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5. Kill them with courtesy
David Lefkovits, owner of LEFKO Renovations in Atlanta, avoids standard pitch letters. Instead, when he starts a home-remodeling project, he writes to the neighbors, saying that he wants to avoid inconveniencing them. He invites them to call him personally with any complaints. Many save his letters and, impressed by his courtesy, hire him later. The profitable four-year-old firm now has seven-figure revenue and sales growth of 20% to 40% a year.

--Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.

This article is from the December 12, 2011 issue of Fortune.
By Verne Harnish, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 06 2011: 6:02 AM ET
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