Credit: Barry Blitt

Selling a home improvement project will always depend on the interpersonal skills of the salesman, but the newest generation of digital sales aids can make a dramatic difference in close rate. With lead costs up and digital costs shrinking, here's what moving from pitch book to laptop could do for you.

  • Fast train-up. You can create a training version of your presentation with a voiceover delivering the salesman's script as images automatically advance. With the digital version loaded on his laptop or onto a CD, a salesman can train anywhere, anytime.
  • Techno-dazzle. Make the case for your window's cutting edge glazing technology with a cool new iPad. You'll be a techno-standout.
  • Dynamic content. A laptop allows salespeople to explain how the product is put together and how it works with animation and full-motion video. Imagine the power of that satisfied customer speaking unscripted in a video testimonial.
  • Custom content. With a cell phone camera, your salesman can capture pictures of deteriorating siding or window sashes and load those on the laptop, then move seamlessly into the practical solution. If he is offering a computational benefit such as saving money on energy bills, the presentation can be programmed to take specific information about the home (average monthly energy cost, energy savings) and project these to show what that investment will do.
  • Authority of the Internet. These days, “I need to think about it,” means “I need to go online to see if there's anything better.” A laptop with a wireless card lets you go right from the kitchen table to government or expert websites to support your case.
  • So, will it be worth the cost of programming and equipment? Can your people master it and increase their close rate? Maybe. But ask yourself this: Can we continue as we are and trust that things will get better? What will our competitors do? The answers may not be clear, but the trends are unmistakable.

    —John Stevens is an expert on marketing in the home improvement industry and a principal at Peterson/Stevens marketing agency in Atlanta. Learn more at or