Although just 2% of remodelers surveyed said that they market specifically to minority homeowners, nearly half reported altering sales methods in some way to accommodate differing needs — the most common change being to adopt an “assume less, listen more” approach. Nearly half of respondents also noted a significant increase in the number of minority clients in recent years, with the largest number reporting an increase in clients of Asian or Indian descent.

“I do a lot more listening and not as much explaining during the process.”

John Charles, Grand Remodeling Co., Greenwood, S.C.

“When selling to certain ethnic groups, the design and sale of the project usually involves the family a lot more than with non-minority groups. I try to be sensitive to that and include as many members of the family as possible.”

—Jeffrey Price, Custom Construction, Islip, N.Y.

“Our clients deserve our respect of traditions that we might not encounter in our own daily lives. Just the simple act of taking off our shoes before entering [a client's home] and being respectful of family members has been a big help.”

William Welte, Welte Construction, San Leandro, Calif.

“We've had better sales results and a far more confident sales staff.”

Joe Dodd, 2 Guys Audio Video, Gresham, Ore.

“First-generation clients are far more suspicious of contractors and their motives.”

Chris Shaheen, Shaheen & Sons, Lake City, Fla.

“Second- and third-generation clients are more likely to understand our systems.”

Joe Genovesi, Joe Genovesi & Son, Margaretville, N.Y.

Tool Winner: Scott Remsen of Remsen Home Services, North Kingstown, R.I., won a Bosch 10-inch Slide Compound Miter Saw for participating in this month's Reader Panel.

“The value of the Reader Panel,” Remsen says, “is that we can use the input of industry professionals to guide the industry in another direction.”

What percentage of your clients are members of minority groups?

Do you alter your sales methods to accommodate the different needs of minority groups?

Which minority groups are represented among your clients?

In the past several years, has your business experienced an increase in the number of clients from minority groups?

In which minority group have you noticed the largest increase?

Does your company have bi- or multi-lingual members on staff?

In which positions are they employed?

Do you provide cultural sensitivity training for staff members?

Who conducts your company's cultural sensitivity training for staff members?

Have you noticed a difference in your business since you added cultural sensitivity training?

Have you encountered any differences in working with first-generation minority clients compared to second-or third-generation minority clients?