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6 Reasons Why I’ll Continue To Take Notes During Sales Meetings

Recording the details of a sales meeting with a pen and paper divides a lot of professional salespeople. Some fear that it can be off putting and that it may even prevent the prospect from sharing information. They say that it can ruin the natural flow of the conversation and makes their questioning technique disjointed and less effective.

I remain a firm believer in the value of taking notes, here’s why:

  1. Taking notes helps ensure correct selling structure – It assists you to gather enough of the right information, helping you to establish the needs before moving on to selling.
  2. It allows you to immediately stand out from your competitors – Taking out a pen and paper creates the impression that I’m a professional and I’m organised.
  3. It serves as a visual demonstration that you are listening – Recording the conversation sells to the prospect that you taking what they are saying seriously.
  4. Note taking helps to focus the prospect’s mind on the important details – It gets them to think about and verbalise what they feel you need to know. It reinforces their desire to speak and highlights your role as the information gatherer.
  5. Using a pen and paper allows you to have a questioning plan – Including a series of lead questions which can even be written down in advance helping to ensure that you cover all the important points.
  6. It allows the salesperson to look for any clues that were missed – Sometimes comments by the prospect during the meeting that initially might have seemed not important, can provide insight on reflection.

Do you take notes during sales meetings? Or do you believe that it hampers your ability to build relationships with potential new customers? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Thank you for reading,


“Image: Student with spiral notebook/Shutterstock.”

Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • Hi Niall
    I’m a note-taker. Although I’m not a front line sales person, in the end, everybody is in sales. Making notes allows me to make connections I might otherwise have missed, between what the customer wants and what I can do for them, which is much as you say at point 6. It also helps me to remember more detail of the meeting, for a longer period, even if I don’t re-read the notes. I also take notes during important phone calls. I make notes with pen and paper, in spite of owning a ridiculous number of gadgets. There is something about the physical effort of writing that helps the brain to process the information I think, (although maybe that’s just me.)Yup – lists – me too :)~Helen

  • “There is something about the physical effort of writing that helps the brain to process the information I think” Great observation, Helen! I think it is because it gets us to slow down and really listen. Thanks for the comment – Niall

  • Hi Niall,
    Writing forces us to think at a slower pace, thereby helping the information to “stick” better. I certainly takes notes in all meetings, whether with the iPad, or on paper (there is something about writing on paper that is fulfilling)
    I feel it also reassures the (potential) client, like your point 3 above.
    It also allows us to refer back to earlier points “earlier you mentioned….” and can really help re-focus the client if they tend to go off on a tangent 🙂
    Interesting points…

  • Some great points there, Elaine. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight. Another one that perhaps I should have mentioned is that note taking allows you to easily summarise at the end of the meeting. I often find when I do so that this prompts the person to add even further details. 

  • Great topic for discussion! I am a pen and paper note taker myself. I feel with all the data floating around in my head, the distractions etc. I need the pen & paper notes. I ask lots of mindful questions about the business and note taking allows me to be a better listener and remember key points. I think it also frees creative thinking. There are probably studies on this. Taking notes and asking the right questions demonstrates credibility to the person sitting in front of you.

  • Hi Andrea, thank you for the great comment! Your point about creative thinking is really interesting, I hadn’t thought of that but I reckon you’re right. I must go find out 🙂

  • I think taking notes is good for you.It doesn’t matter which meeting you are going to attend.Your reasons to take notes are really good.Some time our mind is so tired at that time we are not able to remind every points in our mind so in that situation note taking is best way to remind all things in proper way. I enjoy at the time of reading your post.Its really an informative & interesting post.Keep sharing with us in future too.

  • Tori Hawthorne

    Hi Niall,

    Great post, I am a note-taker, writing notes engages parts of the brain that are more dormant when we are listening. 
    It allows me to think of things I may not have otherwise thought of…
    Point 3 is key, when in a position of ‘selling’ we can be seen to talk more than we listen (sweeping generalization 😉 ) having a note book and taking notes will show the client, we listen, pay attention and follow through on all discussed


  • Dermot

    Hi Niall, I absolutely concur with your comments.
     Recently I have noticed sales people using a laptop to record their notes in Wordpad or similar. This may be very efficient and helpful for posting into say, CRM application. However, main problem I would have with it it is,the screen/lid of the laptop behaves like a physical barrier between you and the client. If you and the client are on opposite sides of the desk, there is already a barrier there.When you do later go to record your notes into the CRM, I often find that I will remember other aspects of the conversation, that I did not record, and can now enter them also into CRM.Dermot

  • I always take written notes, Niall, during face-to-face meetings.  When I’m with clients or people I know I’ll often use my laptop since I can type faster than I can write.

    I also take notes during literally every business phone call I have.  I currently have 1,700 Outlook Journal items with significant details of more than 2500 phone calls. What’s great is that they are searchable! 

    Your number 5 above is important. I always go into meetings with a plan, and often questions.  Having them in front of me is a big plus.

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