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Published:November 24th, 2009 16:30 EST
Setting the Ground Rules for Your Sales Call

Setting the Ground Rules for Your Sales Call

By Dan Goldberg

Experience has taught us that if we`re not prepared before going to an appointment, then we`re probably wasting time. Since you`re a professional, as is the person you`re going to see, the one thing you don`t want to do is waste time.


A key element of being prepared is setting and understanding the ground rules for the appointment. All sporting events have ground rules that regulate the behavior of all the participants. But when it comes to sales calls, you should set up the ground rules that will govern the meeting during your initial contact. Here`s a brief list of some key ground rules you can use to make your next meeting go smoother.


·         establish a time frame and time limits for the meeting

·         request that there are no interruptions during the meeting

·         establish your agenda and your prospect`s agenda


Once you arrive at the meeting, it`s time to implement the rules. You could start the meeting by saying, Thanks for inviting me in or thanks for inviting me to meet with you today. " Doing so, you are perceived as a guest.


People always treat their guests better than someone they feel is intruding on their space or time. You always have a better rapport with a guest than if the meeting is viewed strictly as a salesperson/prospect situation.


Next, review the agreed upon time frame for conducting the meeting. When the session starts it is wise to say, We agreed to set aside an hour for this meeting, we`re still OK with that right? "


Follow with the request to eliminate interruptions.

Since we`ve limited our time and we`re both busy, I hope we won`t be interrupted. Can you please make sure of that? "


At this point it`s time to review the agendas. In your initial phone conversation, you will have asked your prospect/client to Write down some questions to discuss at our meeting and if you don`t mind I`ll do the same. This way we`ll have thought about things and be prepared. Is that ok? "


You can address your contact`s agenda by saying, What are you hoping to accomplish today (or in the next hour)? " Introduce your agenda by saying, My objective is to ask some questions and see if there`s a fit between us. If you think that it doesn`t make any sense to move forward or I don`t feel there`s a fit by the end of the meeting I`ll tell you, would you be ok with telling me? "


End the initial ground rules discussion by stating your biggest concern.

An example might sound like, Before we get started I have a big concern that I`d like to share with you, if that`s OK. It`s that we may not have the lowest prices. Some people only care about price while others are more concerned with cost (at this point you may need to explain the difference between cost and price as it relates to your product or service). Which group do you fall into? "


By asking for answers throughout the review of your ground rules you`ve positioned yourself for an easier, more informative and much more conclusive meeting.


Over the years I`ve seen variations on this theme used by hundreds of sales people on their road to success. Try it. It works!


Dan Goldberg, MBA, is a keynote speaker and the President of Dan Goldberg Consulting, L.L.C. a training, coaching and business development firm located in the Philadelphia, PA area. He is the author of the book, Lighten Up and Lead, " co-author (with Don Martin) of the book, The Entrepreneur`s Guide to Successful Leadership, " and author of The Six Steps To Solid Sales Success " and The Seven Elements of Successful Management " programs and the audio tape Growing A Successful Business ". You can contact him at, visit his website at or reach him at (215) 233-5352