You've pre-screened the prospects on the phone, set up an initial appointment, and even done a bit of Internet research using tools such as Google and real estate portal Zillow to learn about the client and their home. Now — in the few minutes before you visit their home for the first time — renew your commitment to the job.

“Every meeting with every prospect, client, or employee should have a specific objective with acceptable and unacceptable outcomes identified,” says Jack Hauber, a sales coach with the Sandler Training Institute. “During the ride over, before you step out of the car, and as you walk up to the front door, you need to steel yourself to keep the focus on this objective. Otherwise, the prospect will lead you down the path of their objective, which might be no more than to get your unpaid consulting.”

Michael McCutcheon, president of McCutcheon Construction, in Berkeley, Calif., is one remodeler who always strives to keep that focus in mind. He offers this sales tip to others: “En route to a sales call, always turn off the radio and cell phone and remind yourself why you're so excited about doing that job.” Take nothing for granted. McCutcheon's success in building an $8 million design/build firm sets a compelling example.