During the discovery phase of the sales process, you’ll be asking your prospect a lot of questions. Not all of us have a memory like a steel trap, so taking notes is crucial. Your good notes will help you develop the right pitch. In addition, your notes will allow you to clear up any confusion as you lead your client deeper into the sales funnel.
Obviously, the main benefit of taking notes during a sales meeting is giving you a crystal clear list of every important thing you discussed. Good documentation will help you create a personalized sales journey for the prospect. It can also help you catch whether your prospect is lying to you and help you address the situation amiably.
Another benefit to taking notes, according to an article by Salesforce, is that it’s, “one of the surest ways of demonstrating you’re taking in what a customer says,” and shows customers that you’re “alert and engaged.” But this benefit of note taking will only come into play if you’re having an in-person or online video meeting with a prospect.
Taking Good Notes
Notes to Yourself
C. Lee Smith, CEO of SalesFuel and author of SalesCred, says that, “When talking with a prospect and client, whether you are in discovery or negotiating to close a deal, be sure to write down everything they say. It's also helpful to write your thoughts about their comments at the same time. You may have a key insight that you can return to at another point in your interaction with the prospect.”
For example, if you and your prospect begin discussing an area of their industry that you haven’t previously researched, you can glaze skim over the subject that day, but be sure to jot a note to dig deeper into the subject before your next meeting. Or perhaps your prospect isn’t too confident in your product or service because of a disillusionment they have about their own industry. You may know it’s BS in the moment, but don’t have the research readily available to support your claim. Make a note to yourself to email the prospect an article on the subject later. Taking notes reminds you of follow-up actions you need to take to keep the prospect engaged.
“Capturing everything the prospect says allows you to return to the details of the conversation at a later date,” says Smith. “At that time, you can study what they did and didn't say and determine how you want to proceed from there."
The Finer Details
Salesforce also points out that the information you write down while taking notes should extend beyond what is verbally said. During your meeting, pay attention to your prospect’s body language and tone of voice. If the meeting is in-person or over video chat, “a good sales rep will take note of the things they say that make customers frown, flinch or look confused,” writes Salesforce. “More positive signs, like smiles or a sense of excitement should be duly noted, too.” And if the meeting takes place over the phone, “you’ll want to note changes in their tone based on how the conversation unfolds. Note any long or sudden silences that a particular topic or point provokes.”
In addition to noting the prospect’s body language changes, job down your initial thoughts about exactly why you think they reacted in this way and how you can address the concern in your next encounter with them.