Most situations are fairly clear:
Customer: I have to go pick up the kids from soccer right now. But I can’t decide between the Heritage Softail or the Fat Bob.
Salesperson: Here’s what we should do: Let’s set a time next week for you to come down and spend some quality time burning gas on both and then you can decide. I’ve got time on either Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. Do either of those work for you?
Customer: Wednesday would be great.
That’s an obvious application of the date, time and next step idea.
But what if the customer says something noncommittal? Like this:
Customer: I’m going to think about it.
Salesperson: You should — that’s part of the fun! I’ll call you in a couple of days to answer any questions you may have.
In this situation, the sales professional is metaphorically taking the customer by the hand and leading him or her through the darkness. That’s a next step.
(Note that the salesperson does not try to pin down a time, or force the customer to agree to the phone call. Take the soft approach; if you try too hard, you’ll seem desperate — and customers can sense that.)