“I like to put my hooks where the fish are,” says Brian Elias, founder, owner, president, and media star for 1-800-Hansons, a Michigan company that has made a specialty of adapting sales and marketing methods that work in other industries to its own window, siding, and roofing business. Hansons has expanded sales every year of the recession in one of the toughest markets in the U.S., and has steadily expanded geographically, too.

• Automatic lead entry allows any company canvasser at the door or demonstrator at an event to upload a lead into the Hansons database from their smartphone.

• Hansons’ referral rewards system, introduced this year, allows previous clients to post referrals on Facebook. Ten sold jobs gets you a check for the cost of your own job from the company. The goal: to boost referral business to 20% of sales by year’s end.

• It’s all about ease for the client: easy payments and easy planning for the installation. “We will be in and out of their lives in no more than five days,” Elias says. “Every homeowners’ biggest fear is making the wrong decision. We make it easy to make the right decision.”