Sales Tip – Keeping track of the things discussed with customers
BP #12: Has a good system for keeping track of the things discussed with the customers. A best practice for sales people by Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.
By Dave Kahle
I am constantly amazed at the number of sales people who never take notes during or after the visit with a customer, thinking, I suppose, that they will remember everything important. Or worse, that nothing is important enough to actually remember.
A close second are those who, on occasion, realize the need to take notes, but who seem constantly surprised by that need, and unprepared for it. They find themselves using the backs of printed pages, the margins of selling literature, the backs of business cards, etc. to scribble cryptic remarks. The concept of a well-thought-out system has evaded them.
By the way, this is one of the benefits of a well-designed and comprehensive CRM system, which forces you to take good notes by requiring that you respond to the prompts and blank spaces of a computer screen.
A well-prepared, organized sales person needs to have a system that prompts him/her to take the right kinds of notes for every sales call, organizes that information so that he/she can take the necessary follow up action, and makes that information available in every succeeding sales call.
As a minimum, that system should include forms, either electronic or paper, to record certain aspects of the account that the sales person picks up from time to time – things like the number of employees, the type of equipment used, the position and title of the key decision-makers, etc.
Then, there needs to be a place to record the important aspects of the conversation. What did you talk about?
Finally, there ought to be a place to record the action items that came out of that conversation. Do you need to call someone? Check on something? Arrange for something? These “to dos” should also be kept in a duplicate file, with the date by which you promised to have them completed.
Finally, you ought to record those things that you want to take up in the next sales call. That information should be readily assessable so that you can plan for it as you prepare for the next time you see this customer.
There are various mediums on which this information can be recorded. Some people will use paper, others will use smart phones or tablets, while others record everything on a laptop. With the sophistication of today’s computer systems, there really is no excuse for a sales person not to be conscientiously and systematically recording, storing, and using meticulously gathered information from the customer.
It’s a regular practice of the best.
To learn more about this best practice, review:
- chapter eight of Eleven Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople
- chapters four and five of How to Excel at Distributor Sales.
Copyright MMXIV by Dave Kahle
All Rights Reserved