I have been in sales for 36 years now and have held over 8,000 meetings with prospects and, let me tell you, I have said statements like these to myself many times about taking notes in meetings:
- If I take notes, it might ruin my mojo with the prospect.
- Steve, why don’t you just rely on your memory instead of sitting here taking notes.
- Steve, why take notes? You can’t read your own writing anyway.
Let me tell you, there have been many times where not taking notes didn’t work out that well for me. When I didn’t get all the information right, it affected the quality of my executive summary and proposal and cost me some opportunities.
So here are five reasons why taking notes in your meetings matters.
Number 1 is that it demonstrates to the prospect that you want to get it right – An ancient Chinese proverb says that “the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.” When you’re meeting with a prospect, they expect you to get it right, especially if you are looking to earn their business.
Reason #2 is that it demonstrates to the prospect that you care and consider them to be important. I typically ask a prospect, “is it okay if I take notes”. I have actually never had a prospect say, “no you can’t”. Taking notes shows the prospect that what they say matters.
Reason #3 is that it demonstrates to the prospect that you are organized. I have discovered in working with people they like to work with people that are organized. That impression is reinforced through note taking.
Reason #4 is that it shows that you are not only asking questions but you are listening as well. By taking good notes, I am better able to reflect back my confirmation of understanding of what they have told me in a meaningful way. These notes become the basis for my executive summary, which is the follow up document I send to the prospect within 24 hours of a meeting.
Reason #5 is that it helps you to create a better proposal. This first topic in our proposals is titled “Our Understanding”. I know from all the notes I took, from the first conversation I had with a prospect through all interactions, I am going to use those notes to build out the “Our Understanding” topic.
What to do? Start taking notes in your meetings with prospects. The time is now.