Should you let the prospect take notes?

10 replies
Right now I'm working somewhere where it is customary for customers to shop around.

If I feel the prospect is taking notes on the phone, usually it means
"OK let's go shop! Sayanora!" at the end of the call. At least for me.

I might be wrong but I get the feeling it gets in the vibe of "customer service/educating the prospect call". and with that the salesperson kinds of lose control of the call and so it's harder to get back.

It's like the prospect implicitly ties down the salesman because they're mentally already down the path where they're going to shop around.

I remember Jason Kanigan told me how to handle it a long time ago but unfortunately my notes were on my old computer's hardrive which died in mysterious circumstances. I never really got that problem until now, and so I don't remember the details except that the short answer was "no".

So how (should?) you break that pattern?
#notes #prospect
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Nguyen
    Maybe this is a bad approach but there's nothing you can do anyway, if they want to do it on the cheap or just learn of you, they were never going to buy of you anyway. I have never ever done business with anyone that "wanted free knowledge". Sell on why it needs to be done and the benefits, but don't show them how. Most cases, even if you showed them how, the still won't be confident of doing it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    "So how (should?) you break that pattern?"

    Have you ever noticed that when you ask a question and then pause
    and wait for the other party to answer, in full, before speaking again
    that you control the conversation?

    Have you noticed that you also control the direction of the conversation?
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    • Profile picture of the author helisell
      Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

      "So how (should?) you break that pattern?"

      Have you ever noticed that when you ask a question and then pause
      and wait for the other party to answer, in full, before speaking again
      that you control the conversation?

      Have you noticed that you also control the direction of the conversation?
      As Ron says.......this is pro selling.

      As a pro we don't let the prospect take control.

      We maintain control by asking THEM
      questions and WE take notes.

      Are you thinking "but what if they ask me a question?"

      Makes no difference. A pro will simply ask another question
      and I'm NOT talking about...."Is that important to you?"

      AARRGGHHHH OF COURSE IT'S IMPORTANT...THAT'S WHY I ASKED.

      OP you may need to read some books on pro selling
      if you want to be in control of the sale.

      Good luck.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author jamesfreddyc
    I suppose it depends upon your sales process but if your prospecting calls lead to an appointment, demo.or close environment/meeting then you can qualify them prior to that actual sales call. For example, when I am prospecting for an appointment but get a sense they aren't fully committed for some reason, I will GET a commitment:

    "John, can you give me a yes or no after I demo this for you?"
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    I'm not nearly as good at sales tactics as the people who have already answered you but...

    If prospects are consistently leaving a company's presentation to go shop around, isn't that a clear indicator there is something wrong with the value proposition?

    To me, it means either there is something wrong with the product, or there is something wrong with the way it is being presented.

    The prospect thinks there is absolutely no difference between your product and the product of competitors. If you can give them things they will not get anywhere else, shopping around becomes useless.

    Unless this is a true commodity product?
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by socialentry View Post

    Right now I'm working somewhere where it is customary for customers to shop around.

    If I feel the prospect is taking notes on the phone, usually it means
    "OK let's go shop! Sayanora!" at the end of the call. At least for me.


    I might be wrong but I get the feeling it gets in the vibe of "customer service/educating the prospect call". and with that the salesperson kinds of lose control of the call and so it's harder to get back.

    It's like the prospect implicitly ties down the salesman because they're mentally already down the path where they're going to shop around.

    I remember Jason Kanigan told me how to handle it a long time ago but unfortunately my notes were on my old computer's hardrive which died in mysterious circumstances. I never really got that problem until now, and so I don't remember the details except that the short answer was "no".

    So how (should?) you break that pattern?
    When the prospect is taking notes, it means that they are in the "note taking" mode, and not the "Buying" mode. It's a sales killer.

    I can't tell you about taking notes on the phone, but I can tell you about them taking notes in person. If you ask several questions, they can't take notes. If you have them look one the computer screen at a website...they can't take notes.

    After a few minutes of them acting like they are going to take notes, the note pad gets set down,and they are engaged. They don't pick it up again.

    You only need to do this at the beginning.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    First I think people have to remember a few things about "taking notes"

    1. People have different "learning styles". And for some they have to write to learn.

    2. Studies have shown that when people take notes or doodle that it actually increases their attention.


    So taking note in and of itself is not an issue. In fact stopping someone who needs to take notes to pay attention could lose you the sale.

    The issues (if they exist) are...
    • "Taking Notes" (or learning) Mode Vs. Buying Mode
    • See You as Free Training
    • Using Notes to "Shop" You
    But all of these have more to do with you than the prospect.

    Ask yourself the following questions.
    1. Am I Telling Or Selling?
      Unless you are selling to engineers (or similar) you presentations should be about benefits not features. It also should be based on what they want not what you want to sell. You need to be focusing directly on benefits for them. They don't care what you will do or how you will do it. They only want the results aka the benefits. If you are tossing features out they may well be taking notes because you are overwhelming them...
    2. Am I Giving Too Many Details?
      Even if you are focusing 100% on benefits you may be giving them too many details. KISS is always your friend. In sales you need to provide just enough benefit to make what you sell worth more than what they will pay you.

      Many sales people wrongly believe they need to show all the value. Don't do that. Focus on the benefits they will value most and stop when you have shown enough value. They are just as likely to not buy if you show too much value as they are if you show too little.
    3. Am I Selling a Commodity?
      If what you are selling is a commodity they can shop around. So unless you are selling on price you are doomed.

      But a commodity does not have to be sold as one. Only you know what your customers want but you can use that to make yours different.

      Example: Loads of people sell web design. But very few people create "Online Lead Generating Portals for In Home Licensed Day Care Providers". Turn what you sell into something different.
      • Sell SMS Marketing services? Offer done for them services since most offer DIY solutions.
      • Sell Web Design? Focus on a niche and offer Online Lead Generation.
      • Sell EDDM? Offer High Impact Neighborhood Targeted Marketing.
    I know people may not like me saying this but what the prospect does while you are presenting (such as taking notes) has very little impact on closing. If you know how to sell and how to sell to people like them (yes matching your selling style to theirs matters) you will make sales regardless of rather or not they take notes.

    But that said I would guess that people are taking notes because you are overwhelming them with features. So fix your selling process and it will in most cases stop happening.
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  • Profile picture of the author James Hensley
    I read a book last night that sited a research case to test the impact that writing has on decision process. The hypothesis is that when someone announces something in writing then they will hold strong to that belief, even in the presence of contrary facts. So the study went:

    Group 1 was to remember a decision.
    Group 2 was to write their decision and then to erase it.
    Group 3 would write their decision down and then hand it in to the researchers.
    The findings were:
    Group 3 stuck with their decision over 75% of the time
    Group 2 about 50%
    Group 1 had the lowest stick rate

    Aaron makes a great point that some people just function this way, to prevent them from working it out their way means resistance..
    And I think Claude is right too about note taking vs. buyer mode..

    If their note taking people its probably best to steer them away from it with your pitch. But if you identify that they simply learn this way(note takers) and their gonna do it anyways, then maybe the best outcome would be to design an alternative script that uses note taking to your advantage. You could guide them into taking the notes that you want them to hold strong to.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    James brings up a good point on how you can tie it into selling.

    if you have a note taker use the note taking action to reenforce buying from you.

    If you are doing ROI Math have them write it down (may be a good idea to do for non-note takers as well). Have them write down the results they see from using this solution. Write down their goals. Etc etc.

    The act of writing something makes it real as demonstrated in the study he referenced.

    So use it to your advantage.
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    • Profile picture of the author 9999
      Example: Loads of people sell web design. But very few people create "Online Lead Generating Portals for In Home Licensed Day Care Providers". Turn what you sell into something different.
      Sell SMS Marketing services? Offer done for them services since most offer DIY solutions.
      Sell Web Design? Focus on a niche and offer Online Lead Generation.
      Sell EDDM? Offer High Impact Neighborhood Targeted Marketing.
      Offering a done for them service with multiple products will help you stand out.
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