Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by bmwsmity, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Messages: 276

    I've read that many of you do live demos regularly. I currently do not do demos, and have never really had a problem because of this. However, it may be something I would do in the future.

    My question is, if you are looking at say a 60-fixture job, do you set up all of those fixtures for the demo?

    If not, how many DO you set up, and where? Just the house, the landscaping, or both?

    Currently I utilize a very professional website with some decent pictures to show prospects what kind of work I do, and so far, this has not failed me.

    I'm just wondering if demos are all that effective or better than what I'm currently doing?

    I've also heard the argument that some people who do demos simply get their design ideas ripped off by the customer and the customer goes and gets some junk at the big-box store and does it themselves.

    Those of you who are experienced, please enlighten me to your viewpoints! :drinkup:
  2. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Demo's without a doubt are the best way to close sales and to up sell jobs. Now you give the homeowner something tangible to look at vs. a bunch of dots on a plan or them thinking Disneyland or a casino when you are telling them why they need 4 or 5 lights around one tree or in one area. Now they can visually see what you or I as professionals can easily imagine. They however cannot.

    Doing a demo does not have to be an all night chore. That is the biggest argument with guys not wanting to do them is that it takes up so much time and they are a pain to set up and take down. (If you don't want to work at night then you shouldn't be doing lighting.) If you are using a well put together demo kit and you understand how much time it takes to set one up then you can pretty much get it down to a science and not spend your entire evening on-site.

    If I have a large 100 light potential job does that mean I am going to set up 100 demo lights. Probably not. What I like to do in a situation like that is pick out an area front or back, maybe just the home, maybe an awesome gazebo or water feature area and really buff it out. The idea is to blow them away with a demo so that they trust you to do the rest of the property. You explain and show them what you are now capable of doing. An average demo for me would be around 2-3 demo kits which works out to be about 48 lights give or take. 48 lights takes me about 20 minutes to set up when using our Unique kits which are all color coordinated and pre wired. It takes a bit more time to adjust and to dial in the lighting concept.

    Now when will I set up more kits? When I have a situation where the homeowner is already willing to buy say 80 lights but I know they need 120 lights thats when I whip out the big demo's. A job like that when I know I got the homeowner int he bag and I am trying to up sell it is worth the extra time and effort to make the extra thousands of dollars. I have no problem spending an entire afternoon at that point to show the homeowner what it would look like with he extra 40 or 50 lights. It also gives em an opportunity on a large project like that to see for myself exactly what it is I want to do. I might think 2 lights is enough on this tree but after the demo I realize it only needs one and I can use this other light over here now or that the tree actually needs 3 lights. So demo's are a great way for us as designers to really perfect our craft as well as make more money.

    So downsides to the demo. Initial investment in the demo kits. You can make your own but it costs about the same usually to buy one completely done for you. Time, well it takes time to make money and usually the more you put into a job the more you get out of it. Stolen designs, this can happen. I have had situations as most who have done demos have that you do this unbelievable demo, the homeowners tell you they love it and will think about it only to drive by the home 3 weeks later and see they have installed Malibu in every spot you put a light at the demo. It can happen. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

    I think you owe it to yourself to see how demo's can help you make more money and increase your closing ratio. I don't think you need to demo every job, if you got them in the bag why waste the time. But in most cases a demo can and will almost always make you more money then if you don't do one. I know so many of you don't need them because of your Superior selling skills and your word of mouth references, but even you guys if you set up demo's would find that the homeowners who you are already putting 100+ lights on the property for would now understand and see why they need 120, 140, or even 200 lights because now they visually can understand what it is you are trying to do.

    There's my $.02. OK maybe $2.00.

    Let me know if you guys want details of our demo kits which are for sure the best out there.

    Joey D.
  3. Mike M

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

    Nice post, Joey. While it can be argued that the experienced, seasoned, proven, successful lighting biz with lots of referrals can save time eliminating demo's altogether, it's guys like me that play with demo's to build techniques and confidence (look at all the mock set-ups J Moyer has her students do in her book), as well as "turning on" prospects to getting lights and upselling.

    I use tricks I learned here plus my own to make the demo's quick and efficient. I have color-coded fixture wires for bulb wattage, etc.

    I enjoy doing the demo's, and I only light around 3-6 fixtures at a time for mini scenes.
  4. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Thanks Mike! All around, experienced or not demo's will and can make you more money if you choose to use them.

    Wlak throughs are nice but nothing is better then showing homeowner on their own home what the lights will do!

    Joey D.
  5. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I have labels on my demo fixtures noting wattage and beam spread where applicable.

    I've never seen the Unique demo kit, but I got a new one this past year from Vista that I thnk would be hard to top. It comes with a 250 W portable transformer on sort of a tripod, and lots of cable and three way splitters. It comes with six MR-16 bullet uplights, with room for more in the sturdiest hard plastic rolling case you've ever seen.

    And what it uses for connectors are a two wire flat molded trailer type connector, readily available at NAPA auto parts stores so you can add your favorite fixtures from whatever brand you prefer. Add a little grease and you could keep the setup on the job for a couple of nights (I have).

    This kit was well conceived and executed. The fact that I have to add my own fixtures is a plus for me. Nothing else in the kit that I don't put there myself.

    I carry the rest in two Gatemouth tool bags from Bucket Boss, and a Stanley rolling toolbox I got at a garage sale. Most of them stay in the truck and I just take out the ones I want to demo, but I like to be prepared...
  6. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    The Demo Kit (SUPERDEMOKIT_HC) includes:

    1 840SS with quick connects. All taps are cordinated by color to go with the according 12/2 wire run.

    3 sets of 4 F125 Well Lights w/ Qucick connects

    4 Brass Lights (Solaris, Starburst, Stellar, Pulsar or Probe)

    1 Additional hub pigtail for additional lights you want to add to your kit.

    1 Bundle of marking flags for marking you fixture locations when picking the kit up

    3 Home Runs of 12/2. 30ft, 50ft, 75ft all wired with quick connects and color cordinated to match up tot he right tap.

    Lamp Box w/ 2 extra MR 16 and a Par 36

    1 50ft commercial extension cord

    Velcro straps for winding up and storing cable runs. Also velcro on each bundle of well lights for the same reason

    1 roll of Duct tape for taping taping down wire to concrete areas to prevent a tripping hazard.

    You get all of this in a STANLEY hard rolling tool case. VERY NICE CASE!

    You can customize your kit to add more specialty fixtures, you can make the kit all specialty lights. This kit I described above runs about $1200 to the contractor.

    I will try and post some pics of one here soon.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Joey, in all seriousnes I don't know what to say here. Do I jump right in and reply with how I feel about the points you make in your post? Or do I just let it go and relax? Is anyone interested in a opposite point of veiw? You guys tell me.
  8. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Go ahead James. Here is your other post to save you time...... "I did a lighting demo once, about 9 years ago. After that I swore I would never ever do another one again. I think you will find that there are people who are firm believers in this technique and there are people like myself who really don't like it at all.

    I find it cumbersome, time consuming, and not very effective at increasing my sales. I also think it isn't the best use of my client's precious time or attention. Since over 90% of my business comes from referrals, I don't really need to spend that type of time required to do a demo. The prospects have already seen the effect of my work. If they haven't, I would much rather take them to a property for a walk through. Walk throughs are very efficient and very effective at showcasing your work.

    I'm sure that there are a wide variety of opinions on this and an equally wide variety of techniques that work in different markets for different contractors. You simply have to try and find the best mix for you and your clients."

    I think everyone understands that you have the ability to out sell your competition without the use of a demo kit. We know most of your jobs are by referral so their is no need. We understand that you like walking your clients through another job. We also know that you did ONE demo 9 years ago and it was a nightmare so you hate them.

    Well I can tell you that I have probably done over 300 demo's and still learn on each one. I can also tell you that a demo will always make you more money. I can also tell you that sometimes it isn't too convenient to ask a customer to meet you at another project to walk through. I also understand that demo's don't ALWAYS work, but for those upstarts and for those who are not superior in their communication or selling skills a demo does the talking for them. It allows the homeowner to try the lights on for size. Now for every positive there is a negative you can find but you cant argue a demo being a GREAT way to make more money and to increase your close ratio. You can argue that they can be a nightmare but you cant argue that done properly they sell jobs and make money.


    Joey D.
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Have a great day.
  10. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933


    Believe me James I have heard it all. I am sure your competition will appreciate you not doing a demo. I am still a bit confused on how a demo at their own home can be viewed as an inconvinience yet asking them to drive to another property at night and walk it isnt.

    I am not saying that is a poor way of demonstrating your ability but I think that would be far more of an inconvinience then them walking into their front or back yard.

    And you are correct with the point that a demo is not the only way of making a sale. We all know and understand that. But regardless of how hard you try to argue it the demo is one of the most powerful sales tools a lighting guy can have. I cant begin to tell you how many succesfull demo stories I have. I can count the bad ones on one hand!

    At any rate, regardless of how PRO DEMO I am I do respect your opinion and rest assured plenty of others agree with you. I however will disagree and will say that I think everyone can and should benefit from demo's.

    Have a great weekend!!

    Joey D>

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