Whether you're meeting with a decision maker on the phone or in person, you must make the most of the time you get. Here are five excellent suggestions for doing so from Tom Black, author of The Boxcar Millionaire.

1. Set a Reasonable Goal 

There's a natural tendency to want to "close the deal" when you're meeting with a decision maker. However, most business sales situations require more than one meeting to close a deal, if only because there is usually more than one decision maker. Find an appropriate goal for each meeting and achieve that goal in order move to the next step.

2. Never Repeat Yourself 

Many sellers are secretly afraid that the prospect won't believe what they're saying, so they start repeating themselves, hoping that repetition will add credibility. Unfortunately, repetition makes you seem unsure and uncertain. It's better to state your main points once, forcefully and with confidence, than repeating them like a mantra.

3. Don't Anticipate Objections 

Unless you are 100 percent certain that a specific objection is going to surface, don't surface it yourself and answer it. While prospects almost always have objections, you don't want to provide them with a laundry list, even if you're pretty sure that you've got the answers to everything on the list.

4. Clarify Vague Objections 

If a prospect stalls (e.g. "I need to talk this over with my staff") or surfaces a vague objection (e.g. "I'm not exactly certain this makes sense."), ask questions to clarify the situation so that you know how to proceed: "What issues do you think your staff are likely to surface?" "What particular part of this is giving you pause?"

5. Test For the Next Step, Then Ask

When you sense it's appropriate, check to see whether the prospect as an interest in buying. (E.g. "Does all of this make sense to you?") Once you're reasonably certain that the prospect is ready to commit to the next step, ask for the next step. Every minute that you hesitate past that point makes a successful close less likely.

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