The Issue You avoid at all costs (take your pick):

  • Calling leads or past clients in the name of generating business.
  • Asking for referrals.
  • Doing any form of outreach that could make you “sound like a salesperson.”
  • You're in good company. Most remodelers suffer from call reluctance, according to Jack Hauber, a sales coach with the Sandler Sales Institute ( “One reason remodelers spend so much time and money on postcards and Web sites is because there's no possibility of being rejected,” he says. “Nobody will ever say, ‘Never send me another postcard!'”

    Plus, it's better to sit and wait — and wait — for leads to come in than to do anything that could come off as desperate or salesperson-like. Right?

    Wrong Attitude Recast personal prospecting in your own mind as proactive business development, Hauber says. Then identify the strategy that is comfortable for you. Here are some approaches his clients have used:

    Follow a script. Example: “Mary, I do a lot of different kinds of work for a lot of different kinds of folks. Some jobs I really enjoy, and some I enjoy less. You're one of the clients I've really enjoyed working with, and I thought you might have some thoughts on how I might get more jobs like yours. ...”

    Another: “John, I really enjoyed your job and enjoyed working with you. The other day I was talking to my production manager about how we could find more clients like you. He said, ‘I'll bet John knows more people like himself.' ...” Another: “If I asked if you knew someone who needs a remodeler, the odds would be very slim that you do. But chances are that you know folks with growing families. If you can think of anyone in particular — maybe people in your church or children's school — would it be OK if I put them on my mailing list or gave them a call? ...”

    Blast out of your comfort zone. Hauber knows a former carpenter who walked neighborhoods, knocked on doors, and introduced himself and his company. His courage and success were “astounding,” Hauber says.

    Another non-salesperson uses this humble approach: “To be honest, I'm just a carpenter and a terrible salesperson. But I can tell you that [company name] does excellent work and has incredible relationships with clients. You'll see for yourself. ...”