One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when starting a new profit center or add-on business is not fully dedicating themselves to marketing, managing and selling it. It’s almost as if they expect to buy the equipment, tools or supplies, and then magically see revenue shoot skyward with no effort.
Holiday lighting is no exception. You’ll only get out of it what you put into it. It also helps to work with an experienced professional.
“Partner with someone who has done it before, otherwise it becomes a quick headache for you and your organization,” says Scott Heese, president/owner of Holidynamics. “Not only will you not be generating the profits that you should, you’re going to have an unhappy staff.”
Sales is sales. To really promote your holiday lighting service, place a logo for the new business on clothing, hand out catalogues of the products and promote a professional-looking website by sending out a hyperlink to customers.
But you also need a go-to person, who can come from within the company.
“Have someone on staff who’s dedicated to this service in-season, but also off-season to keep it going year-round,” Heese says.
“Not that they’re living, breathing and eating Christmas in the middle of summer, but they’re a person who the staff knows they can go to if they have any questions, whether they be related to sales or installation.”
Heese says that if someone has the right attitude and determination to succeed, they can easily be taught how to estimate lighting jobs as well, which is part of the sales process.
“If they’re measuring a yard for chemicals, they can easily measure for installing Christmas lights,” he says. “But again, it’s knowing your products and installation methods.”
Paul Sessel, president of Creative Displays, says the personnel question relates more to the size of your company.
“But one of their people should be able to do it because typically the Christmas season starts when their other seasons slow down,” Sessel says.
The sales process isn’t any different, either, from lawn or landscaping, says Mike Streb, director of sales for Christmas Lights, Etc.
Streb has spent his whole career in sales for a variety of different businesses, and the one thing he has learned is: sales is sales.
“It’s about how much knowledge you have and finding out who your competition is,” Streb says.
Training. Teaching is a crucial component to learning how to sell holiday lighting, and some vendors, such as Holidynamics, offer this tool to those landscape/lawn care professionals who purchase their products. That’s what helped Chris Beneduce of Impressions Holiday Lighting and Décor of Warwick in Rhode Island.
“Holidynamics trained us on sales, installation and marketing,” Beneduce says.
“They told us what to expect, and since holiday lighting is something they’ve done for awhile, they knew what worked and what didn’t.”
When Beneduce added holiday lighting to his business four years ago, he had already been going strong as a landscape lighting company.
So, he simply used the existing staff he had to sell his new service.
From his second to third year selling holiday lighting, Beneduce increased his sales 400 percent.
“It was a perfect add-on because there was only a month overlap on seasons and so it was easy for the existing salespeople to take it on,” he says.
The bottom line? Your salespeople can sell lights too.
Jason Stahl is a freelancer based in Cleveland.