Read Part 1.
Getting someone back out to the house to resell that job isn’t easy. You do it by saying something along the lines of: “What I’d like to do, as the sales manager, is stop by and see if there’s a way we can restructure the job to make it fit within your budget. Is 6:30 or 8:30 a better time on Thursday night?”

Why is all this worth it? Think about the arithmetic. If your salespeople are closing two out of 10 leads, a good rehash program can bring that up to 3 or 3.5 leads.

When salespeople fail to bring back the contract, it’s often because they’re in a hurry. They’re distracted by all that they know they need to do, and so they forget, or omit, key parts of the presentation. The walk-around, or needs analysis, typically got short shrift, and it’s here where value is established. Part of the sales process is the creation of need. A salesperson’s job is to point out problems and promise solutions. Those solutions turn into business opportunities. For instance, the salesperson might walk right past a disintegrating entry door on his way to the kitchen and never notice it. Or he might notice, but fail to mention that the door is old, warped, and leaking heat because he didn’t want to blow his chance for the window or siding sale.

That’s why it’s important, for instance, to do more than just measure the windows. You need to actually take homeowners with you while you not only measure openings but operate the existing windows. I was once in a house where the homeowner kept three different lengths of sticks by the window to prop it up. Stick length varied by season. Windows painted shut are common. You’ll see windows where the curtains move when the wind is blowing outside. All these are reasons to replace.

Whoever makes the rehash call is going to have to be a stronger closer. He needs to be savvier. He’s going to package things to make the sale more appealing. In many instances — about a third of rehash situations — he may not only sell the job for the original contract price, he’ll sell it for more.

The logic of rehash is irrefutable. When you get right down to it, anything that puts you back in touch with previous customers is a good idea. In that way, it’s like calling previous customers and inquiring whether or not they have any current home improvement needs. With a system in place, it could be a gold mine. But you have to have a program for recovering those lost leads. Who’s going to do it — the sales manager, the marketing manager, a rehash specialist — and how many nights are they going to devote to doing it? That’s why some owners see rehash as money they never had, and some see it as money they’re never going to have.

—Michael Damora has been the sales manager at several large home improvement companies. Reach him at

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