Selling Christmas light installations to clients is a relatively easy service to promote because almost everyone knows what Christmas lights are, how they work, and how to use them. Also, most people hate putting them up because it involves walking precariously up ladders and rooftops in the winter, which they might do just once a year. Their inexperience makes the task much more risky. Furthermore, they’ll have likely encountered years of frustration from buying poor quality lights from big box stores that don’t last more than one season. You’re going to hear that tale time and time again. Now it’s your turn to impress them with quality, commercial grade Christmas lights like our 5mm Mini-Lights with coaxial plugs. You’ll be able to install lights faster, better, and safer.
Using Existing Clients
If you have existing clients from another service, you are miles ahead. Create a dedicated webpage and a slick newsletter or brochure announcing the new service. Fill it with captivating photos of other installations. Make sure they are really great photos as you are presenting, in essence, art. Also show them what a professional grade product looks like compared to a big box store product. For example, show them a warm-white commercial-grade G30 globe light (a direct replacement for incandescent Christmas lights with about the same brightness). Send this information out to your clients via e-mail and/or direct mail in October and offer early season promotions to encourage people to schedule early. The earlier you can schedule clients, the more you can fit in later. And remind them that they don’t necessarily need to have their lights turned on right away. Some companies install in September, then return to plug them in, which takes just a few minutes, in November.
Finding New Clients
Be creative and try a variety of things while narrowing down the type of marketing efforts to what works best for your area. Do help refine your strategy, make sure to ask people how they found about your service.
At the beginning it’s recommended to visit each site in person, even the simple ones. As you gain experience and learn how to ask the right questions, it will be possible to quote most jobs using just emailed photos and saving a trip to the potential site. Of course arrive on time, dress smart, and bring sample photos so you can show how similarly desired areas can be decorated. In addition, bring a Christmas light pro installer sample kit and show them exactly how your products differ from stores or competitors’ lights.
Some clients will know exactly what they want and tell you the colour, sides of the house, and trees they want lit. Others might just give you a budget say “make magic!”. You’ll experience the whole range, so make sure to listen carefully, offer advice when asked, and make suggestions while being careful not to trample on their tastes (they might love every colour available puked onto their house!)
Take lots (and lots!) of photos on the site so that you can easily communicate to installers exactly what needs to be decorated and how. Sometimes videos are even helpful to get a lay of the land. Ensure the foreground is included in the photos so that location reference and sense of scale can be determined. If rooflines are being decorated, use a measuring wheel to accurately calculate the number of feet required (and don’t forget to add recessed areas of the roofline as well).
Once a site has been assessed for the quantity of lights determined, add labour and if requested, add removal too. Clients typically want to see the whole cost for the project (not just install). Ensure quotes are delivered in a timely manner and include photos of similarly decorated areas so they have some kind of reference of what they’ll be getting. Make sure the photos are both great and accurate to avoid disappointment. You may also find it helpful to include annotated photos of the actual property highlighting exactly what will be decorated. This will limit miscommunication if it’s a more complicated job.
Give the client a timeline of when the work can be done if they confirm by a certain date. It’s important to entice clients to decide as soon as possible, otherwise you’ll end up with everyone wanting all the work to be done at the same time.
If you haven’t heard back from clients, follow up. Don’t do it in an annoying kind of way, but send a polite email asking if they’ve made a decision. If you lose the job, it doesn’t hurt to ask why. They might tell you and you can hone in your sales skills or pricing for next time.
The most important thing about selling and consultations it to have fun with it! Clients can tell if you love what you’re selling. Make the feeling contagious. If you’re stressed out or tired, clients will pick up on that. Remember: you are selling Christmas lights -- a symbol of celebration and happiness, so demonstrate your holiday spirit!
Some Clever Marketing Ideas to Consider
Lawn signs: Keep them tasteful and place them in front of your projects are a great idea, but ensure they don’t distract (ie - place it to one side and keep them small), otherwise your clients might pull them down.
Google Adwords: This works wonders, but to get the best bang for your buck, hire a consultant to manage it. They’ll often pay for themselves.
Decorate a Tree: Decorate a prominent tree or public space in your city: You’ll get great exposure for exchanging your service for media coverage. Place a sign in front, take photos, and milk the social media machine. You can do it for free or offer a heavily discounted rated.
Referral Program: Nothing sells like word of mouth. When you have your first delighted clients, note the really excited ones. These are your “ambassadors”. Ask them for testimonials to publish and create a referral program that gives them AND their referrals a discount on their next service. Your ambassadors are worth gold, so keep them happy and connected to your company.
Vehicle wrap: Wrap your vehicle or trailer with a tasteful and eye-catching design, then park it somewhere that everyone can see it when it’s not being used. Take it a step further and wrap some lights on the ladder rack (although you’ll want to confirm with your local regulations that this is legal).
Door Knockers: After you’ve installed lights on a home, place door knockers on their neighbors’ doors. They’ll usually want to know who did the amazing job and can’t resist the urge to “keep up with the Jones”.