Are the sales opportunities in your current sales pipeline “moving” or “stopped”? It’s really easy to tell the difference. Take a look at your day planner, or personal digital assistant (PDA), or whatever you use to schedule appointments. Do you have a date and time on your calendar for each opportunity when you will next meet or speak to your customer on the phone? Do they have that date and time on their calendar too? I’m sorry to inform you, but if you don’t or they don’t, your sales opportunity is not moving; it’s stopped.Everyone in professional sales battles with this constantly. A couple of the opportunities in my own sales pipeline are stopped right now. But when you or I allow any active sales campaign to stop, we are taking a huge risk. It’s possible that it will never start up again.I like to think of it as if I am a doctor, and my patient has gone “flat line” on me. If we let an opportunity stay flat, we sever any momentum we may have generated. And if it stays flat too long, that opportunity will die, or at least sustain serious brain damage. If an opportunity that you believe in has stopped, get it moving again immediately! Call your customer right now and get on their calendar. Shock ’em back to life. “Clear!”Get an appointment scheduled with every qualified sales prospect in your pipeline . . . today! Do not let another day go by. When it comes to scheduling the next step with your customer, the sooner the better. Even if the scheduled meeting is a month out, get it on the calendar because it’s easier for you and your customer to keep a previously scheduled appointment than to schedule a new one. And it’s harder for your customer to cancel a scheduled appointment than to simply ignore your request for a new one.Remember, this practice is good for your customer, too. They probably want to reach some resolution on the buying decision at hand as much as you do. Keeping the next appointment booked helps them stay focused as well.At the end of every meeting with every sales prospect, schedule your next meeting or event before you leave. You know what happens if you don’t. You call them the following week, and their assistant says, “I’m sorry, Mr. Johnson is in Europe all this week.” So you call the following Monday and you hear, “I’m sorry, Mr. Johnson was in Europe all of last week and he has back-to-back meetings all day.”So, you wait a few days, because you don’t want to appear desperate. When you call again the assistant tells you, “I’m sorry. Mr. Johnson is out until Tuesday of next week.” On Tuesday you connect with Mr. Johnson and schedule your next appointment for the following Tuesday. Meanwhile, four weeks have gone by with no forward motion.Some of the excess time in our sales campaigns is our own darn fault. To drive time out of the process, keep your sales prospect moving. Book your next appointment or correspondence at the end of every meeting or phone call.