Remember a time when we could hear something and then recall it later – like a phone number, a locker combination, a homework assignment, or a grocery list? Maybe not. Not everyone had this ability, but many people could do this when they were much younger. Nevertheless, this ability fades for many people over time.
One of the chief reasons that our memory for such details is not as strong as it used to be is that we have so much to remember now and our brains are crammed with information. There are so many more distractions today also – our senses and our brains are constantly received data in one form or another. We must process and then use or reject a huge amount of information in a day’s time. Just driving a mile to the store requires concentration that was not necessary years ago.
Another reason we likely aren’t as sharp in remembering trivial details might be knowing that we generally don’t have to actually remember a shopping list, a to-do list, or other items because we have written them down someplace or we have a spouse, assistant, or associate who can help us recall what we need to do. Most of us have calendars where we record important events, phone numbers to call, and places we need to be at certain times.
This brings us to a meeting with our clients. We are talking with them on the phone about the types of renovations they envision for their home, or we are meeting with them in their living room or at the kitchen table. This is not the only meeting we have this week. We have several, and it’s easy to get information confused. What we observed one place, or what the client, caregiver, or one of our strategic partners told us about what might be needed can get confused or transferred to someone else if we aren’t careful.
Notes – written notes – save us from embarrassing and costly mistakes by recording what we see and hear in real time as it is happening – not like a stenographer but enough that we can remember what transpired a day, week, or several weeks later.
There are four main benefits of taking notes when we are meeting with the client or a potential partner that we are thinking of doing business with – and these really are benefits rather than just features. First, when we write down what we discussed or talked about with our client, trade partner, or supplier, we can refer to our notes and refresh our memory – during the conversation. It keeps us engaged and shows that we are paying attention to the discussion. This also helps us strategize what else we want to accomplish on that particular contact as well as the next one with this person.
The second benefit is in the form of assistance. At some point, we likely are going to need help from a contractor, designer, OT, architect, consultant, or other professional (outside our area of expertise), and they need to be able to understand what the total picture and scope of the project is. When we need their help, we don’t want to try to recall details to share with them. We have it written down to give to them or read from as we bring them up to speed.
The third benefit also involves assistance. We may decide to take a vacation day – or even several days or a cruise. We may need to take a class to improve or retain our credentials or learn about a new procedure, code, or process. We might get sick or injured. We might have family emergencies to tend to. We might have too many appointments set.
Regardless of the reason why you might need help working with a returning In cases like these, someone else can jump in and help us (even if just for a few hours) by reviewing our notes and determining what has been discussed, suggested, recommended, or planned for the client.
Lastly, no one likes to repeat their story so a quick review of our notes before calling or meeting with the client again will refresh our memory where we are with this customer and what has been asked, discussed, or covered already. Why ask them to repeat what they’ve already told us, unless we just want to strategically confirm some of their information to make sure it’s current?
Taking notes is not a clerical function – it’s a sales management and business organization function. It allows us to be professional and to serve several people within a relatively short span of time within getting all of the details blended and confused.