There is a big difference between knowing something and actually executing on it. We all know that smoking is bad for us. We all know that we should exercise, eat healthy meals and get to bed on time. And sales professionals all know that they should use CRM and take really good notes whenever speaking with a prospect or a client. I use CRM and I certainly know that I should take good notes. As a matter of fact, because I am a sales trainer, I insist that all of my clients use CRM and I chastise them if they do not take good notes. Unfortunately, knowing something is not the same as actually doing it.
My head of business development had scheduled a phone appointment for me to speak with a prospect. My prospect and I connected however; he was extremely busy and asked to reschedule our conversation. We did so. I entered some notes in my CRM… Then this is what happened…
I was multitasking (Wendy’s definition of multitasking: doing a whole bunch of things at the same time – badly.) I was also using the Dragon voice recognition software to type my notes. Unfortunately, Dragon does not always recognize my voice and will often type something other than what I mean to be saying. I’m using Dragon to write this article… But I will proofread it carefully and my Director of Operations gives it another read through before we send it out. I also always proofread my emails carefully before I hit send. I did not bother to read through my notes in my CRM to make sure that they were clear and/or accurate. These are not excuses, just facts. This is what happened next…
I called my prospect at the rescheduled time. I looked at my notes, they were gibberish. There was nothing in the notes to indicate that I had previously spoken with this human being. While I often have a good memory for conversations, when you’re on the phone all day long with prospects and/or clients it is impossible to remember every conversation. It had been several weeks since my initial brief conversation with this prospect and I had taken a week off for vacation.
I started the conversation with my prospect the way I start all my conversations with brand-new prospects. The problem was I had said exactly the same thing to him three weeks earlier when we spoke for the first time. He said, “You already asked me that question. You clearly don’t remember me.” He was understandably annoyed and offended.
My prospect then said he was busy and he couldn’t talk. He said I could call him back another time if I wanted to. And that was that.
I am now reaching out to this prospect again with the hope that he will find it in his heart to forgive me so that we can talk. This is a mistake that did not need to happen. It was entirely my fault. I did not take good notes in my CRM and so did not handle the phone call appropriately. I know how important it is to take good notes – I just didn’t do it. I’m hoping this will not be a completely lost opportunity, but it might very well be.
Here are my takeaways. I share them with you in the hope that you will learn from my mistake:
- Do not multitask
- Take good notes in your CRM – really
- Read through the notes to make sure that they are clear before you go on to your next task
- Read through the notes before you speak with your prospect or client again
- Repeat after every conversation with a prospect or client