Many people in the home improvement industry refer to something they call the “two-step close.”

Let me say right off the bat that there's no such thing as a teachable two-call close.

If you meet your prospect at his or her home to review the project or to do a needs assessment, and you then make an appointment to deliver a price or a proposal, these actions certainly represent a call.

Many times this may require you to set up a second appointment to make your presentation and deliver the proposal and price. Thus, the second or even the third time you visit the prospect's home, if it is then that you present your price and ask for the order, represents an attempt to close. And if you're fortunate enough to get an order, this represents a one-call close.

MORE THAN WORDS To some this may seem a matter of semantics. It's not. Good sales training requires that salespeople ask for the order, and the time to do that is after you've made a strong presentation and sold the value of your proposal.

What some consider a two-call close goes as follows: Salesperson presents the product and a price, but doesn't get the sale. Salesperson then returns at a later date and attempts to close yet again.

If this is your method, it's a disastrous way to train salespeople. If taught to think that leaving a price and relying on the customer to recall it is valid, your salespeople will likely be in for great disappointment.

SOFT SELL There are companies with a price niche that rely on a very soft sell and presume their low price will get the order. I have no argument with anyone who can make that work. But it doesn't work for most sales organizations.

None of the latter obviates the opportunity to rehash an unsold appointment or to regenerate interest with prospects who remain unsold. But to presume that a second-call sale is a prudent way to run a business is to ignore the principles of good, sound selling. —Dave Yoho is president of the oldest, largest, and most successful consulting group serving the home improvement industry;; 703.591.2490.