You're running a lead. You're at the home, about to meet face-to-face with the prospect. What are you going to say?

Most salespeople introduce themselves to the homeowner by saying something like: “Hello, I'm Tom Smith from XYZ Construction.” They then move on to talk about their product: “Our windows ...”

Typically, you're addressing your prospect in the first person, the all-important “I.” You're talking about yourself, your product, or — at the point where it becomes “we” — your company.

The prospect, in turn, is thinking about him or herself: his house, her budget, their personal concerns.

DIRECT ADDRESS Let's say you switch from this first person, me, to the second person, you. When the prospect opens the door, start by saying his name: “Mr. Brown?” He acknowledges. Your next sentence could be: “Mr. Brown, I'm from XYZ Construction, responding to your call regarding your windows.” Now you're not there to sell the homeowner something but to solve a problem they have or to show them something they need.

In the course of your presentation, start sentences with “you” or “yours” rather than with “I,” “we,” or “my.” For example, “Your home is probably your most expensive investment.”

And make sure that a similar sentence is on the opening page of your company story presentation.

GETTING PERSONAL A homeowner may feel resistance to a salesperson if they perceive the salesperson as trying to sell too quickly. Second-person language softens this interaction.

During your walk-around, enhance this by references to them (the homeowner) and their home, and with questions about their needs, values, and why they called your company.

You'll build rapport and will get a much-improved response by talking about and showing more interest in the prospect and their needs and values, and focussing less on I, me, and my, i.e., you and your company.

—Dave Yoho is president of the oldest, largest, and most successful consulting group serving the home improvement industry;; 703.591.2490.