As a business coach, a lot of what I do is helping people with sales meetings. After all, if they don’t know how to sell, then they can’t make money. I know that may be hard for some of you to hear, but it’s the truth.

That being said, I’ve come to notice how some small business owners are wasting serious time during sales meetings. The end result is they’ve lost a significant amount of time and they haven’t closed a sale. Here are some of the ways to mitigate that so you don’t waste time on sales meetings.

Take less in-person meetings.

Depending on what kind of business you have, you may want to stop taking sales meetings in person. For example, I’m a writer and consultant. I don’t really need to meet you in person to get the information I need – especially when I already know it’s going to lead to a waste of time.

I’m so strict about this that I refuse to take in-person sales meetings. Granted, this is because I’ve had plenty of experiences of having my time wasted and now know better.  That’s why if you want to meet with me, it needs to be over the phone. That way I can control the structure and time of the meeting.

Have an application process.

Another way to waste less time on sales meetings is to have an application process. In my case, I have an application everyone who is interested in a consult must fill out. This helps me weed out people who are not ready for my services so I don’t even have to waste my time. The application itself also serves as a good structure for sales meetings so that I conduct them quickly.

All you have to do is set up an opt-in page (that way they get on your email list) and direct them to a survey service like Typeform. Some of these services allow you to create a point system so you can redirect people who don’t pass to another offer instead of your calendar.

Set boundaries.

As a business owner, you must value your time. Quite frankly if you don’t do it then no one else will. The first step is to learn how to set boundaries and take control of the call.

You see, many business owners let the prospect run the show. This usually means four hours of their lives are wasted on someone who won’t even pay you. As business owners, you need to become savvier about this and learn how to direct the sales meetings.

I already mentioned how using an application can help with this, but there are other things you can do too. For example, use the clock to your advantage by saying things like “We’re coming up on the X-minute mark” and getting to the point.

Of course, you don’t have to be rude about it. The key is to be direct in your actions and kind in the delivery. At the end of the day, it’s about being respected as a business owner (which by the way, usually leads to an easier sell.)