News & Research Archive

A Must-Tool for any Salesperson in 2011

Jan 12, 2011


As we enter the New Year as salespeople, we are all thinking of ways to improve ourselves so that we can increase our productivity. Today there are more new technological tools available than ever to increase our daily efficiency. There is a sense that if you do not incorporate these tools, such as a new smart phone or an iPad for instance, that somehow you will be left behind. As salespeople, we reach a fork in the road; some of us will continuously look to change while others will continue to do the same thing that they feel comfortable doing.

Both directions offer options that we sometimes take for granted or fail to implement anymore. For someone like myself who thrives on getting the newest gadget or tool on the market, you might be surprised at my must-tool for 2011. The requirement for a successful career and the best insurance you can buy is simple note taking; a lost art in a world of text messaging and short statements.

When I first got into the commercial real estate business, the first thing my broker taught me was to make sure that I always carried a notebook and wrote down everything that was said in any meeting. His reasoning was that eventually everyone will be sued or will need to sue someone and should have notes to back up their statement. Having never been in a lawsuit before, I was certainly taken back by such a statement but sure enough during my first year in the business we were forced to sue. We eventually won the case because I did have notes and the broker involved on the other side did not.

Note taking provides a record, direction and history. Yet in this paperless world of instant messaging almost no note taking occurs any more. Proper note taking includes a date, the players involved and what was discussed. Seems simple enough. How then, in a text message, are you going to address these points? Some might say that they keep emails as a method of note taking. Email certainly is a form of note taking but how often do you create an email during a sales meeting?

Today, with things moving so quickly, miscommunications can happen far more often than before. Worrying about getting into lawsuits is one thing, but potentially losing a sale because you did not write down all of the requests or needs of your client is even worse.

So how do you incorporate note taking in this technological world? Here are some ideas:

  • Take the time each day to add notes to whichever form of database you use to support your business.
  • Create an electronic notepad if you don't want to carry a pen and pad. Make it a point to not only write everything down, but also confirm what is written by going over each point with your client so that both sides agree on what was said. Make sure you also list the date and any participants that were present.
  • Note taking may seem ho-hum to many of you that have long forgotten to use it but the truly successful salespeople have not. If you want to join the best make sure you have a tool to remember what was said, who said it, and when it happened.


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 26 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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