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The Art of Taking Notes During Sales Calls

Do you take notes during sales calls? We once conducted a survey that indicated 85% of clients think negatively of salespeople who don’t take notes. Chances are your clients are among them. But how do you take good notes while showing the client you are still fully engaged in the conversation? Here are some best practices:

Get permission—It never hurts to make sure that the client is comfortable with your taking notes. This is an especially nice gesture when the relationship is new or developing.

Write down key words—Trying to take down every word the client says is a losing battle. Instead, write down just the key words that capture the client’s most important points.

Enhance your notes later—Your notes may not make sense when you look at them in 30 days, especially if they contain mostly key words. Review your notes after the meeting and enhance them so they are clearer and more detailed. Type them up and put them in the client file for future reference.

Maximize eye contact—Don’t spend too much time looking down at your pad while the client is talking. Stay focused and maintain as much eye contact with the client as possible. You’ll look much more interested and engaged.

Know when to put the pen down—Pay attention to where the conversation is heading. If the client starts talking about his or her boss, confidential information, or another sensitive topic, stop taking notes right away. The general rule is to not write anything you wouldn’t want the client to see. We’ve heard horror stories about sales professionals who had to deal with the fallout from a client accidentally spotting their notes.

Don’t take notes in social situations— Note-taking detracts from the social atmosphere at events like lunches, networking sessions and trade shows. If you’re in one of these situations and hear something important, just remember what was said and write it down later.

Do you take notes during sales calls? What are your best practices?

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