Lately I have seen salespeople (and other business people) walk into meetings without paper and pen. This is an enormous mistake, and I never expected I’d have to write a blog post about something so fundamental.
Signaling Your Self-Orientation
When you attend a client meeting without paper and pen, you are sending a signal. You are telling your client or prospect that you don’t really care about them, and that what they have to say isn’t really important. You are projecting that you are self-oriented, and that the most important things said during this meeting are the things you say.
If you really cared, you’d take some notes. If you intended to follow-up on the issues discussed, you write down the commitments that you made during that meeting. If you were going to share your notes with the rest of your team, the people who need to execute on your promises, you’d be taking notes that you could handoff to them.
Why You Need Notes
You want to be seen with paper and a pen. You want to be seen taking notes. You want your client to know that what they say is important to you, and that you are keeping a record so that you can take all of their needs into account as you move forward. If you miss something, you want to ask that your client repeat it so you can capture their ideas and their words.
You need paper and a pen to take notes. Or you need an iPad or tablet. Or a laptop computer. I like my tiny Macbook and Evernote because it allows me to cut and paste notes into my customer relationship software, and it allows me to easily forward the notes by email. But I know people who hate even the smallest screen between them and their client or prospect, and I understand why they feel this way.
On conference calls, I make sure to tell my clients that the typing they hear is me taking notes. I want them to know that I am not in my email (which I keep closed most of the day anyway) and that what they say is important enough for me to capture.
In business and in life, the small things can sometimes be the big things. Taking notes during a meeting may not seem important, but not doing so can send the wrong signal, one that can seriously damage your results.
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