Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Mike M

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

    Okay, I haven't got a huge marketing budget at the moment, but I've got some time.

    Just wondering where everyone gets referrals from, both primarily and some subsequent. I figure I'll drop off my cards and some brochures to landscape architects, landscape design/build & maintenance companies, maybe building contractors, architects, architectural review board administrators (we have lots of communities), etc.


  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Ok Mike, take about $25 of your marketing budget and buy a book: Purple Cow by Seth Godin. He will teach you how to make your business remarkable. How to use your marketing budget in untraditional ways so that your clients actively remark (advertise) about you.

    This book changed my business and my life. Its a short book, but its effect on me and my business is a long story.

    As for referrals, if you embrace the concept of making your business remarkable, the referrals will be constantly generated by your happy clients.

    Have a great day.
  3. bmwsmity

    bmwsmity LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Ohio
    Messages: 276

    great comment james....i haven't got around to reading purple cow, but i've read unleashing the ideavirus, and permission marketing, both by godin. both of those books were great as well.

    to answer the original poster:

    i work with some landscapers as referral sources. about 4 right now to be exact. i'm extremely selective when it comes to this, because there is such an incredible temptation for a landscaper to enter my market. i always make sure to carefully interview them to ensure a lack of interest in lighting and a full commitment to not encroach on my market in the future. of course, in return i do the same for them.

    this has done well for me so far. this is the first real year for me, and roughly 25% of my revenue has come from landscaper referrals.

    another possible referral source could be a pool company...this was pointed out to me by a customer that had me light up their whole back yard after getting their new inground pool installed.

    good luck!
  4. Mike M

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

    Thanks guys. The Purple Cow is now in paperback and a couple of dollars cheaper, which is important to me at the moment, as I cannot afford beer.

    My last purchases were lettering and door magnets for my truck.

    I cold-called a couple of businesses today, and a landscape architect seemed very interested in the copper/brass/bronze stuff.

    I will generate a letter using my riducluosly expensive letterhead, include some literature, and send it off to landscape architects, landscapers, architectural review boards, etc.

    I'm just getting out there and meeting as many people as I can face to face, dropping off cards, etc.

    The pool company idea makes sense; I have a customer who wanted lights because he got a pool with tropical plants around it.
  5. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    You asked a very good question about marketing. How do you maximize your money? I found it difficult to convey the overall concept of great lighting to people who have never experienced great lighting. A good picture says it all. I would suggest to you that along with the other great ideas being put here that you practice photographing your work and/or enlist a friend or professional photographer. I now take most of my own shots and it has made a great difference in my marketing. You will need great photos at some time, might as well start building your portfolio now.
  6. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 960

    Good advice. Do like Pete Does. How can you resist this.......

    pete's pond.jpg
  7. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    That's a nice shot Pete. Do you have a portfolio of your work online somewhere?
  8. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    James, I will have to look into that book. For the small guy however, to make your business remarkable, you first have to have some places to work on to make it that way. This means hitting the streets. I talked to a guy 3 weeks ago who had a lighting business in the Salt Lake area a few years back. He said most of his jobs came from simply knocking on doors in appropriate communities. He would introduce himself and tell them about his business and ask them if they would be interested in lighting for their house and property. He said he had a great response. I guess most people just don't think about it.
  9. Mike M

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

    Good point.

    I need to get the ball rolling by knocking on doors and installing lights.

    Since communities are most likely gated and/or posted against soliciting, I've been introducing myself to the sales people, ARB staff, landscapers, and landscape architects. I'm honest and I share my ideas and let them know I'm available. I joined the chamber and I spread my name there, too.

    Mind you, I haven't been to a ton of these places yet, but the ones I visited in the last couple of weeks were very friendly and receptive.
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    It sounds to me like you are on the right track Mike. Making friends with LAs and LDs has been good for me. Referring them to jobs, when a prospective client wants more than lighting or irrigation upgrades, has helped me too. Same with contractors in other specialties I don't cover, like masonry.

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