When it comes to selling, remodelers have plenty to say. But they also suggest that listening is the quickest route to a signed contract. Most know that to make a sale, you need to reiterate what you hear, empathize with clients, and establish trust.

How do you find the underlying cause of the clients' emotions, or problems, so you understand how to sell them?

"I try to repeat, in different words, what they are trying to accomplish. This establishes that I am listening, as well as clarifying what I heard."

Rob Friedrich, Friedrich-Houston Enterprises, Torrance, Calif.

"You can pick up on all of the homeowners' emotions and concerns during a qualifying call and then further draw them out during the first meeting."

Eugene Westermeier, Westermeier & Sons Construction, Boise, Idaho

What techniques, words, and tools do you use to build the perception of you and your company?

"Emphasize the word 'you.' Always say, 'Now you can do this,' or 'Now you can choose that,' or 'How do you feel about that?' Always say 'you,' not 'we.'"

Judy Hofmeister, Wood-N-Windows, New Ulm, Minn.

"Caring isn't a word or a tool or a technique. It is something that you have or you don't. Customers smell it and feel it. ... Excel at your craft, own your persona, and project it softly, letting the excellence glow."

Paul Hamilton, Dunrite & Cheep, Spring Grove, Pa.

"Tools and techniques are not the answer. Dealing with the client honestly is more important than any tool or technique. Be real."

Ron Fisher, Interiors by Design, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Do you want to exit sales to manage salespeople?

"I love sales, and quite frankly believe I tell my company's story better than anyone else."

Joseph Ressa, RessaBuilt, Oakton, Va.

"I would like to get out of sales but am not sure managing salespeople would be less stressful."

Kevin Burkholder, Kevco Builders, Tavares, Fla.

"I've had salespeople before, but none have been even remotely as successful as I've been. I'd like to find that candidate but can't afford to (as I have repeatedly) let sales fall while I train, or have trained, a replacement."

Gregory Miedema, Dakota Builders, Tucson, Ariz.

If you have a sales staff, how does it compare to when you sold? Is it easier, harder?

"It has gotten easier. Salespeople go through sales cycles with their highs and lows. Having more salespeople and a sales manager allows us a more consistent work flow."

Mark Dixon, Legacy Custom Builders, Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Harder. I have to spend more time managing their deals, bids, personalities. It becomes a managerial task."

Peter Bourget, Bourget Innovations, Norcross, Ga.

"Teaching is never easy, but there is a great sense of pride when you do it right."

Arthur Wolf, Wolf Supply, Oak Lawn, Ill.