It is very likely that if you do not take notes as the buyer speaks, you are a poor listener.
Every salesperson should take notes in client meetings. The more if you are a Business to Business (B2B) seller. Here are three reasons why.
First, taking notes amplifies your listening. It is very likely that if you do not take notes as the buyer speaks, you are a poor listener. And, tragically, most sellers are poor listeners. Keen on pushing their product, they do not listen to what the prospective buyer’s prognosis is. They talk too much, perhaps in the hope of overwhelming or badgering the buyer into succumbing to the pressure. Just as with a doctor, taking notes serves an as intervention to active listening. Experts say that when you take notes, you write what has been shared as you understand it; meaning that you have understood and processed it. As opposed to, say, a stenographer who types out verbatim everything that is said in court, and listens but doesn’t need to understand nor process what has been said, because she is not motivated to. We were taught how to read and write despite having eyes and hands. Somehow, we are not taught to listen, yet we have ears. Don’t rely too much on your listening abilities; let your note taking stimulate them instead.
Next, like me, you wouldn’t take seriously, a doctor who is not taking notes of what you are saying. And yet, if he were to turn the notebook towards you, you wouldn’t be able to read what is written. That’s how much faith we have in a doctor who takes notes. This is because we feel acknowledged, respected, accepted. Many executives take exception when their direct reports come empty-handed for a meeting they (executives) have called for. They feel disrespected. You likely get irritated by the waiter who keeps mixing the orders he takes from your table. Out of exasperation you are likely to admonish him with, “Arrgh! Si uandike!” (Write them down). In the same breadth, jotting down points on a presentable notebook during your interactions with the buyer, connects you to him. This connection is an intrinsic part of accelerating the sale.
Finally, the notes act as a reference point. The B2B sale requires several buyer-prospect interactions before the close. Depending on the product on sale, they could even stretch to more than a year. Therefore, as opposed to a nonchalant, “You had said something about Uganda in one of our meetings”, it is the mark of a professional salesperson, when you turn several pages and say, “When we met in April, you indicated that purchase of the transformers had been approved in principle pending the outcome of the elections; and, that you were looking at going into the Uganda market starting with Jinja. I’d like us to address these two aspects. Is this ok?”
The note taking is not done to impress the buyer. No. It is a record; it is a representation of respect for the buyer and a crutch to activating your listening skills. And all these contribute to accelerating the sale to a close.
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