What happened: I really prepared for the call. I had a great attitude, was feeling confident, and knew I had a good chance of selling because I had gathered a lot of information before the call.

But I kept getting sidetracked. The client said, "Let me show you this," before I could re-establish my agenda. I said, "OK, let's take measurements and some pictures and when I'm done I'll tell you about my company, talk about a budget, if it's appropriate, produce an estimate."

But despite being sidetracked, I signed the $12,000 job.

What I learned: I need to keep to my sales routine and my agenda in order to convey value and establish trust. --Guy Marzano

What the sales expert says: This case worked out, but generally, getting sidetracked is one of the biggest reasons for a "no sale." To be successful, you need two skills -- one sales-oriented, one production-oriented. You have to pivot between the two. Get too involved in the project, you're lost. Get too talkative, you're lost. Be aware of your sales process. Check yourself: Where am I? If you find yourself losing control, excuse yourself, go to your truck, take a mental inventory of where you are. If you can, call a mentor. If you have a really dominant customer, get out of the meeting and gather yourself. Restate your agenda.

The old rule of selling is you can't sell anyone you can't control. That sounds harsh. But people want to buy from confident people who are in charge. When you go to your doctor, you defer to him, right? That should be your mission: You're the doctor, you're in charge. Now sell. --Lon Bennett

Guy Marzano is a new sales rep with Case Handyman Services of Golden Valley, Minn. We'll recap his experiences over the coming issues. Lon Bennett is national sales manager with Case Handyman Services, Bethesda, Md.