You knock. No answer. You ring the doorbell. No response. You call. The machine takes it. You've been stood up.

Do you reset the appointment?

“We're pretty solid with our confirmations,” says George Dunning, co-owner of Homefix Corp., in South Orange, N.J. “We call the night before and an hour before to confirm, and still 12% of the time people lie to us, forget they have an appointment, or the rep gets there and consumers see a professional in a shirt and tie rather than a guy in a beat-up pickup truck and think, ‘It's a salesperson. Hide!'”


In those cases, a Homefix staffer follows up. About 40% of the time, another appointment is set, and nearly 40% of those second appointments close. “We'll make a second call if there's a second no-pitch,” Dunning says. “But we won't do it a third time.”

At some companies, responsibility for rehashing no-shows falls to the rep who had the misfortune to knock when no one was home. Jorve Roofing, in Seattle, for instance, uses a two-step selling process. Step one is a measure call, which includes an attic inspection. Step two: The rep returns with a written proposal and gives his presentation. If, in either case, no one's home, then, says vice president Dale Burlingame, it's up to the rep to pursue it. “He didn't do anything wrong,” Burlingame says, “but he needs to see it through to the end.”

Many roofing customers, Burlingame points out, simply want — and expect — a price after a preliminary inspection. They believe that an estimator can generate a price without having to be in the house, and they'd rather not have the pressure of a sales presentation. But, Burlingame says, “we are not coming out if there isn't going to be someone there.” Though other roofing companies will gladly supply what Burlingame describes as “guesses” via mail slot or e-mail, Jorve Roofing will not. “If they never want to see us again, then they'll never get a proposal,” he says.


At Prairie Home Alliance in Washington, Ill., reps face no-shows in less than 5% of appointments. “We double-confirm appointments,” says managing partner Scott Spitznagle. “We call the night before, and if we don't reach them, we call right up until the appointment.”

If homeowners are still a no-show, reps must call from the premises to report it. “We'll call to verify that home owners aren't there,” Spitznagle says. “Sometimes, reps might have a ball game to go to and might say the homeowner wasn't home. That call is a double-check.”

If homeowners truly aren't home, the lead goes back into Prairie Home Alliance's system. “We'll try to reset the appointment,” Spitznagle says. “It's not like it used to be, that you had so many leads it didn't matter. We'll definitely try to get back in.”