Rescission is a malfunction of the sales process; something was left unsaid or wasn't clear to the homeowner. As an example, at the close, the salesperson assures the prospects that if they have any reason to change their minds, all they need do is “call the office.” In effect, the sales rep is inviting rescission. Why not instead ask those customers if there's any possibility that they might not honor the contract, and if so, to state their concerns so you can address them?

WHY CANCEL? Say the customer calls the day after signing to say they want to cancel the contract. The best response? Tell them, “No problem.” Explain that you will turn the matter over to the appropriate manager, who will return the paperwork. Then ask what the best time would be to do that. Explain that deposit checks and financing documents must be returned in person and require the receipt to be acknowledged by those who signed the contract.

DIFFERENCE IN VALUE Whoever returns the documents (manager or sales rep) should find out the real reason for cancellation. It usually has to do with value. The prospect believes he is paying too much (doesn't perceive the value). Possibly there is or was interference by a third party. At that point, there are several ways to recover the sale: Say your price was $12,000 and another company came in at $11,000. Sell the difference between your price and theirs as a difference in the quality or services that will be rendered.

Frequently, homeowners have misunderstood the salesperson, or key information was overlooked. Often the reason for cancellation is a weak or incomplete sales presentation. If the owners believe they can't afford $12,000, reevaluate the project and offer a downsized proposal, or use the “total-offer concept,” which breaks down products and services piece by piece. However you do it, having a cancel/save procedure in place can reduce rescissions by 25% to 30%.

—Dave Yoho is president of Dave Yoho Associates, the largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry, and is author of the recorded series: The Science of Successful In-Home Selling. Listen to a free recording on “The 7 Myths of In-Home Selling,” at