Would you expect a skilled surgeon to also administer ongoing physical therapy? That might be akin to what you're doing if you allow your salespeople to hang on to leads after a presentation. When a presentation is made without a sale, most companies expect to quickly take that lead back and administer a separate process for rehash.

“Salespeople don't manage leads well,” says Les Stone, of RAMCO in Memphis, Tenn. “We give our guys 24 to 48 hours to go back and sell the deal if the homeowners want him back. If we're going to rehash that appointment, we'll want to line up a follow-up visit no more than seven to 10 days later than the original appointment.”

FOOT IN THE DOOR Most contractors will implement a rehash system to find new life in “sit-no-sale” leads. The primary goal of rehash is to get back in the home for another chance.

For Dan Merrifield of Lakeside Exteriors in St. Louis, that involves finding out why the sale wasn't closed in the first place. “The homeowners should get a call the next day so we can find out why they didn't do business with us,” Merrifield says. “There's always a reason.” No matter what the reason was for not doing business, chances are there's an alternative approach your system can take to get back in the home.

HASTE, NOT WASTE Realizing that leads are a valuable resource, some contractors are even more stringent with them.

“We let them hold the lead until 10 o'clock the next morning,” says Charles Gorse, general sales manager with Southern Industries in Augusta, Ga. “We schedule early, mid-, and late-day appointments, then at the sales meeting the next day at 10 o'clock, those leads go to the rehash department. I'll give them maybe one ‘get out of jail free' card a month, but otherwise we stick to it.”

Gorse agrees that sales-people are not programmed to be good managers of ongoing contact with leads. “If you allow them to hold on to a lead, they're not going to try to close it as strongly up front. Instead of doing the selling, they'll get sold by the homeowner on why it can't happen now.”