Are you losing more of your sales than you should to cancellations? Generally, the more expensive the product, the more likely that is to happen. Still, whether it’s a $3,500 gutter job or a $35,000 kitchen, people change their minds.

There’s one sure way to ward off that cancellation, and that’s for the prospect to internalize, as his or her own, the values and beliefs the salesperson is sharing; they take it to heart.

To make that happen, a sales rep has to identify and remove whatever objections might be lingering after the sale is complete. A survey of the homeowner’s wants and needs can establish what they’re looking for.

Find the Objection

Take windows, for instance. Say the homeowners mention in the course of the presentation that they never finance anything. Or that if they did buy, they’d have to go to the bank or credit union to get the money. Remove that objection — we can’t afford it — by mentioning that you offer 90 days same-as-cash.

Or say the objection is that they heard they could get similar windows for half the price from a national company. Show that that national company’s prices aren’t really that low, and that if they were, chances are the windows might need to be replaced more than once.

Do you see where I’m going? Find the objection and tackle it. You don’t eliminate rescission by avoiding the objection. Find out what the objection might be and address it head-on.

Their Right To Reject

If you don’t tell the homeowners in the course of the presentation that they have the right to cancel — and get their written acknowledgement that they were informed of this — then they can legally cancel at any time, including after you’ve ordered the materials.

Mention their right to cancel at the beginning, reiterate it when you’re talking about your company, and explain again before you ask for their signatures on the rescission form. Make the fact that your company discusses this a strength. Many companies, and most small tradesmen, will not mention it.

Establish & Reiterate Value

Key to preventing rescission is establishing value for the price you leave on the table. Talk about all the positive aspects of the job that competitors can’t talk about. You have a transferable warranty, a manufacturers’ warranty on the product, you’re offering financing, you carry a superior product.

Remember that you’re up against every major decision they’ve made in their lives. You’re also up against the opinions of their family, friends, and neighbors.

There are ways to anticipate that. The best is to flat out ask: Is there anyone else who has an interest in this project that I should be sharing this information with? See if it’s possible for that person to be at the appointment. If not, get him or her on the phone.

Second Line of Defense

Here’s a second line of defense: the Cancellation Pack. That consists of all the documentation, including checklists, plot plan, product specifications, etc., associated with the project that make it worth that price. This could come in handy. I once sold a certain Sergeant Cox a deck for $9,000. The day after the sale, Sergeant Cox is at the Pentagon, where he works, and his boss, the colonel, tells him: “Hey, you can get that same deck for three grand. You made a rash decision.” Sergeant Cox showed him the cancellation pack with all the key features of the presentation. He could explain it to the colonel because he saw the benefit himself.

Result: no rescission. Tommy Steele has been selling home improvement jobs for more than 26 years in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. View his website or contact him at