Q: When only one party is present, should I still try to close the sale?

A: For years I've surveyed my audiences and asked how many who are married or have significant others would purchase a remodeling project for $5,000 or more without the other party being involved. Usually 2% to 5% raise their hands. If the spouses were there, that would drop by half.

Nine times out of 10, it's the lady of the house who makes the appointment. The man wants nothing to do with it until there's money on the line. The best salespeople realize that getting both parties to commit to being present is the first thing they have to sell. If they can't, most will still visit, primarily to gather data for the second appointment, when both are there.

Track how many "one-leggers" you sell and how many you don't. The odds of closing a "one-legger" are about as good as drawing an inside straight in poker.

All any salesperson wants is a chance to tell his story. You'll see sales rise when you become skillful at getting both parties there.

--Phil Rea is president of Phil Rea and Associates, a firm offering sales consulting, motivational speaking, and a monthly newsletter. (866) 441-7445; philrea@aol.com.