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How to take sales notes and why it's important

sales tips

Sales notes in a CRM

Taking notes on your sales calls and meetings is really important. Taking notes in general is really important. They allow you to crystallize your thoughts into the important points and help you and others understand what’s just happened and what your plan of action going forward is.

The most important reason for why we take sales notes

But there’s one giant reason taking notes is non-negotiable. We’ve been there time and time again where we’ve agreed something on the phone and then the client forgets or we’re not sure and we have to have another meeting to come to terms again.

After calls and meetings, take your notes and send a recap email to the client that covers the important points and the agreed upon actionable items. It’ll save you so much time and trouble down the road, it holds everyone accountable and is concrete proof of what was agreed.

A few weeks down the road, hell a few days down the road most people will forget at least half of what was said. Life just throws more and more stuff at you and you can’t hold everything in your head, so knowing that take note of taking notes and parroting them back to the relevant parties.

They’re for your team not just you

Have you ever made a note, let’s say in your phone and come back a few weeks or even a month or two later then read it and gone what the hell does that mean?

I have, and almost always the reason is because I was lazy and wanted to save time by writing down the thing I wanted to note down in as few words as possible. In that instance I knew what I was referencing but today, no idea. That means that note is completely useless, I don’t even know if its important or not.

When you make notes don’t just write them for yourself using shorthands that only you know, or that only make sense in that moment and is not part of your regular vocabulary. Always write your notes as if someone who doesn’t know anything about what you do will be able to get the gist of what you’re saying.

Plus information is only useful when it can be used by you and others. You want your notes to be clear and concise so that other members of your team or your sales manager can read them and understand what’s going on quickly no matter how long after creation they look at it.

Keep it brief and to the point

Do you know why I love bullet points?

Because I don’t need to skim a giant paragraph to find what I’m looking for. Keep your notes brief and to the point, the simpler you can make them the better. So if that means bullet points for the key items such as tasks that need to be done before the next call or meeting then do that.

Your job is not to be a stenographer, you’re not in a courtroom. You just need to make a highlight reel - that means you have to know what counts and can make the cut, is it the prospects buying cycle? Whether he or she dislikes one of your sales team? Their budget or whatever it is that’ll move your sale forwards and is relevant?

One great rule of thumb is note down the answers to questions you need answering. It seems obvious but in the moment you get the answer you feel satisfied, and you now know the answer but in a month’s time you’ll likely forget and whoever’s not in the meeting definitely does not know so note it down.

There’s nothing worse than asking a prospect the same question again and again. It makes you look bad.

Make note taking a habit

Housekeeping is boring (there are people that enjoy it) but it needs to be done. Treat note making the same way. You want to turn it into an unthinking habit that you always do, sort of like shifting gears in your car. When you’re starting out you have to keep looking down to make sure you’re in the right gear but over time it becomes like second nature and you instinctively know.

One trick might be to just automate it with a CRM. For example, when you make calls out of RealtimeCRM it prompts you to make notes on the call and it’ll attach it to the relevant contact record with the date and time of the call already pre-filled for you. You can even create tasks off the back of the note too.

RealtimeCRM sales call note

Whatever it is, software or having a notepad in front of you just get into the habit of taking notes. Though in the case of pen and paper it won’t be searchable and its more difficult to share information with others.

But I still don’t believe in the power of note taking

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

  • Notes are useful so that you can create recap emails so that you have proof in writing of what was agreed with a prospect.
  • Make sure your notes are clear and can be understood by others not just you otherwise they’re not useful.
  • Keep them brief and on important points as well actionable items only.
  • Style your notes to be as quickly understood as possible i.e. use bullet points to list tasks that need to be done
  • Make note taking a habit, whether it’s having a notepad to hand on all calls/meetings or using software
  • Some people enjoy housekeeping, it’s true.

Yeah so I just summarised this entire article in a few notes. You could have just read those notes and saved yourself from having to read the whole thing.

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