You’ve made the phone call, you’ve set the appointment and you show up for the initial sales meeting. Now, what do you do next?

Here are five steps to conducting an outstanding initial sales meeting.

#1. Set an agenda. A sales meeting should always have a very clear and specific agenda that you intend to follow during the course of the meeting. Be clear on how long the meeting is going to last. Explain what you’re going to focus on, and make sure that you ultimately understand what the attendees are looking to accomplish during the meeting.

#2. Take notes. Salespeople think that they can just sit there and listen to the prospect, but the reality is that any professional salesperson should take notes during the course of the meeting. Note taking accomplishes two things: One, it shows the prospect that you are listening closely, and two, it eliminates the hassle of trying to remember every single detail because you’ve written down all the key information.

#3. Focus the conversation on the prospects’ challenges and goals. The initial sales meeting is not a time for you to be pitching all the features and benefits of your product or service. Instead, focus the conversation on the prospects’ challenges and the goals that they are seeking to accomplish by investing in a product or service similar to yours.

#4. Have a scripted set of questions. Everyone understands these days that you are supposed to ask questions of prospects, but do you know exactly which questions you should be asking a prospect?

Don’t wing it during the course of the sales meeting. Script out seven to 10 questions that you must ask the prospect in order to understand whether or not that person is truly qualified to do business with you.

#5. Schedule a follow-up appointment during that meeting. During the course of that initial meeting, be sure that at the conclusion—if there is still a fit—that you schedule a second meeting during that initial meeting.

This means that you must never walk away from a meeting without a very clear next step. Things can often fall off track if you don’t have that clear step. So be sure to schedule your meetings during that initial meeting.

The sales professional needs top-flight preparedness in the initial meeting. By following these five steps you’ll be able to conduct absolutely outstanding initial meetings and thereby dramatically increase the likelihood of closing a sale. Which of these five steps do you consider the most important? Please share below in the comments.

Get 25 tips to crush your sales goal. Written by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist & author of the book, "Game Plan Selling."