Always be ready to sell

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    Went out to take photo's the other night and broke a rule of mine. It was warm, so I decided to wear shorts and a hawaii t-shirt. These shorts and shirt are fine to go grab a burger with my kids, and I figured the client was on vacation, so why not be comfortable ?

    As is always the case, I am taking photo's of a probable 2 million dollar house, which in Arkansas is a REALLY nice house, and the neighbor across the street comes over and wants a bid. Talk about making a poor 1st impression. No matter that I did an awesome 35 fixture job across the street, one look at me and his price expectation goes way down. I gave him a bid today, He had some lights, needs about 16, and needs a trans upgrade and a rewire ( but hey He's got pars ! you guys love pars ! ) and I am hoping to close the deal next week. we'll see.

    Anyone besides me been caught out of uniform? can you recover the professional image you wish to protray?
  2. Mark B

    Mark B LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Well I have to be the worse. I don't have a "uniform" so to speak. I just wear shorts & tshirt. I think your work get you through just fine. Not all customers are into the "uniform".
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Why not just tell him when you met him that "sorry, I was on my way into town to to blah blah blah and decided to swing by to get some pictures." I am sure he would understand. I doubt him seeing you in casual clothing and in your Lexus would deter him from wanting to do business with you. Especially when you show up in uniform to present the bid looking ready to work! 1st impressions are always important but as long as you are not making a bad first impression you should be OK.
  4. niteliters

    niteliters LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    David, Ithink you are fine for the type of situation. I go back and forth on this. The company I work for has uniforms but how many artists do you know that wear uniforms...or shower daily for that matter :). Uniforms definitely show a level of professionalism but this is an art form. A lot of the time I will show up dressed nice but comfortable and not looking like a billboard or the bug guy, lawn guy, pool guy, etc.
  5. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    You make a great point David. I never go out without my uniform on. I am an artist, a geek, and a technician. Everything a client sees of you does matter.

    in general, how many potential clients don't contact you over a first impression? We generally talk about the ones we know of, but what about the ones we don't meet? Or the ones who see you and tell their friends? Just some food for thought.

    Anyone who has met me knows I am always promoting, networking, or researching something. Call me crazy, but I worry about first impressions. Since I changed my truck signage to cover more of my truck and include my tagline, people honk, yell and hang out the window screaming 'Battling the forces of darkness everywhere'. It was very unsettling for my employee and i had to tell him to be careful not to pick his nose while driving. :)

    My point i guess is, rather than not making a bad impression, why not make such a great impression that everyone keeps talking about you long after the moment has passed?
  6. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I think I do tend to make a great first impression, but only when I am ready. The uniforms, truck, bid form, bid form folder, the samples, the demo, my business cards, and also I always feel as if I am more passionate about lighting than anyone around here.

    But I really don't want to always be salesman "on". When I am doing night time photography, I want to be relaxed and comfortable, because my concern is getting great shots. when installing, I want my focus to be on installing every thing perfect, so I tend to get dirty and not worry too much how I look.

    This unfortunately gets me into trouble as well, as I tend to meet the neighbors when installing. I am always in uniform while installing, but I usually have dirt on me. For some people that is a good thing, as I am onsite on every landscape light install. for others, looking for a squeaky clean architect who would not think of getting dirty, not so much.

    I need to get a half dozen clean, comfortable breathable night time shirts with logo's for photography only.
  7. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    Me too. I can be dirty from an install, but I think the clients appreciate the fact you are in the trenches, so to speak. It can be tough balance, the more my business grows, the more I am in a sales mode, and less on installs. Hiring someone for the office was the best thing I could have done. I am free to be involved in the field, while still maintaining my thumb on the office stuff, scheduling, etc.

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