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You just made a great sales presentation. The probable purchaser gave you a ton of buying signals, but he wouldn’t commit. He ended the meeting by saying, “Call me on Tuesday at 10 a.m. I’ll have an answer for you.”

He’s not the decision-maker, Sparky. He has to go ask his “daddy” if he can buy from you, and you left the meeting with nothing but a pipe dream.

Want more pie in the face?

In spite of what you thought about your presentation, at the end you lost any chance to control the final outcome.

Picture this: You get to your office on Tuesday morning, eager for the “answer” Bill promised you at 10 a.m. You watch the clock as it reads 9:58…9:59… At 10 a.m. you dial Bill’s number and say, “Is Bill there?” A voice on the other end says, “Bill’s on vacation today.” You begin to cry.

More pie: You were in the prospect’s office. You made a great presentation. But at the end of the presentation, you dropped the ball.

You let the potential customer control your sales process when he said, “Call me Tuesday at 10 a.m.” And you, like a faithful sales dog, took his word for it.

What could you have said? What should you have asked for? What should you have done?

Right about now, every Monday morning sales genius is spouting an answer or two. But let me ask you to re-read the first few paragraphs above, and then tell me you were never in a similar situation — calling a customer at an appointed time, only to find out the customer wasn’t there.

Your pipeline is full of pipe dreams.

Here are a few things to do before you leave anyone’s office:

1. Get a cell-phone number.

2. Get an e-mail address.

3. Get the name of an administrative assistant and her extension.

4. Get the prospect’s direct voice-mail extension. (This is an indirect way of getting a direct phone number.)

5. Remember, the best time to call is either early or late in the day. And, oh yes…

5.5. Close the sale.

Why not try something you hardly ever do? Ask for the sale a few times before you leave.

Here are a few “friendly” ways to ask:

o I’ll call you at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. If you’re not there, I’ll just go ahead and enter the order.

o Do you really want me to call? Come on. You need this. You want this. The value is there. The timing is right. And I’m a great person.

o Please, I’ll be your best friend. (Beats what you say.)

o How about this? Mr. Jones, you say yes today, and I won’t enter your order until Tuesday at 10 a.m. If you don’t want it, just call me then.

You’re at the fulcrum point of the sale, but you lose your cool and get conservative. You try to “agree with the customer,” and walk away with nothing. Pathetic.

When you get the promise of a positive outcome and a seemingly enthusiastic probable purchaser, ask a few questions before you exit. You might walk away with the sale.

I told you earlier that part of the reason you didn’t get the sale is that the person you talked to isn’t the decision-maker. So when you get stalled or put off, ask: “Who pulls the trigger on this deal?”

It’s a powerful question that will almost always get you the truth. And when you find out who pulls the trigger, the call you make on Tuesday at 10 a.m. needs to be to that person.

The goal of a sales call is to make the sale, not to make a call-back. The challenge you face is in knowing how to take advantage of the buying signals and other sales openings that are usually handed to you on a silver platter.

However, your first objective is not to make a sale; it’s to make a friend. If you make a friend, then you can use the familiar (friendly) tools to get more of the honest answers you seek — and ask for the sale. How can you make a “friendly ask” if you haven’t made friends?

Free GitBit — Want to know what it takes to become friendlier? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time user, and enter FRIENDLY in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” offers licensed training programs to corporations and distributorships to individuals, based on his best-selling books and the TrainOne online learning series. He can be reached by phone at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at salesman@gitomer.com.

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