Jolynn Johnson, president of Crystal Kitchen Center in Crystal, Minn., once thought that many of her clients came to her from Yellow Pages ads. Imagine her surprise when, using the results from this job profile sheet, she learned that not a single one did!

Crystal salespeople fill this form out after each sale. At the end of each year, Johnson sits down with the pile of forms — 68 from 2005 — and, in a matter of a few hours, puts together a profile of her clients: where they live, how much money they make, how old they are, how they heard about her company, etc. Then, she shapes her marketing to fit those trends.

Johnson toyed with having a computer tabulate the results of the forms, but realized that by doing it herself she noticed trends that a computer program wouldn't catch. The four or so hours it takes to finish the task are worth the extra information.

Crystal Kitchen Center has a showroom, and Johnson stocks it with her most popular styles. “A lot of people buy what's in front of them [in the display],” she says.

Johnson's bookkeeper — who enters the data from these forms into the computer — fills out this last section. Johnson uses the financial information to determine which types of jobs are providing the most revenue or biggest profit margins, a more useful measure than what is simply the most common job for the company.

This is a recent addition to the form, and it helps Johnson gauge the effectiveness of specific advertising. “If the source of the lead is a magazine and the date is April 2004, for example, I'll know which ad it was,” she says.