In the lighting business, a design demonstration is a double-edged sword. It can be a fantastic tool to secure a project, but it can also be a waste of time and effort if nothing comes of it. So, how do you know when you should do a demo? We’ve broken down some pros and cons that could help!
There's nothing else like it
It’s hard to beat that moment when you flip the switch to show your client their beautifully illuminated home. Pictures or explanations just can’t compare. Seeing the design come to life can be an emotional experience, and it helps homeowners get excited about the beauty and security that lighting can provide. There’s no doubt a demo is a very helpful sales tool.
What they see is what they get
A demo helps the client get a concrete understanding of exactly what their lighting system will look like – from the fixture placement to the color temperature. This can prevent post-installation changes if expectations were not communicated well.
It gives the client control
Lighting demos make the design process much more fluid. Often, the homeowner will make requests to add or move lights, eventually creating their ideal layout. This is especially helpful for less experienced designers (though, it's great for the experienced as well!) because the customer will have more control and can make requests easily.
Honestly, spending an evening showing a customer lights without a guaranteed sale isn’t the most appealing proposition. We all have things we would rather be doing after the workday is done.
You could be giving away your expertise for free
A demo is a great way to showcase your design skills, but if you have a lighting-savvy client, they could potentially just take your ideas and install the fixtures themselves. Plus, if you leave flags in the ground to mark lighting locations, you could be giving tips to your competition!
An incomplete demo looks worse than no demo at all
If your lighting demo kit doesn’t have enough lights to show a complete design, then your final product won’t be very impressive, and you may actually hurt your chances of getting the job.
If you decide that a demo is worth it, here are some of our suggestions to ensure yours is as successful as possible:
- Find out your client’s budget and make sure your design fits it beforehand.
- Ask what they hope to accomplish with their lighting project. Increased curb appeal? Improved safety and visibility for dark walkways and steps? Added security on the property? Make sure your demo addresses all these needs.
- Determine their desired timeline. If they’re not ready to commit yet, a demo may not be your best move.
- Be direct about the business relationship. It’s important to know your client’s intentions before you invest your time. Politely ask, “If I’m able to accomplish what you are looking for within your budget after performing the demo, will we earn your business?”