When competition is fierce and margins are slim, a good strategy to build your bottom line is to offer high margin services that complement your current service offerings.
One of the biggest opportunities for both construction and maintenance contractors is landscape lighting. Landscape lighting is easy to install and has a higher profit margin than almost any other landscape project.
In this article, we'll focus on 5 key tips to get you started.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Free Training and Local Support
It’s easy to fear the unknown. In order to sell lighting, you have to first understand lighting. But don't worry. It's not rocket science and it’s extremely easy to get customers excited about it.
If you're new to lighting or want to stay current with the latest trends, there's lots of training and local support available. You can always attend a Horizon sponsored training event. But if you don't want to wait until dozens of your local competitors are getting the same training as you, contact your local Horizon representative and ask for assistance. We're ready to show you how to design, install, and sell lighting systems. Our team receives constant training on lighting and can even help you coordinate demos with local reps from the top landscape lighting manufacturers.
Tip #2: Be the Expert
One of biggest mistakes you can make is to hand a homeowner a lighting catalog full of 100s of different fixtures and expect them to know enough to place an order. The customer should be involved, but don't make them do the heavy lifting! Don't just give them a catalog and say, "Here you go, Mrs. Jones. Tell me what fixtures you like and where you would like them."
This isn’t a successful way to sell landscape lighting and typically leads to a less than stellar end result.
Be the expert and guide the customer through the process. If they have a special request, bring the information to them. Ask questions until you understand the customer's wants, needs, and budget. Then show them the fixtures you recommend and where they should be installed ... which leads us to Tip #3, the most important tip.
Tip #3: Demos Sell Outdoor Lighting
It’s much easier to get a customer excited about a lighting system when you show them vs tell them. Humans are very visual creatures. Showing customers what you plan to do will help them focus on the effect lighting produces and not on the individual fixtures. Plus, you'll demonstrate your expertise and gain their trust in the process.
You don’t have to demonstrate the entire job. Focus on a key area. Depending on the size and orientation of the site, the best area to demo could be the front yard, the back yard, the front of the house, or a natural gathering area for evening entertainment.
Plain and simple, demos sell product and they are quick and easy to perform. Jeff Vachter, a Horizon BDR based in Oregon, recently reported that "I'm currently setting up a demo once a week for my customers and we're getting a 90% sale rate."
Tip #4: Install Wire during Irrigation Installation
Installing irrigation in a new backyard? Go ahead and install wire while the trench is open, even if you haven’t sold the lights yet. The small cost you incur from the wire is minimal to the labor cost of digging up the dirt again. Even if the customer doesn't move forward with the lighting until a later date, you'll effectively be selling the lighting as a package and significantly improving your bottom line.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget about Previous Customers
Many contractors get tunnel vision and spend too much of their energy constantly battling and fighting for new clients.
While you should always be looking for new business, don't forget to look back too. If you're like most contractors, you have years of satisfied customers who have never had lighting or have an older system. With the many advancements in LED, the time is perfect to update or upgrade their existing lighting system.