This works when we are initially meeting someone in their home, when we have a chance meeting with a potential client in public, or when they call us on the phone to discuss their needs or ask a question about our services. We don't have to strain ourselves or use memory tricks to remember their name, email address, phone number, or other important information. All we need to do is jot it down. It's that simple, but a process overlooked by so many people.
Tablets have made note taking a lot easier in recent years, but we should still use writing things down on paper initially. Our notes can be transferred to a tablet, notebook, or desktop CRM or app later.
There are three reasons that taking notes on paper is better than using an electronic device for doing it (especially when we are sitting with the client in their home): (1) our clients (particularly if they are elderly) may not have access to computers or trust them - they may not understand what is being done in their presence, (2) it takes time to type on the screen - even if we are very fast and know where all the boxes of data are located, and (3) it is discourteous to take time looking down at the screen when we should be engaging our potential client. By contrast, notes can be written quite quickly, don't have to be particularly neat (as long as they are legible) and can be done while glancing at the paper (rather than looking down for a period of time).
If someone who sees us taking notes asks us why we are doing this, the answer is simple. We don't want to forget anything they tell us. We don't want to ask them again for information they already have shared with us. We're not as young as we used to be and we don't always remember things as easily as we once did. To that point, however, make sure that it doesn't appear that we are taking dictation and writing down everything they say. This would be concerning to them. Do it as inconspicuously as possible but don't try to conceal the fact that we are writing down important details so that we can use that in putting together our proposal of what we think they need.
We should never find ourselves without a pen or pencil and something to write on - even if it's the back of a business card or a Post-It note. When someone calls us on the phone (even away from the office), we need to be able to make a quick note of their name so we can call them by name at least once during the conversation and thank them for contacting us by using their name at the end of the call. In public. if we don't have a notepad with us, we should have a business card we can write on. After the encounter, we can make notes on our smartphones. Some phones have the ability handwrite notes into them, and some will allow the typing in of notes. Another way of recording the information is to type it in an email and send it to ourselves.
Our clients are giving us information that we will want to use in suggesting a solution for them. We need to make sure we don't forget or overlook any important details - or give them the impression that their answers didn't mean that much to us. Therefore, taking notes is the smart thing to do.