Should salespeople take notes during sales calls? People are different. They learn differently and they consume information differently. I've heard it both ways, "If you are writing notes, you can't also be listening," and on the flipside, some people would be lost without them. So is there a right and a wrong way?
While watching coverage of the Olympics in Rio, I came a cross the following short, one-minute interview with Mike Krzyzewski, affectionally known as Coach K:
Wouldn't that same advice apply to sales calls? Is everything the prospect says important? Can you really learn everything there is to learn if you have your head down in a notebook?Why not focus on what is important? And by important, I mean figure out what's important to the prospect, not you. Most sales people know just enough questions to ask to be in a position to transition the conversation to be about them, their products and their company. Learn to ask better questions. (you can get 100 of the best sales questions here)
For me, I now only write down things that I promise the prospect- If I promise to send them an article, or I promise to introduce them to someone. Those things I need to write down otherwise I won't remember until probably our next call, in which case I'd need to apologize for not doing something. Embarrassing!
One more thing...
There is another point that struck me while writing this article, which is Coach K was referring to a story from 1992. Well, you don't get to be chosen as a coach of the Dream Team if you have never accomplished anything, so I looked up what Coach K had accomplished up to 1992. Here is a brief list of accolades with Duke before his time with the Dream Team in the summer of 1992:
2× NCAA Division I Tournament (1991, 1992)
6× NCAA Regional – Final Four (1986, 1988–1992)
3× ACC Tournament (1986, 1988, 1992)
3× ACC regular season (1986, 1991, 1992)
1× Basketball Times National Coach of the Year (1986)
2× Naismith College Coach of the Year (1989, 1992)
NABC Coach of the Year (1991)
2× ACC Coach of the Year (1984, 1986)
That resume is something most college coaches can only dream of accomplishing over a lifetime of coaching. Yet, this accomplished professional coach still could use the help of a more experienced coach. Not because he wasn't capable of learning it on his own. I would think that he would eventually come to the same conclusion, but sometimes the advice of someone who has been there and done that can accelerate your own learning curve.
Wouldn't it be great if you could sit next to someone in your profession that understood both your successes and your struggles and was able to pull even more out of you? Chuck Daly did that for Coach K. Who's your Chuck Daly?