One of the challenges with telephone selling is listening.
Listening is tough in a non-face-to-face situation because it is easy to get distracted and hard to stay focused especially if it’s the 23rd call of the day. The net result is that key points are missed, certain questions are not asked, important objections are never answered, follow up items are forgotten, and action items and details are lost.
And that is how YOU lose sales.
The Secret to Listening
The secret to improving your listening ability on the telephone is to listen with a pen in your hand and a pad of paper on your desk. Take notes.
Not a very exciting or sexy solution, is it? But it really is THAT basic, THAT fundamental and THAT effective. Taking notes in a journal or on a sheet of paper is common sense and has been around for about five or six centuries but in this ‘high tech’ age it seems to be a skill that has been lost or forgotten or ignored.
Taking notes may not be new but it is still is a hela ‘uva way to improve your listening, become more attentive and make more sales.
10 Good Reasons Why You Should Take Handwritten Notes
1. Taking notes forces your head down. You can’t peer out the window. You can’t see the commotion around you. You don’t notice your buddies goofing off. You are less liable to get distracted or flustered. This creates greater focus and concentration!
2. With a pen in your hand you can jot down questions that you want to ask the client without interrupting him or her. If the client babbles on, you won’t forget them.
3. When your client tosses out an objection or expresses a concern, you can note it. Put a star beside it, circle it or underline it. And then, when appropriate, you can return to it and address the issue. It won’t fester.
4. Taking notes is interactive. You are using your ears AND your eyes AND your hand. You triple, your focus and triple your comprehension and retention.
5. With notes, you can summarize your clients’ situation, problems or opportunities. They’ll be stunned, amazed and delighted with your thorough and comprehensive recap. This will give them immense confidence in you and your abilities. Makes you look smart. It gives you a competitive edge.
6. Taking notes reduces the chance of errors in an order, quote or proposal. This saves you time and hassle. And embarrassment.
7. You can use the notes to thoroughly debrief your manager if you need to discuss an issue or an opportunity.
8. Handwritten notes provide a permanent record that can be accessed anytime. You can go back and review the discussion whenever necessary … for whatever reason. Nice ‘insurance’ policy for any number of reasons.
9. Notes allow you to gather important data such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, web sites, quantities, colors, sizes, …whatever. Your accuracy improves.
10. Note taking on paper allows you to group ideas and information. For example, if the client expressed three concerns over a 3 minute dialog, you can group those three concerns together to ensure that they are covered.
Keying Data on Your Computer?
Sure, you can take notes on a computer. But most people don’t type that well or that fast. They get fatigued trying to keep up… and so they quit. Often there is little room for notes. Sometimes there’s no room for notes at all. Keying is not nearly as efficient or effective.
But here’s the important thing. The notes you take by hand are not necessarily the notes you place in your customer profile. The notes by hand are designed to get you listening and keep you focused. The information you put in the computer is the data you want permanently stored; data that others can see and use. Don’t confuse the two.
Action Item and Summary
Go out and buy a proverbial black book; a binder; a journal; a ringed notebook … anything…something upon which to jot your notes.
Have the book open every time you make a call. Start take notes, become a better listener and become a better telesales rep.