My Memory is Like an Elephant’s
This is a Sandler Weekly Sales Tip from guest poster Shulman & Associates.
“And thank you for calling,” said Nick. Looking over the short notes he had made on the phone, on his ever-present legal pad, he added another reminder to get back to this prospect at work on Thursday morning at 9:30.
“I don’t know about you, Nick,” said Greg.
Nick looked up to find Greg shaking his head back and forth. “What don’t you know about me?”
“You and your legal pads. Everywhere you go the yellow pad follows you. Reminds me of an attorney.”
“Greg…” said Nick slowly, “it works for me. At the end of the day I just flip back through the pages and make sure that I haven’t missed anything and to remind me of what I need to do.”
“But your notes. Half of that stuff doesn’t matter. Besides, all you really need is one of those daily planners. You do know that the company will buy you one?”
“I tried one for a month and went nuts. The pages don’t give me enough room for everything I want to keep track of. And yeah, I know, the company will pop for one.”
“I bet half the stuff you write down doesn’t matter, and half of the other half you could remember. I know I do. I’ve got a memory like an elephant’s. It’s something you train yourself to do when you get serious about sales.”
“Appreciate your thoughts,” responded Nick, “but I’ve got to review some of this.” Nick looked back down and flipped some pages.
As Greg walked away, he was trying to remember what the fax number was of a prospect he had talked to that morning. No worry, he thought to himself, I’ll just call the lady later today and ask her again for it. She’ll appreciate the fact that I’m thorough. It sure will be quicker than wading through twenty pages of legal pad notes to find the same thing.
Greg grinned to himself wondering just how much more professional he must look with his daily appointment book when talking to prospects instead of the image Nick must make with his dog-eared legal pads.
Nick has developed a personal method of keeping track of what he has done during the day and, as a result, what he needs to do in the future. His method is not fancy, and it certainly does not cost him or his company very much money.
Nobody is picking on salespeople who use daily appointment books. Nor is anyone suggesting that yellow legal pads become the approved way for salespeople to keep track of what they are doing and need to do.
But salespeople must realize that their memory is not like a computer’s. You can’t access information anytime you want. Just keep in mind that there are only two types of computer users in the world. Those that have lost everything on the hard drive…and those that will.
While Greg may think his prospect, whom he has to call, will see him as thorough, the prospect may view him as a forgetful salesperson. “If he can’t remember my fax number, how is he going to remember the really important stuff?”
It matters not what memory method you use, as long as you write it down. You may type it into a computer program; you may write it down in a daily planner or even on a legal pad. The point is to capture the information so that you can use it later.
How many times have you heard the phrase, “I had a really good idea, but I can’t remember it?” Perhaps the idea had to do with a way of dealing with a certain type of prospect. Didn’t write it down? Gone forever.
It is possible to go to the other extreme. You only make five calls in five hours because you spend 45 minutes of each hour enhancing your notes. Be concise.
Nick has developed a personal method that works for him. Regardless of what Greg or anyone else thinks of the method, there is, finally, only one true measure of success in sales. Does Nick feel that the money he is currently making matches the monetary goals he has set for himself? If it does, this one aspect of Nick’s sales technique works. And he doesn’t forget fax numbers.
The amount of sales and prospect information you entrust to your memory each week will match the decrease in the income you generate each week.
About the author:
Shulman & Associates is a professional development firm specializing in sales and management training and sales force evaluation. Visit their website and sign up to receive the free sales tip of the week. Learn how to increase sales, improve margins, and accelerate new business development.