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Lighting for Profits Podcast with Greg

Greg Shults - Your Go-To for Bright Ideas!

June 25, 202459 min read

Lighting for Profits - Episode 153

This week on the show we welcome Greg Shults, the Seasonal Product and Education Manager at Holiday Bright Lights. With 14 years of industry experience, he has witnessed the transition to LED lighting and is excited about the possibilities of RGB technology. Greg focuses on delivering training and tools to help contractors boost sales and improve performance. Based in Idalou, TX, he enjoys outdoor activities and is a big kid at heart.

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Episode Transcript

Ryan Lee discusses everything you need to know to start and grow a successful landscape lighting business

Welcome to Lighting for profits.

All Light, All Light, All Light.

Powered by Emery Allen.

Get rid of your excuses.

Your number one source for all things landscape lighting, that's where the magic can happen. You can really scale a business. We really had to show up for each other from lighting design, install, sales, and marketing. You're a scaredy cat salesman, Kurt. We discussed everything you need to know to start and grow a successful landscape lighting business. What do you think a hippo has to do with your business, Ryan? Usually it's some weird childhood thing, some bullying, kicked your butt. I think the key factor here is trust. Here is your host, Ryan Lee.

Ryan Lee: If you're looking to start or grow a lighting business

All, right, all out. All right. What's up, everybody? Ryan Lee, host of Lighting for profits. We're the number one landscape lighting show in Lubbock, Texas. Yes, that's right. Speaking of Texas, if anyone knows Matthew McConaughey and can get a video recording of him saying, all right, all out, all light, I'd really appreciate it. It's just one of my life goals I have now. So, guys, we got a great show lined up for you. If you're looking to start or grow a lighting business, whether it's landscape lighting or holiday lighting, you're definitely in the right place. Got a great show lined up for you today. We got mister Greg Schultz coming on with holiday bright lights. Greg's an awesome dude. doing. Has done a lot for the lighting industry, done a lot in the lighting industry, and I'm excited to have him on the show. We're going to talk about holiday bright lights. We got it. They've got an event coming up that, that I actually get to speak at, so I'm super excited about that. We're here to educate and motivate to help you dominate. So, as always, we're always play, you know, pleading, begging for reviews. So going to Apple. Go on to Spotify, hit those five stars, write something nice, do a good turn daily. You never know, maybe you might get a good, good five star review from one of your clients. Just putting that good energy out there. So, But, guys, I'm excited again. Greg Schultz, holiday bright lights coming on in just a few minutes. I, want to remind you we just started promoting our secrets summit event that's coming up August 9 and 10th. So we actually did, I'm sorry, not August. See, we did. We did move. It was gonna be in August. We moved it to September 9 and 10th. Okay, so September 9 and 10th, if you're like, I don't know, should I join secrets? Should I not? The answer is yes. Join now because you're going to want to be at that event. And it's a members only event, September 9 and 10th. So if you want information, just shoot me a message, and we can do that. We also have, I'm still the guy in my company doing these strategy sessions. We're going to be hiring this position out soon. But right now, if you want help in your business, if you want direction, you want clarity, get on one of these calls and we can help you out. all you got to do is go to landscape lighting, secrets. com, click start here. Get that free case study. Get on a call with me. In fact, I did one today, and one of the guys said, you know what? I feel guilty because I've gotten so much value from your podcast. I want to join your program because I've already made more money than it costs to join your program. And, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to help you for free. Make enough money to be able to invest back into yourself, not just with coaching, but advertising and events and all these different things. There's no reason you should say I can't afford something because we're trying to help you out for free to be able to do these things. So, I'm excited for secret summit such. It's such a cool event. It's going to be here in park city September 9 and 10th.

Make the switch today to Emery Allen lighting for efficiency and performance

All right, guys, want to thank Emery Allen. You know, this, performance matters. That's a true statement for a lot of things. But listen, we're talking about the kind of lighting you use. So don't sell yourself short with your customer by using budget level products. Emery Allen is at the top of their game when it comes to performance. Take it. Take their VA rating, for example. Lowest in the industry. What does that mean? It means efficiency. So you can put more bulbs, more lamps on a run, more on a transformer. It's going to save you money in the long run. Make the switch today to Emery Allen. All you need to do to get the homey hookup is email tom g@emeryallen. com. and, what he'll do is get your account set up, get you that discounted contractor pricing. Don't go to their website unless you like paying full price because we're hooking you up. Just email tom g@emoryallen. com. mentioned you heard about him here on lighting for profits. And we'll get you hooked up. So, guys, again, in just a couple of minutes. We got mister Greg schultz with holiday bright lights. And, it's going to be a great show. We're going to be talking about, some new things they got coming out. We're gonna be talking about, the roadshow that they got coming. So I'm excited to have Greg on. This is first time on, and, hopefully not the last.

Going to get my haircut gives me anxiety because, like, what if

And, before we have him on, I want to tell, you a quick story. you know, most people probably don't know this about me, but I'm, like, super picky when it comes to my hair. Okay? My hair, it doesn't have much. It's just hair, right? And I'm not like, high maintenance at all, but, like, going to get my haircut gives me so much anxiety because, like, what if they screw it up, right? And so it. This has been like this the last 20 years. Like, I hate trying to find a good, let's call him a stylist, a haircutter, right? And, in Texas, I was fortunate enough to, find a good haircutter. And, believe, it or not, it was my mother in law that found her. And, she, she asked some lady, she's like, hey, who cut cuts your daughter's hair? It's adorable. And she goes, oh, I'll give you the name. And it was this, this lady named Lara. Laura. And Laura is from Cambodia, and she owned this place called awesome cuts. Awesome cuts was awesome. And, so at first it was just to take our kids in there. My mother in law took our daughter in there and got her haircut. And then eventually I was like, I guess I'll go try it. I mean, I can't find a good haircutter over here. So I went over there, and Laura was awesome. She did so good. And, my life was great until I moved from Texas to Utah. And I was like, well, what am I going to do? Like, I don't make enough money to fly back to get my hair cut every three weeks to Texas. So I got to find someone new. So I found someone new. I went to this place called goat, goat haircuts, here in Utah. And they're there. They were at the time kind of up and coming, but now they're a larger brand. And, I went there, got, got on the circuit, and got my hair cut by a lady, and she did a great job. And I was like, sweet. I'm not stressed. I don't have anxiety about getting my hair cut anymore. And so been going to her for years. Well, this last year, she decided, you know what? I'm not going to be held back by corporate America. I'm going to start my own thing. I'm going to be an entrepreneur. And she starts her own business, okay? Gets her own place, at one of these places where you can rent space and all this stuff. And she's super excited. And I'm excited for her because you know what? Like, if you want to start your own business, you can, and it's exciting. but, here's the problem. Last week, I go to get my hair cut, and it's, you know, it's getting a little bit longer. I go to get my haircut, and, we have like, a standing, like, every three week appointment and same, you know, same time and all this stuff. And, she's running a little bit late. And so I text her, and then I realized she's not just running late, she ain't coming. And I got stood up. I got stood up on my haircut. You guys like that. That is just bad news, you know, and I plan my life around these haircuts. So, why am I telling you this? Well, I'm telling you this for a couple reasons. you know, consumers, and we're consumers as well. Like, sometimes we want to buy from, like, the big gym, giant corporations, and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we want to buy it from the small companies, right? And so what, what is your competitive advantage? Okay. Her competitive advantage. And the reason I went with her and left, like, the corporate, is because we had a relationship, right? And, you know, I wasn't going there to get my hair cut because goat had good branding and marketing. I went because she did a good job cutting my hair, right? And I wanted to support her and her family and, and it was a good relationship. The problem is then when I get stood up, I'm like, ah, man, this reminds me of small business. And this is the challenge. Like, when you have a small business, your competitive advantage could be, it could be the relationship that people like you better than dealing with a big corporation, right? But if you stand them up, if you shortcut, if you can't provide the same level of service as a big giant because they have better systems, they have text reminders, they have all these different things, then maybe you don't have a competitive advantage. Okay? And so when I started my lighting business, I was the small guy, okay? I didn't have much experience. I didn't have, as much design skills. I didn't know as much about lighting. I didn't have those systems. I didn't have all that, right? But what did I do? I implemented the US versus them approach, okay? And America is built on small business, okay? The world goes around because of guys like you and us, right? You and us. You and me, us. I don't know. But this whole us versus them approach, okay? And it's like this. I would tell people, listen. Cause they would be like, well, man, so how long you guys been around? And I'm like, ten days, you know, whatever. Whatever it was. And they would get nervous, right? Oh, only one year. And they would say things like, well, what happens if you go out of business? And I'm like, what? Like, do you ask that to everybody?

Small business owners need to decide what their competitive advantage is

Because, like, that's not a fair question. Like, what happens if, like, someone else goes out of business? Are you asking them? Because they've been around 20 years, and I was like, listen, we're on our toes. They're on their heels. We are going to do everything possible. Like, they're comfortable. We're not. They're not willing to provide over the top service. We are. I'm hungry. I need to provide for my family. We're going to roll out that red carpet, white glove experience. And your one project supports not just me, but my family. And, like, our suppliers, families like you guys are impacting. Like, this is a big decision for us, and we are going to bend over backwards and make sure you guys are totally happy, right? And that became my competitive advantage, was that we were small. And I would tell them, I'm the owner. The owner of the company is here at your door. I'm going to be here on the day of install. Like, that was my competitive advantage. Now looking back, I'm like, I don't know, was that the right thing? Was that the wrong thing? Because then what happened was when we grew, you know what I did? I changed my competitive advantage. Okay? Those small guys, this is what I would say. Those small guys, I remember being like that. They have good intentions, but there's just no way that they can't compete with us. There's no way they can match our level of expertise. They can't match our high level of service. You know, we have an office manager. Hello. We have an office manager that organizes everything and schedules things and follows up with you. We have software, we have systems. We have the ability to, provide a better level of service for you. Right? And I'm telling you this because you get to decide what your competitive advantage is, okay? And I highly recommend making your competitive advantage wherever it is you are right now. Like, let your competitive advantage meet you where you're at. So if you're the small guy, you better make sure that that's your competitive advantage. If you're the bigger guy, make that your competitive advantage. And when you're small, like, yeah, you better make sure they know you're the owner. Right. Because that is your competitive advantage. There's people that want to follow that small business owner, and they want to support you, right? And then there's people that got burned or stood up by their hair stylist, and then they're, like, reconsidering, maybe I should go with the bigger company, right? You gotta, you gotta, you gotta also be able to over deliver, okay? So if that is your competitive advantage, that it's. You're the small guy, then you got to figure out a way. Are you really going to be able to bend over backwards? You can't afford to stand people up. Okay. The other day, she could have texted and said, hey, something happened. I can't meet you. Right. And I promise you, if she was a bigger business, that would have happened. Like, that system would be in place. So you got to be careful on what you're pitching, how you're pitching it, and if you're going to be able to, to meet your customer where they think you are. And then, by the way, when you're, when you're bigger, like, you brag that the owner's not on the project, right? It's not. It's not the owner coming to sell someone. In fact, you don't even have salespeople. You have lighting designers. Okay? You're. And not just one lighting designer, but you have two, right? And when they answer the phone, they're, they're going, is this the owner? Oh, no, I've just, I've worked here for three years. I'm just one of the team members. Right. You, want them to know that it takes way more than one person to provide a world class customer experience, right? and in most cases, it takes five, six positions, right. If you're small, you're going to flip that around. So I hope you're with me. Ask yourself, what's your competitive advantage? Okay? Because your competitive advantage is going to help you sell more jobs. It's going to help you make more money. It's help you going to be more successful.

Last tip, I'll share with you on competitive advantage

Last tip, I'll share with you on competitive advantage and people, you know, you guys know this, I'm big on leverage. Like, if I can figure out a way to not work harder, but get a better, faster, easier result, I'm going to do it every single time. Pricing, is an example of leverage. I just raise my price and I make more money. I don't have to spend money. I don't have to do anything else. I don't have to hire anyone. All I do is raise my price, make more money. This is a good example of leverage. All you need to do is name your thing. So come up with a proprietary, proprietary name for something that you already do. And if you don't have something good that you already do, then do something good. Okay? So, for example, don't offer maintenance plans. Like, what else could you call it? Okay, we called ours a majestic, five star service checklist. Okay, nobody has the majestic five star service checklist because I made it up. Okay? Like, our competition doesn't have that. And now people are like, well, now I'm going to call it that. But you get to call it whatever you want. Okay? So you don't just perform installs. Okay? You come up with a name that makes it sexier than what it is. Okay? And that's an. That's one way to come up with a competitive advantage. And there's tons of examples as you guys go throughout your day, whether it's ordering food, whether it's getting your tires changed, oil change, whatever it is, you'll see this. You'll see it in h, vac repair. they're not just using simple terminology. They're coming up with proprietary names for services that they're already offering. And if you think your offering is weak, then come up with a better offering. Add two or three steps to your thing to make it a five star service checklist that's way better than, like, oh, we come out with a maintenance plan. I mean, so come up with something that's proprietary to you that's going to help you have a competitive, competitive advantage. Having a hard time speaking today.

You've got to come up with a competitive advantage when you're small

All right, guys, that's all I got for you. I just want to encourage you to come up with a competitive advantage and make sure that, like, if you are small, like, make that be it. If you're bigger, make that be it. But then you got to be able to deliver, okay? Don't be standing people up, don't be not returning calls because that's not a competitive advantage. That's a competitive disadvantage because you're small, because you don't have the resources, and that's what people are afraid of when you're small. So you got to be able to overcome that objection before it comes up and sell them on why they should go with you. Because you're small, because you're on your toes, because you hustle. Because you care about people more than the business who's been around 20 years, because you can't just rely on repeat and referrals. You got to hustle for it, you got to build for it. And you're fighting for your family, for your community, all this stuff, and let them feel your passion. Okay? But then the key, again is you got to step up to the plate. You got to be able to deliver on your word.

Greg Schultz shares his story about finding a new hairstylist

Alright, guys, it's time. Let's get some music going and let's get our guests coming in. Let me know if you guys are ready. I think I'm ready.

M.

Welcome. Welcome. M mister Greg Schultz.

Hello. Ryan. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Heck yeah, man. I'm excited, man.

I am, too. and I really appreciate, the little parable that you shared. You've got to be super agile and creative in business. And whether you're big or small, you come up with that advantage and that's your hook, and you leverage it like you said.

Yeah. It's so crazy.

I can also relate to the anxiety about hairstylists.

Like, really, it's not just me.

So I've used the same lady for probably ten years, and, she got into skincare and stopped doing hair. And so I was kind of like, well, now what am I going to do? And it's been like two months, and now I'm getting really shaggy. Like, I can't put this off any longer. And, so then that search began for the, for the new hairstylist. And I'll tell you what's funny. So I did what we all do, right? I hit Google, I start searching different places. And, you know, I'm pretty particular about this beard. So that was really my focus, was I wanted a good beard trim. And, and, so I found, I found a guy and his reviews were kind of mixed. Like, there were a lot of five star and then there were some one star. And so I start digging into it and I actually went through and read all of the reviews. And, you know, the one star wasn't so much about the quality of the haircut. It's just that he was really gruff. and that's true. Like, when you're sitting in his chair, it's his way or the highway. Oh, dang. He, he does, he puts, put. It puts out a good product for sure.

That's awesome. Yeah, man, it's, it's kind of crazy. Like, when you're starting out, like, people would seriously say, like, well, what happens if you guys go out of business? And I started saying, well, I'll tell you what, as soon as I put together my going out of business plan, you'll be the first to get a copy. I'm like, are you kidding? Like, that ain't happening. Like, I'm telling you, you guys are getting the deal of the century because five years from now, I'm going to be so expensive, you probably can't even afford me. But I just, I got to get my name out there, and so you guys are getting on the ground floor, and, like, that was my pitch, and people liked that, right? But then, like I said, when you get bigger, you're like, you don't want to deal with those small guys. Like, they're probably going to stand you up. They can't even afford to, like, pay their bills. They can't afford to get someone to answer their phone. Like, they're not going to provide the service. So you just got to, you got to make whatever work wherever you're at.

That's exactly right.

Greg Schultz is the product and seasonal product and education manager for HBL

Well, it's been a long time coming. Excited to have you on here. I guess maybe just do a quick introduction of yourself and then, you know, how you, how you came to, to be with, holiday bright lights and we'll get into it.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, like you said, my name is Greg Schultz. so last, actually, the beginning of this year, end of, end of last year, we, kind of shifted gears and some strategy on some things the way that we were, really dedicated to our decorator class customers and felt like there was a void. Some of these services and systems that you're talking about that we weren't providing and offering. And, the company came up with a concept to do, like, an education department to really put on special events, but also create several programs and tools to specifically geared towards professional decorators. and so I stepped into that role January of this year as, product, seasonal product and education manager and have been heading up these programs and getting them ready to go. And so that all kind of culminates, at the end of July. And we'll talk more about that event here in just a bit. But, man, I fell literally backwards into this industry. Like, just sort of stumbled into it, started, in this industry. In 2006 and kind, of worked my way through the entry level positions within a company, and eventually worked my way into some support roles. And then training was, really my focus was delivering content, taking new guys that were new to this industry, and teaching them the tips and tricks and, you know, what, to avoid the big fail points that become pitfalls for a company and put together an education and training program. I came to HBL in 2019, as a sales rep for holiday bright lights, and really was able to leverage some of that experience of teaching and working with independent business owners through that sales role because so many of these guys get into this and they don't know what they're doing, and so they call you with product, but then they don't really know what to do with that product. And so there's a lot of questions and conversations and consultation that goes along with that. And so that kind of became the birth of this program, that we would systematize that. As we've grown into a much larger organization since our humble beginnings in 2015, we're really striving to put together some programs that will put forth tools that these guys can take advantage of, take, a lot of the guesswork. So whether you're an old pro or you're brand new to it, we'll have some resources available for you.

Yeah, it's so cool. I mean, I love the change. I love the vision. You know, education is so important, and traditional education, when people just think of, like, schooling is like, that's pretty rough. Like, it's not very specialized. Like, you're not going to go to school to become professional holiday lighting decorator, you know, and so major for that.

No.

Yeah, there's just, there's nothing out there. So to get someone like you to head that up and to, like, put it together is just huge. And most of us, if you learned, even up until the last couple of years, it was like, you just kind of was like, trial and error. Like, you buy some product, if you're fortunate enough to hear about a class or something like that. But even then, like, no one's ever taken the education super serious, but now with technology and everything else, there's just so much more potential and opportunity. I think it's going to be good for the, obviously the decorators, but the designers, but it's going to be good for the industry. I think it's going to elevate everybody and, probably give people a competitive advantage to be able to be more successful, too.

Yeah. And I think HBO has always had premier product, like what we design and that we bring in and provide to our decorators has always been designed with that, commercial grade concept, behind it. It was designed to withstand the elements. It was designed to make installs efficient. but really in the background, we had a sales team that had literally decades of experience, whether it was teaching like myself or actually running an install business. we had decades of knowledge that just sort of, it came into play when it was called upon by a customer, but it was never really formalized. It wasn't really put out there as man, tap into this wealth of knowledge. And so I think that's kind of what you see with HBL is we're still going to continue with that premier product. Like, that's always going to be. our cornerstone is well designed products that are professional grade, that you know, you can rely on, that will not fail you, that will shine bright. You know, as a sales rep, there was not a season that went by, but I didn't get a call from one of my customers that said, hey, I installed your lights. And now the customer, actually their neighbor, is complaining that it's too bright. You know, and my joke was always, well, we weren't kidding when we named the company, right? I mean, it is holiday bright lights. Put a dimmer on it and go on. but we're always going to bring forth that quality of product. What we want to do now is we want to take that wealth of knowledge that resides in our sales staff. And we've taken that sales team. When I started, there were three of us. We've expanded, you know, subsequent to that. And going into 2024, you know, we have a full cell staff of seven people that really work hard to make sure that we take care of our customers. But while they're taking care of their customers and making sure that orders get placed and processed and questions get answered, we want to take that information and put it into a format that allows you to tap into it whenever it's convenient for you. Not when your sales rep is not, you know, in a meeting or helping, another customer or, you know, in the middle of the night or whatever it may be, that's at your fingertips and you're at your disposal.

Nice. Yeah, very cool.

HPL helps companies understand the short season of the Christmas lighting business

So when you guys are coming up with these trainings and doing your marketing and building your sales teams, who's your ideal client? Who do you guys, who are you guys helping the most?

Yeah, you know, I think it's, it's, HPL is in a unique position that we're really geared, to help really, any company. So whether you've been doing this for 20 years and you're a six figure business and you're looking to, you know, bring in a whole container just for your consumption, we have that capability. we work with the factories and the shipping companies to do high volume. But then for the guys that have just kind of either they're brand new to it or maybe their second or third year, you know, those can be really frustrating periods of time, because what. What I used to explain in my training classes is you literally have a finite window of opportunity. There's no way to open that up. Nobody wants Christmas lights on December 26, right? So you have such a finite window of opportunity to learn and understand and execute this business. And it can be very, very frustrating because you don't get it your first season. Well, we're going to try it again, but you still have that very short window of time to do this. It's so seasonal. And so we want to take these guys that are, either brand new to it or maybe, they're hit that they've hit that frustration point. And we want to give them the resources to really smooth things out, to take that learning curve down, to make sure that they have access to quality product. But then we also want to make sure that from start to finish, like, how do you market this? Grab the leads. Your sales team is adept at closing. They know how to sell not just the basics, but the add on products. And that's in this business, that's really where you make your money, right? Anybody can install roof lights. It's kind of a commodity product. It's those add on items that really put money in the bank for you and turn that short season kind of like you said, you know, you can raise prices, but you can also add items and add services. And if you can do that, then you can make more money in that short period of time. And so we want to make sure that they have all the resources, and opportunities to take advantage of that and really smooth out some of that learning curve.

Very cool.

Every project requires greenery, every project requires add ons

Well, what are some examples of some of these add ons you're talking about? Because I know a lot of people are, and, you know, we'll talk about cells here shortly. But, like, they're. They're afraid. They're like, oh, man, they only want to spend 800, and I'm already at 1200. But let's just say that they don't have that mindset. Let's say we've helped them overcome that. What are some products that they could do to differentiate their design? So it's not just a roofline?

Yeah. Yeah. So that's a really good question. I am a firm believer that every project requires greenery, whether that is a wreath over the garage or some other space, or garland around a doorway or columns or porch or whatever. when I'm selling a project, I won't leave if I can't get some sort of greenery onto that project. that's kind of a staple, and that's my go to. And the reason that I like it is, you know, good professional greenery should last you for years, three to five years easily. especially if you're storing it correctly. and so you're going to make that money over and over. It's just repeat income, because you cover the product costs and really, it's not labor intensive. I mean, take a 48 inch wreath once you've set the initial anchors. So 45 minutes of your time the first year after that, that works. Done. They stay there and, and you're looking at 1520 minutes to get that off the truck, fluff it out, make it look pretty. And now it's installed and you're making that same three or $400 every season off of that.

Do you, do you guys, uh, see most people leasing, or selling

Do you, do you guys, see most people leasing, or selling?

I'd say it's still 50 50. I used to be just a huge proponent of the lease model, and I do think for certain companies it is the way to go, working in this role with HBO, where there's a bit more of a mix of lease and ownership or. Yeah, lease and sales models. I've kind of tempered that perspective a bit. I did an analysis. I guess it's been about three years ago. You know, really at year seven, you're making about the same amount of money, I think, where the lease model really piques itself as maybe having, a bit more of an advantage is when you get to that point and you're in that exit strategy of your company, you're ready to sell it, you're going to hand it off, you're retiring, whatever that, that transition, looks like. I think the combination of signed contracts and material that becomes an asset gives you a higher value when you choose to exit.

How many people are thinking about exit strategy in the lighting industry

Exit strategy? What are we talking about here? How many people are thinking about exit strategy?

This industry is still really young. And so, you know, I always have my eye on the horizon. Every year there's a couple of companies that come up for sale and they want to sell, you know, their book of business or whatever. but, you know, guys that started in this, in the early, two thousands, they're getting to that retirement. They don't want to work, their entire life.

Well, and the only reason I'm being a little bit facetious, but I know when I started my lighting company, I was not thinking exit strategy. I was just like, dude, what can I do to replace my current income? And, yeah, then I can brag to my friends that I'm an entrepreneur. You know what I mean? Like, I got freedom. And then you realize, oh, yeah, you don't have freedom. You're trapped in this business that you can't sell. So I think it's, it's cool you bring it up. I wish more people would start with the end in mind. Like, okay, day one, that's fine. We just got to pay the bills. That should be everyone's goal. But, like, what is the exit strategy? And in my opinion, okay, because a lot of these people want to sell their business for like ten times revenue. Like, you know, I put so much time and effort into this. Like, no, I believe you. Like, in your mind it's really worth that, but also believe that it's not worth that. I think that if you build a business, doesn't really matter what kind. If it's landscape lighting or holiday lighting or both. if you build a business, like, you're going to sell it, but then you don't sell it. That's freaking awesome. Like, right? Because, like, that means you have all the people in place that it can run without you. And then, like, why sell something? Why give up something that took you so much effort, blood, sweat and tears? Now you got mailbox money coming in. Unless the only thing that would change my mind on that is unless your strategy was, well, no, because I'm going to sell it. I'm going to take that million bucks and I'm going to invest it into a bigger business or another industry or real something else that was going to give you more passive income or maybe potential active income. But then it's like, okay, take that money, but if you're just going to sell it to sit on, like, you're not going to make that much money. And with inflation and everything else, it's just, it's just you're not going to get a super good deal most of the time.

Yeah. And I don't disagree with that. I think that what lighting does for a company, you know, for the most part, especially holiday lighting. It's kind of an add on to an existing service business, right. Whether it's landscape or lawn care. And so I think what it does is it takes that and it adds a little cream to the, to the top of it, right. It gives you a little more, valuation to that business.

One of the things I advise entrepreneurs is to price as though they have labor

But to your point about thinking about the end, like, one of the things that I advise guys when, when they're going into their first season, a lot of them, you know, they're kind of a one man show. Maybe their wife answers the phone, she schedules the appointments, maybe she's prepping lights. But they're out there doing the sales and they're doing the installs. And I teach them, you need to price as though you have labor today, because what happens is two years down the road where you have to hire labor now, you're going back to those customers that you sold originally, and you're having to jack their prices up.

Yeah.

And if you'll plan for that now, it makes the business healthier in the first year to begin with. Right. Because you don't actually have that labor overhead. You're kind of taking that. Maybe you are paying yourself a bit out of it, but really, it's going to the company and the overall health of the business. But then when you do make that growth step, it doesn't change things dramatically for the way that you do pricing and your bookkeeping, etcetera.

Yeah, that's great advice. I love it. I wish someone would have told me that, you know, 15 years ago, like, price, price, like, who you want to be, because it's not just even labor is like, well, and then it's gonna. You're gonna have to buy another truck, and then eventually you're gonna need to hire someone to answer the phones and, like, you know, like, if you want to be a million dollar business or $200,000 business, whatever it is, like, do the math, figure out what it would actually cost to do that, and then price accordingly. And then you won't come up with excuses like I did. Like, oh, I can't afford to hire someone, or, I can't afford this, you know, or I can't afford to raise my prices on this. Customer is like, yeah, you can, because you planned for it. So, I'm excited, man. We got, I think. Is it already next month? I don't even know what month it is right now. when is the, what is the road show coming up?

So roadshow is coming up July 24. So we are right out a month away. I looked at the calendar yesterday, I was like, man, we are a full 30 days out and we are six months away from Christmas. So if you are active in this business, you know that it is go time. It is time to start planning. It's not a daily thing or maybe even a weekly thing, but you need to start thinking about this coming season, what it is that you want to accomplish, what the roadmap looks like to get there, and then start putting those strategies in place. So, you know, maybe you're investing four or 5 hours a week, between now and September to really lay that groundwork out.

I think people hear you say that and you're like, that sounds crazy. Four or 5 hours a week in the summer. It's not even close to Christmas. What, what are some activities that you recommend they do this early on?

Yeah. So I think identifying target markets, you know, there's a lot of growth and a lot of construction that's going on. So there may be new neighborhoods that you haven't entertained in the past because, you know, there was one or two houses and now there's 15 or 20 homes. so start doing some of that prospecting, start, formulating your marketing campaign. what does that look like? Social media is huge. It's not just signs. And that's not to say that signs aren't effective, but they're a component. And so social media, so, you know, you can even start drafting that out and scheduling it within your social media, pages so that it's already done and it's ready and you can date it. And then when it's ready to hit the button, you send it out, you post it. so things like that, I know that there's a lot of buzz about Christmas and July, type promos and specials. That definitely gets the ball rolling. you'll get some traction, but you've got to go into that with, with, you know, adequate expectations. You're not going to get ten calls a week from one of those campaigns. you're not going to close 50% of those, those leads. People just, they're, they're thinking about their summer vacation budget. They're thinking about, you know, back to schools right around the corner. So they're kind of preoccupied with a lot of, a lot of that stuff. You'll get some, some, traction out of that, but it's not going to be huge, organization. I mean, just making sure that everything is prepped and ready, right. That you have adequate materials on time, if you didn't take advantage of a preorder, you probably need to start taking inventory and making sure that you've got enough items on hand. And if not, start sourcing it now. Because once we get to October and November, you're looking at in season pricing for the most part. And there's really no special deals because it's, there's, there's high demand. Right. So.

Muted myself. very cool. So, it's crazy. Like, I mean, most people, especially when they're new, they don't even think about it until like November, you know, and then the next year, maybe October. But look at all the successful people. They've already started. They've already started a lot of those preparations, those campaigns and all the things. So. Yeah, well said. I appreciate you sharing that. I'm excited. Next month, like you said, we're 30 days out. thank you for the opportunity. I get to actually be, hanging out with you guys at the road show, be doing a, keynote on, sales, and then we got some breakout sessions.

HBO is hosting a roadshow to focus on sales and marketing

Do you want to talk a little bit about the roadshow?

Yeah, absolutely. So roadshow is sort of the next iteration. previously we've called this event kickoff. We've had one every year. really, that HBL has been around and it has grown, and it's just been an annual conference to get our customers together. Typically, there's been a focus, a heavy focus on products and installation techniques. And while I think that that's beneficial, we really wanted to shift our focus to the sell side of things. and so that's, you know, we're eternally grateful that you, opted to participate in this. I think you bring, just a great perspective on that sales agenda, that concept of, you know, not just how you qualify customers and close them, but closing them, and getting the most money, per transaction. And so we, we started kind of formulating this concept, and I knew this was kind of the direction that I wanted to take it, but wasn't really sure what, what. Can we, can we create enough content to fill, you know, two full days? and actually we have three full days of content now. So it didn't just fill, out our standard agenda. We actually added a day, to the event. So we'll host. We unveiled a new product this, year called forever Lighting. It's a permanent lighting product. We'll be doing the last gratis training, for that product at this event the day before. So Wednesday the 23rd, we'll have a full day onboarding for, that product. So that'll be project planning, understanding the materials, and then the sales and marketing of it will be that full training. But, then in the actual HBO roadshow event, we are going to focus on social media marketing. We've got a guest speaker that will participate, in that breakout session. you and I have been collaborating on kind of a two part sales process. So that's one of the big takeaways that I'd like for customers when they leave. They have the HBO process for selling holiday lighting. And I think that's critical because holiday lighting is unlike anything else, any other service, really, that, that a lot of these guys sell. People get their windows clean, they get their yards mowed, you know, kind of because they have to, right? It's not, it's not something that they necessarily look forward to. Christmas is completely different. Like, nobody brings their, their lawn care guy fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate. But that happens on the regular with holiday lighting. And so it's a completely different sales process and cycle because of the amount of emotion that's built into it. And so kind of the two part, breakout session that you and I are collaborating on, you're going to handle the face, to face process, and then I'm going to handle this emerging, I'm not meeting with my customers face to face. We're doing this remote. It's over the phone. It's using computer, programs, go to meeting teams, things like that, to really close these deals and give them a solid step by step process. one of the things that, we like to do is we want to share the big grand vision, the big grand, topic, subject, which is sales. And then we dial that down. So we kind of funnel things into, easily actionable, topics. So we'll take that general session, then we'll go into breakout sessions, which are like 35 people per space. it's going to be led discussions and presentations that really take that sales topic and it breaks it down into a smaller unit, something that's a little more subject, oriented. And then on day two of our event, we have workshops. And workshops are just what they sound like. Like this is get in there, get your hands dirty. You're going to actually get to work. So we're going to take our sales discussion, and in one of our workshops, we'll be overcoming objections and we'll do some role play and guided type of discussions, on what are the best ways to overcome objections. What are those common objections? Look, like, with our social media marketing, that presentation will have a list of about five to seven things that you should be doing in your social media marketing. That workshop is. Here's 45 minutes. You're going to pick three of these and you're going to take action on them today. So that could be as simple as you're going to send your, your web guy an email because you're missing this Facebook pixel that should be on your website, or it could be something that's a bit more intensive. Like, you're going to write a script for your next social media marketing campaign.

Nice. Actually get stuff done. Yeah, yeah, I think that's huge. I mean, a lot of times you go to conferences, trainings, whatever, and you hear, like, a lot of good ideas, but, like, then, you know, people go home, they get busy, and they don't implement it. So I like that you're, you're kicking it off, like, now we're going to jumpstart it. Just take action. Right now you're actually going to implement things right away. That's huge.

Absolutely.

HBL will unveil a design app that can be used in sales

the other big thing at this event is the unveiling of our HBL, design academy. And so this is, this is the program that I've, I've been working on, and it is really the marriage of two tools. So we are going to unveil a design app that's a true native app that allows you to take a picture of a property, design it, use that as a sales tool. That'll be part of our breakout, session is, how do you incorporate that into your sales process? but really, that's a powerful tool because this is such an emotional and visual sales cycle that it's one thing to show a customer a picture, to show them what this is going to look like, what their home is going to look like as a finished, product is huge. I mean, it will blow them away. the second side of this is the educational portion. So when I kind of looked at the landscape of our industry, there's some in person training. There's definitely, certifications and programs that you can take advantage of, but they're all remote. And so who gets to take advantage of that? Well, it's the business owner, maybe a manager, and then they're tasked with taking this information back and cascading it down to the troops, to their install crews, to their sales professionals, their designers. and there's always something that gets lost in that translation. And so we wanted to create a virtual environment that took all of that content and put it at an in an on demand format where you can sit any employee, whether it's the installer that's been there for three or four seasons or this is day three or four for him, and he can get start to finish. This is how you manage a job site. This is how you do this task. This is how you do that task. Same thing with the sales and marketing type of information as well. New sales professional, they can sit down, they can consume this at their leisure on their schedule, and it becomes something that's available to your entire company.

That's very cool. That's awesome, man. So that'll, you're going to unveil that next month?

We will unveil that. for the design app, we'll have some tablets on stanchions. People play with it. one of the workshops will be a training session where we actually, you know, go through and learn the nuts and bolts and the processes of it so that they get a good understanding.

I love it. Well, and I mean, I'm so grateful for the opportunity I get to be there because I'm excited to be a part of it. And as you know, like, I love sales, I love pricing sales, I like helping entrepreneurs make money, and I like crushing through their, their, their limited beliefs and mindsets of they're not worthy and they think they, maybe they're ripping people off and all this stuff. So we're going to really work through a lot of that stuff. And, sales is so important. I mean, it's, it's really unfair that, that most people don't take it more serious because the problem is people are so good. Like, generally, right? A lot of these small business owners, they're such good people. They legitimately feel like it's not fair to charge someone more money, right? They, they, like, they want to serve people, they want to help. Like, they're such good people. I'm like, listen, you can be a good person and be good at sales, too. Like, it's okay to make extra money for your business so that your family can take a vacation once a year. It's okay to, like, make more money for your business so that you can give your employees, your team members a raise. It's okay to make more money so that you could do an awesome company party, build your company culture. Like, it's okay to take care of your family. And, it's just sad to me that most entrepreneurs have that mindset because America is literally built on these small businesses. Like, and they work their tails off and they sacrifice so much. Their families sacrifice so much. And to be honest, I feel like it's a selfish move as an entrepreneur to not get better at sales, to not charge a premium price. Like, you're doing a disservice to your family, to your own team, all to just serve that client. And to be honest, you're not serving the client at the highest level. If you were to charge them more, or like you said, offer them some greenery, like, what if you just offered them something a little bit better and they loved it, how would that impact their life? And meanwhile, you're afraid that you're, you can't sell something, right? So I'm just fired up, man. I can't wait for it. I can't wait. And, you know, we're the same. Like, we're always just trying to help people, and we, we know, like, what they need. It's just like, begging him, like, please take this advice, just implement this one thing. So I'm really glad that you guys have that as your focus, because I truly believe that it's the number one problem that these lighting business owners face is sales. And, of course, they need to know about product and they need training and all this stuff, but, like, they need to sell this stuff first before they can even install it. So I'm fired up?

Well, if I can share a case study. You know, I worked with a company, several years ago, and they had a top sales professional. They did, like, siding and windows and things like that, but then they also did holiday decorating. And their top sales guy for their home services was absolutely terrible. Sorry, I've got a. Gotta fly in here. he was absolutely terrible at Christmas sales. And the owner came and said, you know, I don't know what to do with this guy. Like, I can't get rid of him. He's my, he's my, you know, prime sales guy for everything but Christmas. And, you know, for this guy sitting down and talking to him, he had this mindset of, I want to help people. I want to bring value to my customers. And in his mind, Christmas lights was a waste of money. It was. It was a luxury spend that people shouldn't be spending their money on. And for him, it was just a mental hurdle. And so, you know, once we kind of work through what that mental block was and helped him realize, yeah, it is a luxury thing. Absolutely. There's no doubt about that. But when that family has that Christmas party, when those kids come home in the evening and they see those lights, like, there's a there's a wow moment, and for him, it created an aha moment, and it sort of flipped a switch. Like, he sort of got it. It wasn't about the utility of it. It was about the wonder of Christmas season. And so I think that, you know, in. In this business and in small, small business owners and. And even their sales staff, they just need to kind of jump over that little mental hurdle, and they can turn that corner and really light for profits. Right?

Yeah. I mean, dude, if humans were strictly utilitarian, like, we would just live in these little tiny huts, eat beans and rice and have water. Like, if you want to talk about, like, what. What we need, you know? But the people calling us for this don't live in huts and eat beans and rice and drink water. Like, they have really nice houses, they take really nice trips, drive really nice cars. So who am I to say what someone needs? Like, they need that $150,000 car to feel good about themselves, and I'm not going to try to convince them otherwise. Are you sure you don't need it? You know, there's a car over here that has a steering wheel, four tires, and doors, and it's only 20 grand. I could save you 130 grand. It's like, no, that doesn't help them feel good.

Some customers are going to do holiday lighting regardless, right?

Like, they were the top real estate person, and they bought them this car, and it helps them feel good about themselves, and it makes them a happier, nicer person. So, like, I'm not going to interrupt that. I want to encourage. I want to help them be happy. So if they want to deck their house out with lights, I'm going to be the one to do it. And if. And if you're not, like, your competition is going to. You know what I mean? So, like, why limit your design just because you think you know what they need and what they want? Like, no, like, I'm, You know me. I'm crazy, dude. Like, people need lighting. If they don't have lighting, like, in my mind, they're gonna die. So, like, I'm gonna do everything I can to help them get lighting because I don't want them to die. And, like, that's how dire this is for me. And it's because I've had those experiences where you see them coming home going, oh, my gosh, like, I can't. I can't believe this is our house. Like, this looks better, than the five star resort that we stayed at. This is incredible. You've changed our family's life forever. You're like, holy cow. I've changed someone's family's life forever. I'm awesome. Like, it feels good. So it's not just about putting lights on people's houses. It's providing that experience. It really is changing their lives. It is mental health. I mean, dude, what if, what if you were the guy who talked someone out of lighting and then now they have a bad night and they take it out on their family or whatever it is? Like, to me, we have an obligation to sell ourselves on ourselves. We have an obligation to sell ourselves on our service. And if we're not, maybe we shouldn't be doing this.

Yeah. And I think the point that kind of brought that into focus for that, that particular individual, these customers, they're going to do holiday lighting regardless, right?

Yeah.

and at that time, the choice and professionals was a little more limited. This industry's grown quite a bit. and so they, you know, today they would go somewhere else. Ten years ago, you know, that homeowner might have gotten on the roof himself. He's gonna do that. What I shared with, with this individual was, you know, Christmas is such a busy time as it is. You got company parties and families coming into town. You've got all the gift buying and you've got the interior to decorate, and the list goes on and on. It's like Christmas is nuts for any american family. It just is. You know, from Thanksgiving until New Year's, it's just one event, one thing after another. we're hardly ever home. And so what I shared with him was, you're doing them a favor. You're taking this off of their to do list and you're, you're putting it as a service that you're providing to them. And so once he kind of connected with that, with that idea, then it turned it into something that he could really get passionate and get behind.

Love it. Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. Like, all that is, is just a switch of mindset. Like, he wants to help people and wants to serve people. And once you realize that, you're actually doing a disservice by not convincing them to move forward. Like, no, no one wants to be a bad person. So. Yeah, like, sell yourself on it. Well, that's very cool.

We have a special offer for anyone listening in on the podcast

So, all right, so tell us a little bit. Like, how does someone's, like, I've never, I've never heard of this. I've never heard of HBO. I've never heard of the roadshow. How do they, how do they get tickets to it? How do they get information about it.

Yeah. All right, well, so we have a special offer for, anyone that is listening in on the podcast.

Heck yeah.

and it's actually two offers. I'll go through the roadshow first so that we keep it clean and separate and easy. but to register for, roadshow, go to holidaybrightlights. com. and then in the upper, navigation, there will be a bar that says, I think it's advanced. Let me just double check so I don't steer anyone wrong here. It's under resources, and it's the very top item, HBO roadshow. And, at that page, they will have the opportunity to register. They can download an agenda, and there's also a link for our host hotel, and we are offering $100 off the registration fee. if they will simply enter in Ryan Lee all caps into the registration form, they will get that discount. And that offer is good through July 10, which, July 10 is also the date that our group rate with the host hotel goes away. So that's, another 40 or $50 savings, from the rack rate for the hotel.

Nice.

The event is being hosted in Chicago, Illinois. We're actually in the north suburbs. right, like five minutes, seven minutes from Chicago, o'Hare in Rosemont, and it's being held at the hilton, Rosemont. So that's the how to for roadshow. That'll get you registered, get you a glimpse at the agenda, et cetera.

That's awesome. Hundred bucks off. Go to holidaybrightlights. com resources, then register, then put in Ryan Lee as, ah, the discount promo code.

You got it.

Cool. Absolutely love it. Thanks for doing that for people.

Yeah, absolutely. and then for product purchases. So if you're new, if you're an existing business, you just want to find out about holiday bright lights products. You, can go to hblonlinestore. com. that is our ecommerce site. if you're not an existing customer, you'll have to request an account. Takes about a day to get it set up. Not a big deal. but at that point, once you get a welcome email, you are set up, ready to shop. And at the checkout in the coupon, if you'll enter Ryan Lee all caps again, you will get a discount. Actually, it's free shipping is the offer that we're providing, and that is free shipping for any order of dollar 325. So basically, try 500 lights. Find out about holiday bright lights quality, what we're all about, and how we take care of our customers and get it you know, shipped to your. Your home or business for free.

That's awesome. Yeah, dude, that's cool. I was not even aware of this. So thank you for, hooking people up, guys.

Ryan Lee: It's hard to put a value on these events

so on that one, HBO onlinestore. com. request an account, then put in Ryan Lee for checkout for free shipping. That's killer. Orders 325 and up. And Carrie. What's up, Kerry? I actually met Carrie at the first HBO event I went to. I, believe she was. She, was doing a break out there, Matt, her and her husband there. So I think that was, I don't know, three years ago or something like that. I love going to these events.

Right.

Yeah, it was in Tampa. What year was that?

Yeah, I think it was 2019, right? No, no, 2021. Right after the world fell apart.

Okay. Yeah. So, yeah, three years ago. Three years ago. that. That was cool. So I'm grateful to be part of the HBO community. I got to, speak there. and, I met so many awesome people there that were part of the HBL team that were your clients. A lot of those people like Kerry, I still, you know, keep in touch with today. So, you know, there's. It's hard to put a value on these events. I mean, if you just go and, you know, don't do anything, then, yeah, maybe. Maybe it costs you money, cost you time. But if you'll pour into it and immerse yourself into it and find these nuggets and. And take action, I mean, the return on investment is, you can't even put a number on it, you know? So get out there, get vulnerable. You know, maybe you don't feel comfortable talking to people. Just go talk to them. Like, so where are you from? Tell me about you. Well, you know, if you start talking, there's. There's some people that do amazing work in these rooms, and they're not afraid to tell you their. Their shortcuts, their secrets and stuff like that. So I'm excited for the event.

Absolutely. I tell guys that, you know, if this is the first event that they've been to or they're new to this industry, when they come to an event like this, the question that they should be asking some of these old pros is, you know, what. What did you do that cost you in your first two seasons? Avoid those mistakes, right? Because everybody's business is a little bit different. We all have different resources and capabilities. So what worked for one person may not work for you, but I can tell you this, avoiding their mistakes works for everybody. So when you get in a room like this and, you know, let's say that you are from, you know, Columbus, Ohio, and you are having lunch, or, you know, standing in line behind a guy from Knoxville, Tennessee, he doesn't care whether you're successful. He's not competing against you. He's happy to share, his advice and his wisdom. So, absolutely, there's an unspoken value. I don't know that we could ever quantify it. but it's probably one of the more, biggest, advantages to coming to these events, is you just get, you know, three days to pick people's brains that you wouldn't otherwise ever meet.

Yeah. All right, man. Well, I'm looking forward to it. remind us of the dates, of the, roadshow coming up next month. Not that I mean. So asking for a friend. I know.

Yeah. So the official event dates are the 24th. I'm sorry, the 25th and 26th. we'll have the forever lights training on the 24th, and then we'll also have a reception for all registered guests on the evening of the 24th. So love to have you. We have plenty of room. We've got a huge venue. Let's fill it up. Let's get everybody there. and let's really learn how to sell these lights.

Love it. I'm excited. So, yeah, I'll be there. I get there, like, the 24th at night. so I'll be there at the social, then be there all day the next day, Thursday, helping out with some of the breakouts and stuff. So, really looking forward to it, Greg. Thanks for being on here. You, guys, I highly recommend, if you guys have any questions, if you are on the fence, whatever, reach out to Greg. They reach out. A lot of these, a lot of people already know their rep, so if they, if they have a rep, just reach out to them. They can get you information. If not, go to the website. You can, of course, connect with Greg and his team. You can connect with Greg on social media. He's pretty accessible. So, really looking forward to it. And thanks for including me on your event as well.

Thanks again for being a part of it, and thanks, for the opportunity to be on your show.

Okay. All right, guys, lots of good stuff. Greg, we'll see you in a month. Everybody else, don't forget, keep moving forward, differentiate yourself, and hopefully I'll see you in Chicago next month. See everybody.


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Ryan Lee

Ryan Lee has started and grew a multi-million dollar landscape lighting company in Fort Worth, TX. In 2019 he sold his lighting business and founded the world's only coaching program dedicated to helping other grow their landscape lighting business. He is an expert at helping lighting contractors double their profits by helping them increase their number of qualified leads, close more deals, and increase their price. If you're interested in growing your landscape lighting business or want help adding a lighting division to your business, then reach out and request a free strategy session today.

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Lighting for Profits Podcast with Greg

Greg Shults - Your Go-To for Bright Ideas!

June 25, 202459 min read

Lighting for Profits - Episode 153

This week on the show we welcome Greg Shults, the Seasonal Product and Education Manager at Holiday Bright Lights. With 14 years of industry experience, he has witnessed the transition to LED lighting and is excited about the possibilities of RGB technology. Greg focuses on delivering training and tools to help contractors boost sales and improve performance. Based in Idalou, TX, he enjoys outdoor activities and is a big kid at heart.

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Episode Transcript

Ryan Lee discusses everything you need to know to start and grow a successful landscape lighting business

Welcome to Lighting for profits.

All Light, All Light, All Light.

Powered by Emery Allen.

Get rid of your excuses.

Your number one source for all things landscape lighting, that's where the magic can happen. You can really scale a business. We really had to show up for each other from lighting design, install, sales, and marketing. You're a scaredy cat salesman, Kurt. We discussed everything you need to know to start and grow a successful landscape lighting business. What do you think a hippo has to do with your business, Ryan? Usually it's some weird childhood thing, some bullying, kicked your butt. I think the key factor here is trust. Here is your host, Ryan Lee.

Ryan Lee: If you're looking to start or grow a lighting business

All, right, all out. All right. What's up, everybody? Ryan Lee, host of Lighting for profits. We're the number one landscape lighting show in Lubbock, Texas. Yes, that's right. Speaking of Texas, if anyone knows Matthew McConaughey and can get a video recording of him saying, all right, all out, all light, I'd really appreciate it. It's just one of my life goals I have now. So, guys, we got a great show lined up for you. If you're looking to start or grow a lighting business, whether it's landscape lighting or holiday lighting, you're definitely in the right place. Got a great show lined up for you today. We got mister Greg Schultz coming on with holiday bright lights. Greg's an awesome dude. doing. Has done a lot for the lighting industry, done a lot in the lighting industry, and I'm excited to have him on the show. We're going to talk about holiday bright lights. We got it. They've got an event coming up that, that I actually get to speak at, so I'm super excited about that. We're here to educate and motivate to help you dominate. So, as always, we're always play, you know, pleading, begging for reviews. So going to Apple. Go on to Spotify, hit those five stars, write something nice, do a good turn daily. You never know, maybe you might get a good, good five star review from one of your clients. Just putting that good energy out there. So, But, guys, I'm excited again. Greg Schultz, holiday bright lights coming on in just a few minutes. I, want to remind you we just started promoting our secrets summit event that's coming up August 9 and 10th. So we actually did, I'm sorry, not August. See, we did. We did move. It was gonna be in August. We moved it to September 9 and 10th. Okay, so September 9 and 10th, if you're like, I don't know, should I join secrets? Should I not? The answer is yes. Join now because you're going to want to be at that event. And it's a members only event, September 9 and 10th. So if you want information, just shoot me a message, and we can do that. We also have, I'm still the guy in my company doing these strategy sessions. We're going to be hiring this position out soon. But right now, if you want help in your business, if you want direction, you want clarity, get on one of these calls and we can help you out. all you got to do is go to landscape lighting, secrets. com, click start here. Get that free case study. Get on a call with me. In fact, I did one today, and one of the guys said, you know what? I feel guilty because I've gotten so much value from your podcast. I want to join your program because I've already made more money than it costs to join your program. And, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to help you for free. Make enough money to be able to invest back into yourself, not just with coaching, but advertising and events and all these different things. There's no reason you should say I can't afford something because we're trying to help you out for free to be able to do these things. So, I'm excited for secret summit such. It's such a cool event. It's going to be here in park city September 9 and 10th.

Make the switch today to Emery Allen lighting for efficiency and performance

All right, guys, want to thank Emery Allen. You know, this, performance matters. That's a true statement for a lot of things. But listen, we're talking about the kind of lighting you use. So don't sell yourself short with your customer by using budget level products. Emery Allen is at the top of their game when it comes to performance. Take it. Take their VA rating, for example. Lowest in the industry. What does that mean? It means efficiency. So you can put more bulbs, more lamps on a run, more on a transformer. It's going to save you money in the long run. Make the switch today to Emery Allen. All you need to do to get the homey hookup is email tom g@emeryallen. com. and, what he'll do is get your account set up, get you that discounted contractor pricing. Don't go to their website unless you like paying full price because we're hooking you up. Just email tom g@emoryallen. com. mentioned you heard about him here on lighting for profits. And we'll get you hooked up. So, guys, again, in just a couple of minutes. We got mister Greg schultz with holiday bright lights. And, it's going to be a great show. We're going to be talking about, some new things they got coming out. We're gonna be talking about, the roadshow that they got coming. So I'm excited to have Greg on. This is first time on, and, hopefully not the last.

Going to get my haircut gives me anxiety because, like, what if

And, before we have him on, I want to tell, you a quick story. you know, most people probably don't know this about me, but I'm, like, super picky when it comes to my hair. Okay? My hair, it doesn't have much. It's just hair, right? And I'm not like, high maintenance at all, but, like, going to get my haircut gives me so much anxiety because, like, what if they screw it up, right? And so it. This has been like this the last 20 years. Like, I hate trying to find a good, let's call him a stylist, a haircutter, right? And, in Texas, I was fortunate enough to, find a good haircutter. And, believe, it or not, it was my mother in law that found her. And, she, she asked some lady, she's like, hey, who cut cuts your daughter's hair? It's adorable. And she goes, oh, I'll give you the name. And it was this, this lady named Lara. Laura. And Laura is from Cambodia, and she owned this place called awesome cuts. Awesome cuts was awesome. And, so at first it was just to take our kids in there. My mother in law took our daughter in there and got her haircut. And then eventually I was like, I guess I'll go try it. I mean, I can't find a good haircutter over here. So I went over there, and Laura was awesome. She did so good. And, my life was great until I moved from Texas to Utah. And I was like, well, what am I going to do? Like, I don't make enough money to fly back to get my hair cut every three weeks to Texas. So I got to find someone new. So I found someone new. I went to this place called goat, goat haircuts, here in Utah. And they're there. They were at the time kind of up and coming, but now they're a larger brand. And, I went there, got, got on the circuit, and got my hair cut by a lady, and she did a great job. And I was like, sweet. I'm not stressed. I don't have anxiety about getting my hair cut anymore. And so been going to her for years. Well, this last year, she decided, you know what? I'm not going to be held back by corporate America. I'm going to start my own thing. I'm going to be an entrepreneur. And she starts her own business, okay? Gets her own place, at one of these places where you can rent space and all this stuff. And she's super excited. And I'm excited for her because you know what? Like, if you want to start your own business, you can, and it's exciting. but, here's the problem. Last week, I go to get my hair cut, and it's, you know, it's getting a little bit longer. I go to get my haircut, and, we have like, a standing, like, every three week appointment and same, you know, same time and all this stuff. And, she's running a little bit late. And so I text her, and then I realized she's not just running late, she ain't coming. And I got stood up. I got stood up on my haircut. You guys like that. That is just bad news, you know, and I plan my life around these haircuts. So, why am I telling you this? Well, I'm telling you this for a couple reasons. you know, consumers, and we're consumers as well. Like, sometimes we want to buy from, like, the big gym, giant corporations, and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we want to buy it from the small companies, right? And so what, what is your competitive advantage? Okay. Her competitive advantage. And the reason I went with her and left, like, the corporate, is because we had a relationship, right? And, you know, I wasn't going there to get my hair cut because goat had good branding and marketing. I went because she did a good job cutting my hair, right? And I wanted to support her and her family and, and it was a good relationship. The problem is then when I get stood up, I'm like, ah, man, this reminds me of small business. And this is the challenge. Like, when you have a small business, your competitive advantage could be, it could be the relationship that people like you better than dealing with a big corporation, right? But if you stand them up, if you shortcut, if you can't provide the same level of service as a big giant because they have better systems, they have text reminders, they have all these different things, then maybe you don't have a competitive advantage. Okay? And so when I started my lighting business, I was the small guy, okay? I didn't have much experience. I didn't have, as much design skills. I didn't know as much about lighting. I didn't have those systems. I didn't have all that, right? But what did I do? I implemented the US versus them approach, okay? And America is built on small business, okay? The world goes around because of guys like you and us, right? You and us. You and me, us. I don't know. But this whole us versus them approach, okay? And it's like this. I would tell people, listen. Cause they would be like, well, man, so how long you guys been around? And I'm like, ten days, you know, whatever. Whatever it was. And they would get nervous, right? Oh, only one year. And they would say things like, well, what happens if you go out of business? And I'm like, what? Like, do you ask that to everybody?

Small business owners need to decide what their competitive advantage is

Because, like, that's not a fair question. Like, what happens if, like, someone else goes out of business? Are you asking them? Because they've been around 20 years, and I was like, listen, we're on our toes. They're on their heels. We are going to do everything possible. Like, they're comfortable. We're not. They're not willing to provide over the top service. We are. I'm hungry. I need to provide for my family. We're going to roll out that red carpet, white glove experience. And your one project supports not just me, but my family. And, like, our suppliers, families like you guys are impacting. Like, this is a big decision for us, and we are going to bend over backwards and make sure you guys are totally happy, right? And that became my competitive advantage, was that we were small. And I would tell them, I'm the owner. The owner of the company is here at your door. I'm going to be here on the day of install. Like, that was my competitive advantage. Now looking back, I'm like, I don't know, was that the right thing? Was that the wrong thing? Because then what happened was when we grew, you know what I did? I changed my competitive advantage. Okay? Those small guys, this is what I would say. Those small guys, I remember being like that. They have good intentions, but there's just no way that they can't compete with us. There's no way they can match our level of expertise. They can't match our high level of service. You know, we have an office manager. Hello. We have an office manager that organizes everything and schedules things and follows up with you. We have software, we have systems. We have the ability to, provide a better level of service for you. Right? And I'm telling you this because you get to decide what your competitive advantage is, okay? And I highly recommend making your competitive advantage wherever it is you are right now. Like, let your competitive advantage meet you where you're at. So if you're the small guy, you better make sure that that's your competitive advantage. If you're the bigger guy, make that your competitive advantage. And when you're small, like, yeah, you better make sure they know you're the owner. Right. Because that is your competitive advantage. There's people that want to follow that small business owner, and they want to support you, right? And then there's people that got burned or stood up by their hair stylist, and then they're, like, reconsidering, maybe I should go with the bigger company, right? You gotta, you gotta, you gotta also be able to over deliver, okay? So if that is your competitive advantage, that it's. You're the small guy, then you got to figure out a way. Are you really going to be able to bend over backwards? You can't afford to stand people up. Okay. The other day, she could have texted and said, hey, something happened. I can't meet you. Right. And I promise you, if she was a bigger business, that would have happened. Like, that system would be in place. So you got to be careful on what you're pitching, how you're pitching it, and if you're going to be able to, to meet your customer where they think you are. And then, by the way, when you're, when you're bigger, like, you brag that the owner's not on the project, right? It's not. It's not the owner coming to sell someone. In fact, you don't even have salespeople. You have lighting designers. Okay? You're. And not just one lighting designer, but you have two, right? And when they answer the phone, they're, they're going, is this the owner? Oh, no, I've just, I've worked here for three years. I'm just one of the team members. Right. You, want them to know that it takes way more than one person to provide a world class customer experience, right? and in most cases, it takes five, six positions, right. If you're small, you're going to flip that around. So I hope you're with me. Ask yourself, what's your competitive advantage? Okay? Because your competitive advantage is going to help you sell more jobs. It's going to help you make more money. It's help you going to be more successful.

Last tip, I'll share with you on competitive advantage

Last tip, I'll share with you on competitive advantage and people, you know, you guys know this, I'm big on leverage. Like, if I can figure out a way to not work harder, but get a better, faster, easier result, I'm going to do it every single time. Pricing, is an example of leverage. I just raise my price and I make more money. I don't have to spend money. I don't have to do anything else. I don't have to hire anyone. All I do is raise my price, make more money. This is a good example of leverage. All you need to do is name your thing. So come up with a proprietary, proprietary name for something that you already do. And if you don't have something good that you already do, then do something good. Okay? So, for example, don't offer maintenance plans. Like, what else could you call it? Okay, we called ours a majestic, five star service checklist. Okay, nobody has the majestic five star service checklist because I made it up. Okay? Like, our competition doesn't have that. And now people are like, well, now I'm going to call it that. But you get to call it whatever you want. Okay? So you don't just perform installs. Okay? You come up with a name that makes it sexier than what it is. Okay? And that's an. That's one way to come up with a competitive advantage. And there's tons of examples as you guys go throughout your day, whether it's ordering food, whether it's getting your tires changed, oil change, whatever it is, you'll see this. You'll see it in h, vac repair. they're not just using simple terminology. They're coming up with proprietary names for services that they're already offering. And if you think your offering is weak, then come up with a better offering. Add two or three steps to your thing to make it a five star service checklist that's way better than, like, oh, we come out with a maintenance plan. I mean, so come up with something that's proprietary to you that's going to help you have a competitive, competitive advantage. Having a hard time speaking today.

You've got to come up with a competitive advantage when you're small

All right, guys, that's all I got for you. I just want to encourage you to come up with a competitive advantage and make sure that, like, if you are small, like, make that be it. If you're bigger, make that be it. But then you got to be able to deliver, okay? Don't be standing people up, don't be not returning calls because that's not a competitive advantage. That's a competitive disadvantage because you're small, because you don't have the resources, and that's what people are afraid of when you're small. So you got to be able to overcome that objection before it comes up and sell them on why they should go with you. Because you're small, because you're on your toes, because you hustle. Because you care about people more than the business who's been around 20 years, because you can't just rely on repeat and referrals. You got to hustle for it, you got to build for it. And you're fighting for your family, for your community, all this stuff, and let them feel your passion. Okay? But then the key, again is you got to step up to the plate. You got to be able to deliver on your word.

Greg Schultz shares his story about finding a new hairstylist

Alright, guys, it's time. Let's get some music going and let's get our guests coming in. Let me know if you guys are ready. I think I'm ready.

M.

Welcome. Welcome. M mister Greg Schultz.

Hello. Ryan. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Heck yeah, man. I'm excited, man.

I am, too. and I really appreciate, the little parable that you shared. You've got to be super agile and creative in business. And whether you're big or small, you come up with that advantage and that's your hook, and you leverage it like you said.

Yeah. It's so crazy.

I can also relate to the anxiety about hairstylists.

Like, really, it's not just me.

So I've used the same lady for probably ten years, and, she got into skincare and stopped doing hair. And so I was kind of like, well, now what am I going to do? And it's been like two months, and now I'm getting really shaggy. Like, I can't put this off any longer. And, so then that search began for the, for the new hairstylist. And I'll tell you what's funny. So I did what we all do, right? I hit Google, I start searching different places. And, you know, I'm pretty particular about this beard. So that was really my focus, was I wanted a good beard trim. And, and, so I found, I found a guy and his reviews were kind of mixed. Like, there were a lot of five star and then there were some one star. And so I start digging into it and I actually went through and read all of the reviews. And, you know, the one star wasn't so much about the quality of the haircut. It's just that he was really gruff. and that's true. Like, when you're sitting in his chair, it's his way or the highway. Oh, dang. He, he does, he puts, put. It puts out a good product for sure.

That's awesome. Yeah, man, it's, it's kind of crazy. Like, when you're starting out, like, people would seriously say, like, well, what happens if you guys go out of business? And I started saying, well, I'll tell you what, as soon as I put together my going out of business plan, you'll be the first to get a copy. I'm like, are you kidding? Like, that ain't happening. Like, I'm telling you, you guys are getting the deal of the century because five years from now, I'm going to be so expensive, you probably can't even afford me. But I just, I got to get my name out there, and so you guys are getting on the ground floor, and, like, that was my pitch, and people liked that, right? But then, like I said, when you get bigger, you're like, you don't want to deal with those small guys. Like, they're probably going to stand you up. They can't even afford to, like, pay their bills. They can't afford to get someone to answer their phone. Like, they're not going to provide the service. So you just got to, you got to make whatever work wherever you're at.

That's exactly right.

Greg Schultz is the product and seasonal product and education manager for HBL

Well, it's been a long time coming. Excited to have you on here. I guess maybe just do a quick introduction of yourself and then, you know, how you, how you came to, to be with, holiday bright lights and we'll get into it.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, like you said, my name is Greg Schultz. so last, actually, the beginning of this year, end of, end of last year, we, kind of shifted gears and some strategy on some things the way that we were, really dedicated to our decorator class customers and felt like there was a void. Some of these services and systems that you're talking about that we weren't providing and offering. And, the company came up with a concept to do, like, an education department to really put on special events, but also create several programs and tools to specifically geared towards professional decorators. and so I stepped into that role January of this year as, product, seasonal product and education manager and have been heading up these programs and getting them ready to go. And so that all kind of culminates, at the end of July. And we'll talk more about that event here in just a bit. But, man, I fell literally backwards into this industry. Like, just sort of stumbled into it, started, in this industry. In 2006 and kind, of worked my way through the entry level positions within a company, and eventually worked my way into some support roles. And then training was, really my focus was delivering content, taking new guys that were new to this industry, and teaching them the tips and tricks and, you know, what, to avoid the big fail points that become pitfalls for a company and put together an education and training program. I came to HBL in 2019, as a sales rep for holiday bright lights, and really was able to leverage some of that experience of teaching and working with independent business owners through that sales role because so many of these guys get into this and they don't know what they're doing, and so they call you with product, but then they don't really know what to do with that product. And so there's a lot of questions and conversations and consultation that goes along with that. And so that kind of became the birth of this program, that we would systematize that. As we've grown into a much larger organization since our humble beginnings in 2015, we're really striving to put together some programs that will put forth tools that these guys can take advantage of, take, a lot of the guesswork. So whether you're an old pro or you're brand new to it, we'll have some resources available for you.

Yeah, it's so cool. I mean, I love the change. I love the vision. You know, education is so important, and traditional education, when people just think of, like, schooling is like, that's pretty rough. Like, it's not very specialized. Like, you're not going to go to school to become professional holiday lighting decorator, you know, and so major for that.

No.

Yeah, there's just, there's nothing out there. So to get someone like you to head that up and to, like, put it together is just huge. And most of us, if you learned, even up until the last couple of years, it was like, you just kind of was like, trial and error. Like, you buy some product, if you're fortunate enough to hear about a class or something like that. But even then, like, no one's ever taken the education super serious, but now with technology and everything else, there's just so much more potential and opportunity. I think it's going to be good for the, obviously the decorators, but the designers, but it's going to be good for the industry. I think it's going to elevate everybody and, probably give people a competitive advantage to be able to be more successful, too.

Yeah. And I think HBO has always had premier product, like what we design and that we bring in and provide to our decorators has always been designed with that, commercial grade concept, behind it. It was designed to withstand the elements. It was designed to make installs efficient. but really in the background, we had a sales team that had literally decades of experience, whether it was teaching like myself or actually running an install business. we had decades of knowledge that just sort of, it came into play when it was called upon by a customer, but it was never really formalized. It wasn't really put out there as man, tap into this wealth of knowledge. And so I think that's kind of what you see with HBL is we're still going to continue with that premier product. Like, that's always going to be. our cornerstone is well designed products that are professional grade, that you know, you can rely on, that will not fail you, that will shine bright. You know, as a sales rep, there was not a season that went by, but I didn't get a call from one of my customers that said, hey, I installed your lights. And now the customer, actually their neighbor, is complaining that it's too bright. You know, and my joke was always, well, we weren't kidding when we named the company, right? I mean, it is holiday bright lights. Put a dimmer on it and go on. but we're always going to bring forth that quality of product. What we want to do now is we want to take that wealth of knowledge that resides in our sales staff. And we've taken that sales team. When I started, there were three of us. We've expanded, you know, subsequent to that. And going into 2024, you know, we have a full cell staff of seven people that really work hard to make sure that we take care of our customers. But while they're taking care of their customers and making sure that orders get placed and processed and questions get answered, we want to take that information and put it into a format that allows you to tap into it whenever it's convenient for you. Not when your sales rep is not, you know, in a meeting or helping, another customer or, you know, in the middle of the night or whatever it may be, that's at your fingertips and you're at your disposal.

Nice. Yeah, very cool.

HPL helps companies understand the short season of the Christmas lighting business

So when you guys are coming up with these trainings and doing your marketing and building your sales teams, who's your ideal client? Who do you guys, who are you guys helping the most?

Yeah, you know, I think it's, it's, HPL is in a unique position that we're really geared, to help really, any company. So whether you've been doing this for 20 years and you're a six figure business and you're looking to, you know, bring in a whole container just for your consumption, we have that capability. we work with the factories and the shipping companies to do high volume. But then for the guys that have just kind of either they're brand new to it or maybe their second or third year, you know, those can be really frustrating periods of time, because what. What I used to explain in my training classes is you literally have a finite window of opportunity. There's no way to open that up. Nobody wants Christmas lights on December 26, right? So you have such a finite window of opportunity to learn and understand and execute this business. And it can be very, very frustrating because you don't get it your first season. Well, we're going to try it again, but you still have that very short window of time to do this. It's so seasonal. And so we want to take these guys that are, either brand new to it or maybe, they're hit that they've hit that frustration point. And we want to give them the resources to really smooth things out, to take that learning curve down, to make sure that they have access to quality product. But then we also want to make sure that from start to finish, like, how do you market this? Grab the leads. Your sales team is adept at closing. They know how to sell not just the basics, but the add on products. And that's in this business, that's really where you make your money, right? Anybody can install roof lights. It's kind of a commodity product. It's those add on items that really put money in the bank for you and turn that short season kind of like you said, you know, you can raise prices, but you can also add items and add services. And if you can do that, then you can make more money in that short period of time. And so we want to make sure that they have all the resources, and opportunities to take advantage of that and really smooth out some of that learning curve.

Very cool.

Every project requires greenery, every project requires add ons

Well, what are some examples of some of these add ons you're talking about? Because I know a lot of people are, and, you know, we'll talk about cells here shortly. But, like, they're. They're afraid. They're like, oh, man, they only want to spend 800, and I'm already at 1200. But let's just say that they don't have that mindset. Let's say we've helped them overcome that. What are some products that they could do to differentiate their design? So it's not just a roofline?

Yeah. Yeah. So that's a really good question. I am a firm believer that every project requires greenery, whether that is a wreath over the garage or some other space, or garland around a doorway or columns or porch or whatever. when I'm selling a project, I won't leave if I can't get some sort of greenery onto that project. that's kind of a staple, and that's my go to. And the reason that I like it is, you know, good professional greenery should last you for years, three to five years easily. especially if you're storing it correctly. and so you're going to make that money over and over. It's just repeat income, because you cover the product costs and really, it's not labor intensive. I mean, take a 48 inch wreath once you've set the initial anchors. So 45 minutes of your time the first year after that, that works. Done. They stay there and, and you're looking at 1520 minutes to get that off the truck, fluff it out, make it look pretty. And now it's installed and you're making that same three or $400 every season off of that.

Do you, do you guys, uh, see most people leasing, or selling

Do you, do you guys, see most people leasing, or selling?

I'd say it's still 50 50. I used to be just a huge proponent of the lease model, and I do think for certain companies it is the way to go, working in this role with HBO, where there's a bit more of a mix of lease and ownership or. Yeah, lease and sales models. I've kind of tempered that perspective a bit. I did an analysis. I guess it's been about three years ago. You know, really at year seven, you're making about the same amount of money, I think, where the lease model really piques itself as maybe having, a bit more of an advantage is when you get to that point and you're in that exit strategy of your company, you're ready to sell it, you're going to hand it off, you're retiring, whatever that, that transition, looks like. I think the combination of signed contracts and material that becomes an asset gives you a higher value when you choose to exit.

How many people are thinking about exit strategy in the lighting industry

Exit strategy? What are we talking about here? How many people are thinking about exit strategy?

This industry is still really young. And so, you know, I always have my eye on the horizon. Every year there's a couple of companies that come up for sale and they want to sell, you know, their book of business or whatever. but, you know, guys that started in this, in the early, two thousands, they're getting to that retirement. They don't want to work, their entire life.

Well, and the only reason I'm being a little bit facetious, but I know when I started my lighting company, I was not thinking exit strategy. I was just like, dude, what can I do to replace my current income? And, yeah, then I can brag to my friends that I'm an entrepreneur. You know what I mean? Like, I got freedom. And then you realize, oh, yeah, you don't have freedom. You're trapped in this business that you can't sell. So I think it's, it's cool you bring it up. I wish more people would start with the end in mind. Like, okay, day one, that's fine. We just got to pay the bills. That should be everyone's goal. But, like, what is the exit strategy? And in my opinion, okay, because a lot of these people want to sell their business for like ten times revenue. Like, you know, I put so much time and effort into this. Like, no, I believe you. Like, in your mind it's really worth that, but also believe that it's not worth that. I think that if you build a business, doesn't really matter what kind. If it's landscape lighting or holiday lighting or both. if you build a business, like, you're going to sell it, but then you don't sell it. That's freaking awesome. Like, right? Because, like, that means you have all the people in place that it can run without you. And then, like, why sell something? Why give up something that took you so much effort, blood, sweat and tears? Now you got mailbox money coming in. Unless the only thing that would change my mind on that is unless your strategy was, well, no, because I'm going to sell it. I'm going to take that million bucks and I'm going to invest it into a bigger business or another industry or real something else that was going to give you more passive income or maybe potential active income. But then it's like, okay, take that money, but if you're just going to sell it to sit on, like, you're not going to make that much money. And with inflation and everything else, it's just, it's just you're not going to get a super good deal most of the time.

Yeah. And I don't disagree with that. I think that what lighting does for a company, you know, for the most part, especially holiday lighting. It's kind of an add on to an existing service business, right. Whether it's landscape or lawn care. And so I think what it does is it takes that and it adds a little cream to the, to the top of it, right. It gives you a little more, valuation to that business.

One of the things I advise entrepreneurs is to price as though they have labor

But to your point about thinking about the end, like, one of the things that I advise guys when, when they're going into their first season, a lot of them, you know, they're kind of a one man show. Maybe their wife answers the phone, she schedules the appointments, maybe she's prepping lights. But they're out there doing the sales and they're doing the installs. And I teach them, you need to price as though you have labor today, because what happens is two years down the road where you have to hire labor now, you're going back to those customers that you sold originally, and you're having to jack their prices up.

Yeah.

And if you'll plan for that now, it makes the business healthier in the first year to begin with. Right. Because you don't actually have that labor overhead. You're kind of taking that. Maybe you are paying yourself a bit out of it, but really, it's going to the company and the overall health of the business. But then when you do make that growth step, it doesn't change things dramatically for the way that you do pricing and your bookkeeping, etcetera.

Yeah, that's great advice. I love it. I wish someone would have told me that, you know, 15 years ago, like, price, price, like, who you want to be, because it's not just even labor is like, well, and then it's gonna. You're gonna have to buy another truck, and then eventually you're gonna need to hire someone to answer the phones and, like, you know, like, if you want to be a million dollar business or $200,000 business, whatever it is, like, do the math, figure out what it would actually cost to do that, and then price accordingly. And then you won't come up with excuses like I did. Like, oh, I can't afford to hire someone, or, I can't afford this, you know, or I can't afford to raise my prices on this. Customer is like, yeah, you can, because you planned for it. So, I'm excited, man. We got, I think. Is it already next month? I don't even know what month it is right now. when is the, what is the road show coming up?

So roadshow is coming up July 24. So we are right out a month away. I looked at the calendar yesterday, I was like, man, we are a full 30 days out and we are six months away from Christmas. So if you are active in this business, you know that it is go time. It is time to start planning. It's not a daily thing or maybe even a weekly thing, but you need to start thinking about this coming season, what it is that you want to accomplish, what the roadmap looks like to get there, and then start putting those strategies in place. So, you know, maybe you're investing four or 5 hours a week, between now and September to really lay that groundwork out.

I think people hear you say that and you're like, that sounds crazy. Four or 5 hours a week in the summer. It's not even close to Christmas. What, what are some activities that you recommend they do this early on?

Yeah. So I think identifying target markets, you know, there's a lot of growth and a lot of construction that's going on. So there may be new neighborhoods that you haven't entertained in the past because, you know, there was one or two houses and now there's 15 or 20 homes. so start doing some of that prospecting, start, formulating your marketing campaign. what does that look like? Social media is huge. It's not just signs. And that's not to say that signs aren't effective, but they're a component. And so social media, so, you know, you can even start drafting that out and scheduling it within your social media, pages so that it's already done and it's ready and you can date it. And then when it's ready to hit the button, you send it out, you post it. so things like that, I know that there's a lot of buzz about Christmas and July, type promos and specials. That definitely gets the ball rolling. you'll get some traction, but you've got to go into that with, with, you know, adequate expectations. You're not going to get ten calls a week from one of those campaigns. you're not going to close 50% of those, those leads. People just, they're, they're thinking about their summer vacation budget. They're thinking about, you know, back to schools right around the corner. So they're kind of preoccupied with a lot of, a lot of that stuff. You'll get some, some, traction out of that, but it's not going to be huge, organization. I mean, just making sure that everything is prepped and ready, right. That you have adequate materials on time, if you didn't take advantage of a preorder, you probably need to start taking inventory and making sure that you've got enough items on hand. And if not, start sourcing it now. Because once we get to October and November, you're looking at in season pricing for the most part. And there's really no special deals because it's, there's, there's high demand. Right. So.

Muted myself. very cool. So, it's crazy. Like, I mean, most people, especially when they're new, they don't even think about it until like November, you know, and then the next year, maybe October. But look at all the successful people. They've already started. They've already started a lot of those preparations, those campaigns and all the things. So. Yeah, well said. I appreciate you sharing that. I'm excited. Next month, like you said, we're 30 days out. thank you for the opportunity. I get to actually be, hanging out with you guys at the road show, be doing a, keynote on, sales, and then we got some breakout sessions.

HBO is hosting a roadshow to focus on sales and marketing

Do you want to talk a little bit about the roadshow?

Yeah, absolutely. So roadshow is sort of the next iteration. previously we've called this event kickoff. We've had one every year. really, that HBL has been around and it has grown, and it's just been an annual conference to get our customers together. Typically, there's been a focus, a heavy focus on products and installation techniques. And while I think that that's beneficial, we really wanted to shift our focus to the sell side of things. and so that's, you know, we're eternally grateful that you, opted to participate in this. I think you bring, just a great perspective on that sales agenda, that concept of, you know, not just how you qualify customers and close them, but closing them, and getting the most money, per transaction. And so we, we started kind of formulating this concept, and I knew this was kind of the direction that I wanted to take it, but wasn't really sure what, what. Can we, can we create enough content to fill, you know, two full days? and actually we have three full days of content now. So it didn't just fill, out our standard agenda. We actually added a day, to the event. So we'll host. We unveiled a new product this, year called forever Lighting. It's a permanent lighting product. We'll be doing the last gratis training, for that product at this event the day before. So Wednesday the 23rd, we'll have a full day onboarding for, that product. So that'll be project planning, understanding the materials, and then the sales and marketing of it will be that full training. But, then in the actual HBO roadshow event, we are going to focus on social media marketing. We've got a guest speaker that will participate, in that breakout session. you and I have been collaborating on kind of a two part sales process. So that's one of the big takeaways that I'd like for customers when they leave. They have the HBO process for selling holiday lighting. And I think that's critical because holiday lighting is unlike anything else, any other service, really, that, that a lot of these guys sell. People get their windows clean, they get their yards mowed, you know, kind of because they have to, right? It's not, it's not something that they necessarily look forward to. Christmas is completely different. Like, nobody brings their, their lawn care guy fresh baked cookies and hot chocolate. But that happens on the regular with holiday lighting. And so it's a completely different sales process and cycle because of the amount of emotion that's built into it. And so kind of the two part, breakout session that you and I are collaborating on, you're going to handle the face, to face process, and then I'm going to handle this emerging, I'm not meeting with my customers face to face. We're doing this remote. It's over the phone. It's using computer, programs, go to meeting teams, things like that, to really close these deals and give them a solid step by step process. one of the things that, we like to do is we want to share the big grand vision, the big grand, topic, subject, which is sales. And then we dial that down. So we kind of funnel things into, easily actionable, topics. So we'll take that general session, then we'll go into breakout sessions, which are like 35 people per space. it's going to be led discussions and presentations that really take that sales topic and it breaks it down into a smaller unit, something that's a little more subject, oriented. And then on day two of our event, we have workshops. And workshops are just what they sound like. Like this is get in there, get your hands dirty. You're going to actually get to work. So we're going to take our sales discussion, and in one of our workshops, we'll be overcoming objections and we'll do some role play and guided type of discussions, on what are the best ways to overcome objections. What are those common objections? Look, like, with our social media marketing, that presentation will have a list of about five to seven things that you should be doing in your social media marketing. That workshop is. Here's 45 minutes. You're going to pick three of these and you're going to take action on them today. So that could be as simple as you're going to send your, your web guy an email because you're missing this Facebook pixel that should be on your website, or it could be something that's a bit more intensive. Like, you're going to write a script for your next social media marketing campaign.

Nice. Actually get stuff done. Yeah, yeah, I think that's huge. I mean, a lot of times you go to conferences, trainings, whatever, and you hear, like, a lot of good ideas, but, like, then, you know, people go home, they get busy, and they don't implement it. So I like that you're, you're kicking it off, like, now we're going to jumpstart it. Just take action. Right now you're actually going to implement things right away. That's huge.

Absolutely.

HBL will unveil a design app that can be used in sales

the other big thing at this event is the unveiling of our HBL, design academy. And so this is, this is the program that I've, I've been working on, and it is really the marriage of two tools. So we are going to unveil a design app that's a true native app that allows you to take a picture of a property, design it, use that as a sales tool. That'll be part of our breakout, session is, how do you incorporate that into your sales process? but really, that's a powerful tool because this is such an emotional and visual sales cycle that it's one thing to show a customer a picture, to show them what this is going to look like, what their home is going to look like as a finished, product is huge. I mean, it will blow them away. the second side of this is the educational portion. So when I kind of looked at the landscape of our industry, there's some in person training. There's definitely, certifications and programs that you can take advantage of, but they're all remote. And so who gets to take advantage of that? Well, it's the business owner, maybe a manager, and then they're tasked with taking this information back and cascading it down to the troops, to their install crews, to their sales professionals, their designers. and there's always something that gets lost in that translation. And so we wanted to create a virtual environment that took all of that content and put it at an in an on demand format where you can sit any employee, whether it's the installer that's been there for three or four seasons or this is day three or four for him, and he can get start to finish. This is how you manage a job site. This is how you do this task. This is how you do that task. Same thing with the sales and marketing type of information as well. New sales professional, they can sit down, they can consume this at their leisure on their schedule, and it becomes something that's available to your entire company.

That's very cool. That's awesome, man. So that'll, you're going to unveil that next month?

We will unveil that. for the design app, we'll have some tablets on stanchions. People play with it. one of the workshops will be a training session where we actually, you know, go through and learn the nuts and bolts and the processes of it so that they get a good understanding.

I love it. Well, and I mean, I'm so grateful for the opportunity I get to be there because I'm excited to be a part of it. And as you know, like, I love sales, I love pricing sales, I like helping entrepreneurs make money, and I like crushing through their, their, their limited beliefs and mindsets of they're not worthy and they think they, maybe they're ripping people off and all this stuff. So we're going to really work through a lot of that stuff. And, sales is so important. I mean, it's, it's really unfair that, that most people don't take it more serious because the problem is people are so good. Like, generally, right? A lot of these small business owners, they're such good people. They legitimately feel like it's not fair to charge someone more money, right? They, they, like, they want to serve people, they want to help. Like, they're such good people. I'm like, listen, you can be a good person and be good at sales, too. Like, it's okay to make extra money for your business so that your family can take a vacation once a year. It's okay to, like, make more money for your business so that you can give your employees, your team members a raise. It's okay to make more money so that you could do an awesome company party, build your company culture. Like, it's okay to take care of your family. And, it's just sad to me that most entrepreneurs have that mindset because America is literally built on these small businesses. Like, and they work their tails off and they sacrifice so much. Their families sacrifice so much. And to be honest, I feel like it's a selfish move as an entrepreneur to not get better at sales, to not charge a premium price. Like, you're doing a disservice to your family, to your own team, all to just serve that client. And to be honest, you're not serving the client at the highest level. If you were to charge them more, or like you said, offer them some greenery, like, what if you just offered them something a little bit better and they loved it, how would that impact their life? And meanwhile, you're afraid that you're, you can't sell something, right? So I'm just fired up, man. I can't wait for it. I can't wait. And, you know, we're the same. Like, we're always just trying to help people, and we, we know, like, what they need. It's just like, begging him, like, please take this advice, just implement this one thing. So I'm really glad that you guys have that as your focus, because I truly believe that it's the number one problem that these lighting business owners face is sales. And, of course, they need to know about product and they need training and all this stuff, but, like, they need to sell this stuff first before they can even install it. So I'm fired up?

Well, if I can share a case study. You know, I worked with a company, several years ago, and they had a top sales professional. They did, like, siding and windows and things like that, but then they also did holiday decorating. And their top sales guy for their home services was absolutely terrible. Sorry, I've got a. Gotta fly in here. he was absolutely terrible at Christmas sales. And the owner came and said, you know, I don't know what to do with this guy. Like, I can't get rid of him. He's my, he's my, you know, prime sales guy for everything but Christmas. And, you know, for this guy sitting down and talking to him, he had this mindset of, I want to help people. I want to bring value to my customers. And in his mind, Christmas lights was a waste of money. It was. It was a luxury spend that people shouldn't be spending their money on. And for him, it was just a mental hurdle. And so, you know, once we kind of work through what that mental block was and helped him realize, yeah, it is a luxury thing. Absolutely. There's no doubt about that. But when that family has that Christmas party, when those kids come home in the evening and they see those lights, like, there's a there's a wow moment, and for him, it created an aha moment, and it sort of flipped a switch. Like, he sort of got it. It wasn't about the utility of it. It was about the wonder of Christmas season. And so I think that, you know, in. In this business and in small, small business owners and. And even their sales staff, they just need to kind of jump over that little mental hurdle, and they can turn that corner and really light for profits. Right?

Yeah. I mean, dude, if humans were strictly utilitarian, like, we would just live in these little tiny huts, eat beans and rice and have water. Like, if you want to talk about, like, what. What we need, you know? But the people calling us for this don't live in huts and eat beans and rice and drink water. Like, they have really nice houses, they take really nice trips, drive really nice cars. So who am I to say what someone needs? Like, they need that $150,000 car to feel good about themselves, and I'm not going to try to convince them otherwise. Are you sure you don't need it? You know, there's a car over here that has a steering wheel, four tires, and doors, and it's only 20 grand. I could save you 130 grand. It's like, no, that doesn't help them feel good.

Some customers are going to do holiday lighting regardless, right?

Like, they were the top real estate person, and they bought them this car, and it helps them feel good about themselves, and it makes them a happier, nicer person. So, like, I'm not going to interrupt that. I want to encourage. I want to help them be happy. So if they want to deck their house out with lights, I'm going to be the one to do it. And if. And if you're not, like, your competition is going to. You know what I mean? So, like, why limit your design just because you think you know what they need and what they want? Like, no, like, I'm, You know me. I'm crazy, dude. Like, people need lighting. If they don't have lighting, like, in my mind, they're gonna die. So, like, I'm gonna do everything I can to help them get lighting because I don't want them to die. And, like, that's how dire this is for me. And it's because I've had those experiences where you see them coming home going, oh, my gosh, like, I can't. I can't believe this is our house. Like, this looks better, than the five star resort that we stayed at. This is incredible. You've changed our family's life forever. You're like, holy cow. I've changed someone's family's life forever. I'm awesome. Like, it feels good. So it's not just about putting lights on people's houses. It's providing that experience. It really is changing their lives. It is mental health. I mean, dude, what if, what if you were the guy who talked someone out of lighting and then now they have a bad night and they take it out on their family or whatever it is? Like, to me, we have an obligation to sell ourselves on ourselves. We have an obligation to sell ourselves on our service. And if we're not, maybe we shouldn't be doing this.

Yeah. And I think the point that kind of brought that into focus for that, that particular individual, these customers, they're going to do holiday lighting regardless, right?

Yeah.

and at that time, the choice and professionals was a little more limited. This industry's grown quite a bit. and so they, you know, today they would go somewhere else. Ten years ago, you know, that homeowner might have gotten on the roof himself. He's gonna do that. What I shared with, with this individual was, you know, Christmas is such a busy time as it is. You got company parties and families coming into town. You've got all the gift buying and you've got the interior to decorate, and the list goes on and on. It's like Christmas is nuts for any american family. It just is. You know, from Thanksgiving until New Year's, it's just one event, one thing after another. we're hardly ever home. And so what I shared with him was, you're doing them a favor. You're taking this off of their to do list and you're, you're putting it as a service that you're providing to them. And so once he kind of connected with that, with that idea, then it turned it into something that he could really get passionate and get behind.

Love it. Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. Like, all that is, is just a switch of mindset. Like, he wants to help people and wants to serve people. And once you realize that, you're actually doing a disservice by not convincing them to move forward. Like, no, no one wants to be a bad person. So. Yeah, like, sell yourself on it. Well, that's very cool.

We have a special offer for anyone listening in on the podcast

So, all right, so tell us a little bit. Like, how does someone's, like, I've never, I've never heard of this. I've never heard of HBO. I've never heard of the roadshow. How do they, how do they get tickets to it? How do they get information about it.

Yeah. All right, well, so we have a special offer for, anyone that is listening in on the podcast.

Heck yeah.

and it's actually two offers. I'll go through the roadshow first so that we keep it clean and separate and easy. but to register for, roadshow, go to holidaybrightlights. com. and then in the upper, navigation, there will be a bar that says, I think it's advanced. Let me just double check so I don't steer anyone wrong here. It's under resources, and it's the very top item, HBO roadshow. And, at that page, they will have the opportunity to register. They can download an agenda, and there's also a link for our host hotel, and we are offering $100 off the registration fee. if they will simply enter in Ryan Lee all caps into the registration form, they will get that discount. And that offer is good through July 10, which, July 10 is also the date that our group rate with the host hotel goes away. So that's, another 40 or $50 savings, from the rack rate for the hotel.

Nice.

The event is being hosted in Chicago, Illinois. We're actually in the north suburbs. right, like five minutes, seven minutes from Chicago, o'Hare in Rosemont, and it's being held at the hilton, Rosemont. So that's the how to for roadshow. That'll get you registered, get you a glimpse at the agenda, et cetera.

That's awesome. Hundred bucks off. Go to holidaybrightlights. com resources, then register, then put in Ryan Lee as, ah, the discount promo code.

You got it.

Cool. Absolutely love it. Thanks for doing that for people.

Yeah, absolutely. and then for product purchases. So if you're new, if you're an existing business, you just want to find out about holiday bright lights products. You, can go to hblonlinestore. com. that is our ecommerce site. if you're not an existing customer, you'll have to request an account. Takes about a day to get it set up. Not a big deal. but at that point, once you get a welcome email, you are set up, ready to shop. And at the checkout in the coupon, if you'll enter Ryan Lee all caps again, you will get a discount. Actually, it's free shipping is the offer that we're providing, and that is free shipping for any order of dollar 325. So basically, try 500 lights. Find out about holiday bright lights quality, what we're all about, and how we take care of our customers and get it you know, shipped to your. Your home or business for free.

That's awesome. Yeah, dude, that's cool. I was not even aware of this. So thank you for, hooking people up, guys.

Ryan Lee: It's hard to put a value on these events

so on that one, HBO onlinestore. com. request an account, then put in Ryan Lee for checkout for free shipping. That's killer. Orders 325 and up. And Carrie. What's up, Kerry? I actually met Carrie at the first HBO event I went to. I, believe she was. She, was doing a break out there, Matt, her and her husband there. So I think that was, I don't know, three years ago or something like that. I love going to these events.

Right.

Yeah, it was in Tampa. What year was that?

Yeah, I think it was 2019, right? No, no, 2021. Right after the world fell apart.

Okay. Yeah. So, yeah, three years ago. Three years ago. that. That was cool. So I'm grateful to be part of the HBO community. I got to, speak there. and, I met so many awesome people there that were part of the HBL team that were your clients. A lot of those people like Kerry, I still, you know, keep in touch with today. So, you know, there's. It's hard to put a value on these events. I mean, if you just go and, you know, don't do anything, then, yeah, maybe. Maybe it costs you money, cost you time. But if you'll pour into it and immerse yourself into it and find these nuggets and. And take action, I mean, the return on investment is, you can't even put a number on it, you know? So get out there, get vulnerable. You know, maybe you don't feel comfortable talking to people. Just go talk to them. Like, so where are you from? Tell me about you. Well, you know, if you start talking, there's. There's some people that do amazing work in these rooms, and they're not afraid to tell you their. Their shortcuts, their secrets and stuff like that. So I'm excited for the event.

Absolutely. I tell guys that, you know, if this is the first event that they've been to or they're new to this industry, when they come to an event like this, the question that they should be asking some of these old pros is, you know, what. What did you do that cost you in your first two seasons? Avoid those mistakes, right? Because everybody's business is a little bit different. We all have different resources and capabilities. So what worked for one person may not work for you, but I can tell you this, avoiding their mistakes works for everybody. So when you get in a room like this and, you know, let's say that you are from, you know, Columbus, Ohio, and you are having lunch, or, you know, standing in line behind a guy from Knoxville, Tennessee, he doesn't care whether you're successful. He's not competing against you. He's happy to share, his advice and his wisdom. So, absolutely, there's an unspoken value. I don't know that we could ever quantify it. but it's probably one of the more, biggest, advantages to coming to these events, is you just get, you know, three days to pick people's brains that you wouldn't otherwise ever meet.

Yeah. All right, man. Well, I'm looking forward to it. remind us of the dates, of the, roadshow coming up next month. Not that I mean. So asking for a friend. I know.

Yeah. So the official event dates are the 24th. I'm sorry, the 25th and 26th. we'll have the forever lights training on the 24th, and then we'll also have a reception for all registered guests on the evening of the 24th. So love to have you. We have plenty of room. We've got a huge venue. Let's fill it up. Let's get everybody there. and let's really learn how to sell these lights.

Love it. I'm excited. So, yeah, I'll be there. I get there, like, the 24th at night. so I'll be there at the social, then be there all day the next day, Thursday, helping out with some of the breakouts and stuff. So, really looking forward to it, Greg. Thanks for being on here. You, guys, I highly recommend, if you guys have any questions, if you are on the fence, whatever, reach out to Greg. They reach out. A lot of these, a lot of people already know their rep, so if they, if they have a rep, just reach out to them. They can get you information. If not, go to the website. You can, of course, connect with Greg and his team. You can connect with Greg on social media. He's pretty accessible. So, really looking forward to it. And thanks for including me on your event as well.

Thanks again for being a part of it, and thanks, for the opportunity to be on your show.

Okay. All right, guys, lots of good stuff. Greg, we'll see you in a month. Everybody else, don't forget, keep moving forward, differentiate yourself, and hopefully I'll see you in Chicago next month. See everybody.


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Ryan Lee

Ryan Lee has started and grew a multi-million dollar landscape lighting company in Fort Worth, TX. In 2019 he sold his lighting business and founded the world's only coaching program dedicated to helping other grow their landscape lighting business. He is an expert at helping lighting contractors double their profits by helping them increase their number of qualified leads, close more deals, and increase their price. If you're interested in growing your landscape lighting business or want help adding a lighting division to your business, then reach out and request a free strategy session today.

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