In my work with people who sell, I often find myself surprised by how little the typical salesperson knows about the person he is selling to. Among other questions, I usually asked a potential client what he did, not necessarily for a living but more about what he did with his life, in general.

Why? The answers would help me shape my approach to selling to them. For example, if I was selling to an accountant who was very detail-oriented and needed time to process information before making a decision, I would know that our proposal would likely need a lot of detail and that I would be unlikely to get a decision immediately upon presenting it.

On the other hand, suppose I was selling to an artist who only wanted to know that I “got” what he wanted to have done and was not at all concerned with the details. I would know then that I had to simplify what I would be presenting and that I would likely have to slow down the potential client’s inclination to make a decision immediately.

Try it and see what happens. The average person usually loves to tell others about what he does. Use the resulting knowledge to increase your sales success!

Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, is a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage and a consultant to remodeling business owners.