22 May Gambino Landscape Lighting works for the best clients!
By Mike Gambino
Something we learned early was that working with good clients is as important as almost anything else we do. So while the prospects think they’re deciding whether to pick us, we’re also deciding whether we want to work with them at the same time.
Our company’s goal is to make every single client a raving fan. In fact, that’s one of our core values. If we bring on a client who has a bad attitude, is looking for just anyone to do their landscape lighting, or doesn’t value what we do and how we do it, there’s very little chance he is ever going to be a raving fan.
We built a sales process that allows us to weed out clients who will never be raving fans for our company, never allow us to do what we do best, and never provide our team with a fulfilling professional experience.
Here are the nine requirements for us when we start talking to prospects about working together.
- The client views us as a valued partner, not just a run of the mill home improvement contractor.
- The property owner/s have committed to being involved in the engagement from start to finish.
- They are committed to to producing a remarkable project, at least in some way.
- They are all in on landscape lighting and totally sold on its value to them and their living environment.
- The property ownerviews landscape lighting as an investment in their property, not a cost.
- The owner understands the time frame required to plan, implement, and optimize a a landscape lighting system and is willing to be patient while it rolls out.
- The property owner understands he is going to need to participate in the process.
- Client push-back on system components and/or proposed investment results in either a reduction in projected results or a decision by us not to pursue the business.
- The client treats us respectfully, professionally, and like people who are actively trying to help him achieve his landscape lighting goals.
While we don’t share these with prospects, we do use these to evaluate opportunities. We use these nine requirements to evaluate all our prospects throughout the sales process.
It usually takes more than one meeting or call to really get a feel for how each prospective client will do against each of these elements, so we keep track of each prospect during the sales process. We’ve seen opportunities that look iffy in the beginning turn into beautiful symbiotic relationships by the time the paperwork is signed.
On the other hand, we’ve seen what look like a perfect alignment turn sour right before the client is picking his start date. Believe it or not, this approach often surfaces issues during the sales process that allow us to talk it out with our prospective client. You might be surprised how people react when we tell them, “We don’t want to continue the process because we don’t think you’re going to make a good client for us.”
Contrary to what you may believe, quality people in the landscape lighting business don’t exist to extort money from you. It may sound counter intuitive, but these people will actually save you money. The budget you have set for yourself shouldn’t be a secret. Say something along the lines of “I have $25,000 to do my landscape lighting, what can you do for me!” That’s a much better use of your time and their time than leaving them to guess how much money you have to spend. A quality service provider will make the most of your budget because he wants it to show its best.
The idea of getting three bids is faulty too. Find someone you trust and who can work with your budget. If he or she has a good reputation you’re done. Except for writing checks of course. Be sure that anybody you hire is licensed in the state where you live.
Most of the time, the client apologizes and want to make the adjustments required to continue the process because he honestly wants us to help him improve his landscape lighting. In the end, it works beautifully for us and has dramatically reduced the number of negative engagements, clients we’ve had to fire, and team members who’ve left us because of difficult clients.
A win for us and our clients
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 30 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.Gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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