Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Relying On Our Memory May Not Work So Well Anymore"

Generally speaking, when we meet people that are looking to engage us to remodel or renovate their homes to provide aging-in-place solutions or universal design treatments - or have us evaluate what needs to be done in their homes (owned or rented) so they will know where they stand about moving forward with possible improvements - they don't come with a questionnaire already filled out. They don't go online or locate a form elsewhere that lets them detail everything that concerns the. That is our job.

Therefore, we have to ask questions, listen intently, make observations, and then form some opinions about our observations and what has been shared with us.

To make sure we don't miss anything they tell us or that we remember our observations, we take notes. We may also take a few digital photos, but mostly we take notes - written down or dictated orally.

We aren't teenagers anymore. There was a time for most of us when we could remember phone numbers of friends, locker combinations, schedules, homework assignments, addresses, appointments, birthdays, and other important (to us at the time) information without ever writing it down.

Of course, one could argue that we also had less to remember and fewer people counting on us. Nevertheless, as we age, the ability - and some people had more of this than others - to remember information to be able to retain, retrieve, and use it at-will fades over time.

There are three beneficial reasons for taking notes during a sales interview - the time that we are meeting and getting to know a potential client or customer and learning how, or if, we can serve them.

First, when we write down what we have discussed or talked about with our customers, we can refer to our notes at any time - then or later - and refresh our memory. This also helps us strategize what you want to accomplish on that contact as well as the next one with that customer.

Second, we might need help with that customer or client. We may decide to take a vacation day – or even several days or a cruise. We might get sick enough that we have to stay in bed. We might have family emergencies to tend to. There could other events or occasions arise.

Regardless of the reason, whoever pitches in to help – even if it’s just for a short time until we become available – can easily review our notes and determine what we have discussed or accomplished with the customer and what else might be needed while we are unavailable.

Third, when it’s been a while since we’ve talked with this customer or we’ve seen and talked with many customers since last speaking with them – a quick review of the notes will bring us right up to speed on where we are with this customer. 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 function. Unless we’re real good at keeping track in our head of everyone who has come through our front door or otherwise contacted us by phone or email, we’d better be relying on notes instead of our memory. It truly is the mark of a professional salesperson.


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.