One of the best ways to sell a landscape lighting job is through a night time demonstration.
There are two different theories regarding the demo.
Some designers prefer to lay out several areas with fixtures to create a “virtual” installation. This allows the end user to receive a bird’s eye view of the completed job. This virtual system may often be left at a customer’s home for several nights and then taken away. The theory is that the end user will miss the lighting system and will want it installed permanently.
The other theory is what I refer to as the “single vignette” theory. This is comprised of a visit with the customer in the late afternoon to walk the property. The lighting designer and the customer can discuss the primary applications that are desired. As the sun goes down, the areas that were on topic are illuminated with specific lamps to show different beam angles and effects. This method provides an example of the lighting system performance in key areas.
There are pros and cons to each theory or method.
With the “virtual” installation, the customer can achieve a great sense of an installed system and can discuss any changes that might need to be made. The concern of theft of the designer’s equipment must also be thought of before leaving it with a customer for several evenings.
With the “single vignette” method, the customer is able to visualize those certain key locations to be illuminated. In some cases this may not be enough to allow the customer to understand the entire design.
I have had success with both methods.
Customers who have a sense for design and can visualize the intent of the lighting system will naturally lean towards a designer’s advice and may only need the “single vignette” demonstration. Clients who are more visual will typically want the “virtual” installation method.
In both methods, it is important to protect your intellectual property. Charging for a demonstration is not out of line. The demonstration charge can be deducted from the price of the lighting system that is purchased.
Remember, the customer that has high expectations expects to pay to achieve their goal.