Sam Imhof's quarter-century of experience in the remodeling business is leading him to one major conclusion about what it will take for contractors to achieve future success: Make life easier for clients.

That view is driven largely by seven major changes that Imhof has seen in the business since 2008, the consultant told officials from Louisiana-Pacific (LP) and contractors last month at a Remodeling Segment Summit hosted by LP. And those changes, in turn, prompted him to lay down seven imperatives that he argues remodelers must embrace to succeed in the years to come.

Those future imperatives are:

  1. Embrace marketing in all its forms. "[Remodelers] have got to start thinking about ... stuff you can do every day," Imhof said.
  2. Know what you're best at.
  3. Answer your phone calls and text messages.
  4. Form alliances.
  5. Develop a process to do your remodeling work, and then tout that process during sales calls as a reason why you should get the job.
  6. Know your company's financial numbers and key metrics.
  7. Have a website that's relevant and current.

Imhof's recommendations stem from seven major shifts that he's noticed between business conditions in 2008 and in 2013. He laid them out in from/to format:

  • From a product/service focus to a need for business acumen.
  • From viewing sales work as a necessary evil to viewing sales as a profession.
  • From having A, B, and C players on staff to having solely A players.
  • From pushing sales to instead growing EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization).
  • From concentrating on vendor relationships to gathering into strategic alliances.
  • From regarding technology as optional to seeing it as a necessity.
  • From relying on referrals to becoming an active marketer of leads.