All too often getting the appointment is the crescendo of your sales training program and then things fall a little flat after that. Getting the appointment is just the entry to begin the sales process. It’s what you do during and after the appointment that determines the sale. In many cases, especially when the item involves a service is more expensive or binding, you won’t close the sale in one appointment; so it’s the next steps that really determine if you have a sale or no sale.

Meeting with absolute strangers can be a big mistake on several levels. First, they probably aren’t really even prospects so you’re wasting your time and theirs. Second, you need to know the people you’re meeting with well enough to have a pretty good idea of the ultimate result they want. This is very hard to accomplish if you’re making cold appointments with people you know little about. Ideally you want to be targeting very specific people that you know enough about to understand what they’re looking for or want.

Your sales training program should prepare you to be prepared. That means you need to plan ahead with some next step options that make sense for the prospect, and keep the sales process moving forward. Brainstorm some options you could offer your prospects that would help them to get the information they need to make an informed decision, commits them to some action, and results in a follow-up contact with you. For example, perhaps you leave them or send them a more detailed report that answers the questions they have, and that they can share with another party. Allow them a reasonable time to read the report and meet with the other person; and then agree upon a date, time, and location to continue the conversation.

Make sure you’re dealing with all of the real players. How often do you reach a point in the appointment when your prospect tells you they need to confer with another party? I’ll bet this isn’t a rare occurrence. From your sales training you know that’s a red flag indicating you aren’t dealing with the real decision maker. It happens and you have to recover so what do you do. Identify what you can do to get all the real players involved and committed to the follow-up. Now this is a sticky point where handled incorrectly you’ll get a whole lot of resistance and won’t be able to move forward. The only way the non-decision maker is going to help you connect with the real decision maker is if there is something in it for them. How can you make a meeting with all three of you a benefit to the non-decision maker? This is where you have to dig deep to understand the non-decision makers motivators. Do they want to look intelligent, do they want to demonstrate their ability to add to the bottom line, do they want to make other people happy, are they concerned about aesthetics, do they want to increase their power or position, or do they want to develop a better system? Use that knowledge to create a scenario where connecting you with the real decision maker is a win-win for both the non-decision maker and you.

You’re the sales professional. As a professional it’s your job to guide the buyer along the path making a smooth transition into closing the sale. All too often there’s a gap between today’s appointment and closing the sale that ends in no sale because you haven’t taken the time to properly prepare to move the prospect forward.

Author's Bio: 

Would you like to learn more about your sales skills? Try this Sales Skills Analysis and find out where your opportunities for improvement are.

Looking for success? find Success here.