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The Role of a Cell Phone During a Sales Call

"What do I do with my cell phone on a sales call?" was a question posed at one of our most recent sales seminars. It's a good one. Picture this:

You're meeting with a Whale -- your ideal prospect. Something good will inevitably come out of this meeting...if you perform flawlessly. The trust is there. The rapport exists. The information is flowing. Then, suddenly, your phone rings. The vibe is lost.

What role should your cell phone play during a sales meeting? Some argue that you should leave it in your car to avoid the distraction altogether. Others say having it available to you shows a level of responsiveness that a prospect should appreciate.
We believe that you should have it with you and it ought to be silenced. The reason? To set the definitive next step. You've worked too hard in your sales prospecting efforts to find this sales opportunity. In order to ensure closing the sale, you have no choice but to keep up the momentum! When it's time to set a follow-up phone call or appointment, you don't want to have to say, "well, Ms. Prospect, I'd love to set the meeting, but I need to go back to my office to check my calendar and call you back." Doing that puts the brakes on your efforts. Instead, you can say, "Let me pull out my iPhone [or blackberry, or whatever], and determine a good time that works for both of us." Always, always, always silence your phone. And don't set it to vibrate because that will only distract you. Your efforts must be focused -- like a laser -- on your prospect and what he or she wants to accomplish. What do you think the cell phone should be used for during sales calls? -@JebBrooks