No, We will Not Install Landscape Lighting Products You bought Online!

No, We will Not Install Landscape Lighting Products You bought Online!

By Mike Gambino

We’ve all been there. Without fail, occasionally a prospect during a design consultation asks us if we’ll install product they can purchase from Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, or somewhere else online. The motive is always the same: the client doesn’t want to pay full retail for the product, but how fortunate we are that we still get to install it. What’s the harm? Seems like a victimless crime, right? After all an outdoor Garden light is an outdoor garden light and they are all pretty much the same. An LED is an LED, A transformer is a transformer Right? Wrong!

Each time you agree to let your client provide landscape lighting products it sends the wrong message to the client. You say “yes,” and it immediately cheapens your credentials as a true professional. You’re afraid to say “no” because you might lose the sale. If the sale is lost over a few points of product margin, that client (or better labeled “prospect”) just did you a favor because you probably weren’t going to make any money on the job anyway.

Let’s say you decide to say “yes” to the client in the spirit of closing the deal. Now you’re installing a product you didn’t sell them, and if it breaks, your client will understand you don’t warranty it, right? Wrong. We’ve had countless scenarios where clients provided their own products and then expected us to warranty issues with them later. It’s incredibly hard to track who provided/bought what in a service scenario, especially with all of the generic landscape lighting coming out of China and sold to multiple resellers in the USA which are virtually identical products being offered by so many. So our behavior, again, is to error on the side of not wanting to make the customer angry. So far, by saying “yes” you’ve made less margin on the original sale, and now you’re bleeding cash servicing a product that you never sold the client. And when the product doesn’t perform and fails it’s a poor reflection upon you as a professional high end service provider.

Why, then, is this so commonplace? Because we’re pleasers, that’s why. We like to make our clients happy and are afraid to say no. Most of our clients don’t hear “no” very often either. Want to know a secret? The right customer—your customer (not someone who tries to squeeze you for all you’re worth)—will respect a good “no.” There’s an art to the “no.”

When saying no to a typical high-end client or prospect, it’s best to explain the situation to them but remain firm in your position. A good firm “no” doesn’t actually include the word “no.” Here’s an example:

Client: “I see what looks to be the same fixture that you proposed for me on Amazon for less. Can’t I just buy it there and have you install it for me?”

Landscape Lighting Pro: “At the end of the day, we want to give you one person to yell at if something goes wrong with your landscape lighting system. Our Proposal includes custom design, labor, parts, and product support time, which isn’t provided for by Amazon’s price. The solution we specified is only supported and guaranteed through products that we use on a regular basis, have replacement parts in stock for and that have been thoroughly vetted by us and that you have purchased through us. If you buy it online, you’re rolling the dice, and we want to make sure we’re heading off any service issues down the road.

Client: “That makes sense. I didn’t realize all of that. Let’s do it!”

Landscape Lighting Pro: “Let’s move forward. Thanks for the business!”

Let’s stop cheapening our industry by agreeing to install gear that’s not purchased through authorized channels. Share this article with your competitors and reinforce your commitment to the professional landscape lighting industry. Our clients will get the message if everyone in the market is on the same page.

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 28 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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