Every homeowner has a need or a want that only qualified contractors and designers can fulfill. They need a roof repaired or they want to update their master bath. When they finally "pull the trigger" and invite a home improvement company to their kitchen table, your sales rep faces an uphill battle.

Today, nearly every homeowner is afraid of you.

The recent economy has everyone holding tightly to their wallets for fear of being overcharged. Horror stories of shoddy work lurk in their minds. Companies that have closed shop and disappeared with big deposits are in the news. The homeowners in your community are scared they'll end up the next victim.

Even before your rep makes a sales pitch, homeowners prepare themselves for the sticker shock. Their minds quickly generate objections to survive "the close." And many miss hearing the salesperson illustrate the value and benefits of your products and services.

How do you and your sales team overcome this fear?

1. The price is fright: People don't know what home improvement projects cost, and it's their biggest fear. Reality shows tell them remodeling projects take three days and only cost a few thousand dollars. Explain carefully that they have options. Detail the costs of materials, labor and products and show there are different quality levels depending on what is desired. Rather than stating a flat $50,000 price, let them make the choices on good, better or best.

2. Listen carefully: Give homeowners the chance to tell their story. They'll say they want a new kitchen, but it's important to ask probing questions to find out what they really need. Do they want to impress their friends? Do they want a place for the family to gather? Do they aspire to be a chef? When you know what they need, you'll be able to sell the value proposition better because you'll be meeting their expectations.

3. Silence is golden: Trying to close the sale at the appointment can be difficult. Homeowner fear is always present and makes the objections easier to deliver. So the more you or your reps talk, the easier it is to say no. Make your presentation, answer their question, ask your questions and don't worry about letting silence fill the void sometimes. Pause, wait and smile. You'll be surprised by how many people who will talk themselves out of their own opposition.

More people are taking on home improvement projects than ever before. But potential customers are doing their due diligence. They're looking up your company, your ratings and reviews. They're getting recommendations from friends and family. They are even talking to as many home pros as they can to make sure they get a good deal.

Take time to make it the beginning of a relationship rather than the closing of a sale. Talk to them and listen to them. Set your company apart from the competition, and you'll close more deals and earn higher profit. Once you overcome their fears, they will sing your praises far and wide.