To prevent rescissions, Mike Heisz, the sales manager of Better Living Sunrooms in Holman, Wis., ends sales calls with a bit of theater. He holds the newly signed contract in front of him with both hands, poised to rip it into shreds. Then he asks the homeowner a critical question: “Are you completely and totally comfortable with everything that we talked about? Because if you're not, I'll tear up this contract.” That, he hopes, will make homeowners think twice about canceling.

To Collect is Best Like most home improvement contractors, Heisz typically gets a down payment. In his case, it's 30%, which helps cut down on post-sale second thoughts. Selling the right way helps snuff rescissions before they get started. Most rescissions happen because the salesperson “cut corners” in the presentation, or because the salesperson's high-pressure tactics led the homeowner to sign so that they could get him or her out of the house, Heisz says. On the other hand, he adds, the best ways to prevent rescission are “a good presentation and being able to take the time to sit down with customers and go through all their objections to make sure they are comfortable with everything.”

Wilson Colonial Exteriors in Mundelein, Ill., is happy to take down payments, too. But general manager Jack McCann says that a thorough sales presentation and good communication with the customer are the reasons the company “almost never” has rescissions.

“The big thing is trust,” he says. “The customer has to trust you first, and once you develop that trust, everything else comes second. If they believe that what you're selling them is the best, and they can't get it from anyone else, they won't have buyer's remorse.”

Tap Into Their Emotions Arousing the customer's positive emotions is great for the sale, but reining them in can be just as important to keep the sale, explains Drew Field, marketing manager of West Coast Vinyl in Tacoma, Wash.

In the post-close, you have to bring them down gently. Go over what will happen next so there aren't any surprises and there aren't any unanswered questions before you go,” he says.

In other words, rescissions are easier to prevent than to cure. “While you are in the home, you still have some control of the deal. You can overcome objections and answer questions and still get it put together,” Heisz says.

“The second you leave the house, all those things are out of your control, and that makes it much more difficult to deal with them down the road.”