to go online and walk them through the website while on the phone. If your offering a free 1 hour consult it's a no loss for them proposition. If the 2500 minimum is ok then I'd say that's your qualifier. Better yet if you can have a picture of a $2500 project for them to see on your site and they approve of it then that's a qualifier.

You may say well if they don't go to the site they weren't interested or qualified anyway but that may not be true. They made the step of calling you so that shows interest right there.

Golden rule in business is you never rely on your prospect or customer to take the initiative because most times they won't. You must hold them by the hand and guide them either way you know where you stand and there are no what if's.
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  #19  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:29 PM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
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Pete,
What if they have already been to your website? As you said, the people we deal with are usually very busy people. I doubt they will have time, nor will I, to sit down while you walk them through your website.
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Johnson Landscape Lighting, Inc.
FL Lic#ES12000428
, GA Lic#LVG105244
www.JohnsonLightingInc.com
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  #20  
Old 01-01-2008, 09:38 PM
klkanders klkanders is offline
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Awesome points Paul and Pete! Those are very good starting points anyway. I like Pete's idea of putting a few photo's of your starting package on the website so they can compare that to the large projects you have done.
Chris - Good questions you are asking. They bring out some great responses. Thanks
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