I know companies that live on rehash — calling prospects who didn’t buy to find out why and selling their way back in — and I know companies that don’t do rehash at all. You can make the case for either approach. A lot depends on the size of the company, its culture, and its people.
Here’s the argument for rehash: You’ve already paid to familiarize that prospect with your company and your product. He/she said no. Why not give it another shot?
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The argument against rehash is this: I, the salesperson, am in the house telling the homeowner that this is my best product at my best price. The next night, someone’s on the phone saying that’s not our best price after all. If your company is known to rehash homeowners who turned down the salesperson the first time around and calling to offer a better deal, then customers are going to start holding out. They will be expecting that deal.
Both of these are powerful arguments. Here’s another consideration: If you have a great salesforce, you may not even need rehash as a revenue stream, since you’re already selling enough profitable volume.
Rehash as Postmortem
Whatever philosophy you go with, rehash — where someone from the company calls after the sales appointment to evaluate customer satisfaction — has another purpose. It is vital as a postmortem and a sales management tool. It’s where you find out who’s being naughty and who’s being nice. Did the rep show up on time? Was he polite? Did he show you the product?
It’s amazing some of the horror stories you hear. The rep who never appeared. The rep who was in and out of the house in 10 minutes. The rep who called right before the appointment to say that his wife was giving birth. Rehash is a way to weed out chronic non-producers.
About 90% of the time the reports from homeowners are fairly positive. They’re going to say: We loved him. Or: He was a nice guy.
Generally, if people didn’t buy on the first call, they’ll cite one of four reasons: the salesperson, the product, the company, or the price. The point of the rehash call is not only to monitor the behavior of salespeople but to pinpoint why that expressed interest in the product — a lead — didn’t convert to a sale, and find a way to re-state your case. The reason people didn’t buy is often price. What you’ll hear is something like: “Well, we really liked him, he did a great job, and we liked the product, we have no problem with your company, seems like a good company … but your price was really high”; or a little high; or somewhat high.
Bingo, now you’ve narrowed it down to the real objection.
—Mike Damora has been the sales manager at several large home improvement companies. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.