Thirty years in the remodeling business have taught me that when it comes to setting up a sales strategy, you must:

1. Understand the problem. A couple came to our showroom with photos of a walk-in tub. After showing them a similar unit we have on display, I dug deeper to better understand their wants and needs and was able to show them some other options. Their final decision: an easy-access shower base that can accommodate a wheelchair ramp in the future. Remember: Your job is to sell solutions that will suit clients’ needs.

2. Care about the client. A good salesperson must have a genuine interest in getting to know the client and should view the project in that context. The saying, “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care,” is true. Listen to the client when they tell you the reasons for a remodel, whether it’s a son calling for a room addition because his mother can no longer live on her own, or a widow telling you her husband used to do all their home improvements. Your role is to enhance lives through home improvement. Put people first and projects second.

3. Offer knowledgeable solutions. Keep up on new products and installations (I spend an hour a day doing this). Use proven, long-lasting building systems that will add value to a home. Due to media such as HGTV, today’s clients are well-informed. Stay a step ahead and offer them pros and cons based on your perspective.

4. Talk about money. Practice talking to prospects about money until you’re at ease with it. When they bring up payment options, I tell them, “Most of my customers finance this type of project.” If they know that other homeowners have financed a similar project, they feel better about their decision. Learn about financing options so you can advise clients.

5. Persist to do business. The part of the remodeling process that clients can’t get anywhere else is your experience, efficiency, and organization — use that to convince them that you are the best choice. If a client hesitates or postpones their decision, follow up with them soon after.

—Tracey Bail founded Bail Home Services & Construction, in Goshen, Ind., in 1982.