consultation with no demo

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    I'm getting so used to demo's, I'm not sure how to not do a demo. A prospect called recently, she said just do a consultation and she already had lighting in another state. So when she comes back to her vacation home in May, I need to do a consultation with no demo.

    I already do consultations before the demo's, so I understand much of the process, except: how much do you discuss specific fixture placement vs. lighting objectives (POV's, purpose for illumination, general concepts, etc.).

    For the pre-demo meeting, I hardly mention any specifics such as fixture selection and positioning, etc., just mostly the lighting objectives and a feel for budget and number of zones.

    I would imagine a brief narrative in writing to explain the design, when I submit the proposal. How detailed should I be with that?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    When I used to do demos, I would show up with enough time set the fixtures, then sketch it out on paper while I waited for darkness. After they came out to see the presentation, I pretty much had all the paper work done (with the exception of any changes/additions to the plan) and ready for the final numbers. If you don't do the demo, you have to become more animated in your presentation: go to the tree and throw your hands up as you explain the uplighting effect. Go to the walls of the home and spread your arms wide as you describe the wall washing effects.
    I have felt your pain. I stopped doing the demos a long time ago and it was a big transition. Lately, however, I'm leaning more towards going back to them only because I'm losing too many small jobs to handy men and lawn mowers. If you show them the difference you can make, they will certainly buy if you are better than what they are seeing.
    It's the small jobs that will keep you going in a slow market (ie, FLORIDA!) along with service contracts.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I had my demo kit out for the first time in a LONG time the other day. Yep Chris nailed it. Was a very small job on a home built in 1922 for just the courtyard area. All of 13 fixtures and of course with the demo it sold for a price both the client and I are happy with.

    9 times out of 10 now no demo needed altho if I get a hessitation I offer a mock up or the above ground installation if they are serious.
  4. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    Sounds like I need to do a few consultation-only jobs to get confident.

    Do you detail the exact fixtures and locations in person, or wait until you draw up plans and proposal?
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Keep the demo as a tool mike. Its not always needed especially when your client is coming from a refferal or has seen your work in person. Times when demos are great is when a client doubts your design(this should not happen) or when you would like to try a new element and your wondering if it is an excellent choice.

    Its rare I need to spec fixtures and exact locations for a client. We do discuss the project and what will be lit. On smaller jobs its sometimes hard not to mention the number of lights.

    When working with landscape archs you usually need to spec the fixture and location on the plans if they have not already done so.
  6. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    It's amazing how different everyone's sales strategy is, yet they all seem to work for different people. We have not done a demo in about 7 years and very very seldom even go outside the home together with the homeowner. This next week we are going against our most worthy competitor with what seems to be a unbiased homeowner. Surprisingly my competitor is doing a demo for the sale and I will be pulling out all the stops with my tactics. Demos are a powerful sales tool and I am trying to decide if i want to show my hand before or after the demo, either way I will keep you guys up to date.
  7. seolatlanta

    seolatlanta LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Hey Mike

    Within a short amount of time you will exude confidence and knowledge of your product that will eliminate the need for a demo.

    Right now you are relying on the demo but eventually you will be able to close without it.

    Are you advertising over in Savannah yet? Give me a call if you want and I will tell you where you should be killing it with direct mail pieces. Skidaway Island is loaded with a lot of transplants who will be willing to pay for lighting.
  8. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I just did a demo for different reason than I usually do. I already sold the job with no demo and the job is about 130 lights. I was not going to get to the job for a few days and I wanted to get a feel for the client so I did a quick 20 light demo on the front of the house and left it until we get started. I saw her today and she was even more excited because she has seen a taste of what's coming next week.

    I am doing more consultations that turn into sales these days, and I charge a fair rate for it. I figure it this way: It has taken me quite a while to get to this point and I am as good at what I do as the lawyer or doctor that I am talking to is at what they do. So I charge accordingly and I don't credit it back to the sale. But it took a lot of demos and jobs to build my confidence to a level to be able to do this. They sure as heck don't hesitate in charging me for their services!
  9. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Amen to that Tommy. If I so much as wave HI to my doctor I get a bill.

    The consultation fee or consultation deposit has been working well for us. We are lighting a wedding in sept and she has requested we meet her on site next month (duh) to get some ideas. She had no problem issuing a deposit for this that will be credited to her project
  10. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I still think the demos are a great way to upsell your client on something they were not even considering.

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