From 2000 to 2007, Steven Dormann more than doubled his company's sales volume, targeting design/build additions and whole-house renovations in the Allentown area.

He designed his office to help him focus his sales presentation on the company's thorough design/build process. “We give clients a wow factor when they walk in, with our professional office, waiting area, and conference room with a projection screen hooked to a laptop, and books and samples,” Dormann says. “Once I introduce [prospects] to our design/build process, I rarely lose a project sale.”

During the initial stage, each client receives two hours of time with an outside architect who works with S&D Renovations. This helps them to decide if the scope of work fits their budget and avoids sticker shock when they receive the contract. During the design process, the architect and Dormann continue to provide budget guidance, along with input from the company's selections coordinator.

Dormann spends most of his marketing budget on contacting previous clients, including a quarterly newsletter. He also sets up a booth at the area's annual home show. Dormann is active in his local home builders association and annually enters about six projects in the group's design contest, generally winning one to three every year. When clients visit the association Web site's awards page, a link takes them to the S&D Renovations Web site.

- Nina Patel