Is Your Staff on Your Case About Your Case Notes?

by Certified Life Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

As you look out over your desk one morning you see stacks of un-cashed checks laying in piles. (No, you’re not in trouble with Corporate Compliance.) When you rub your eyes, you notice that you’re really seeing your unfinished case notes! If you do not write your case notes how will you submit business and get paid? The longer you wait, the longer it takes to get money in the bank.

If you are like most Financial Representatives (FRs), case notes are a necessary evil that you do as you attempt to drive your car, eat a snack and not get lost all at the same time. You put them off, dread them and hate how they keep popping up like a game of whack-a-mole. The reality is, though, that if you have a lot of case notes to do then you’re doing a lot of activity and that’s a sign of a healthy financial practice.

It’s time to make peace with case notes. What do you say?

There is a famous saying by psychologist Carl Jung, “what you resist persists.” Are you fighting the reality that case notes simply are a part of your job? Yes, an option is to resist and have bad feelings about them that will never end. Many FRs procrastinate and let them pile up until they have to force themselves to go in on a Saturday or stay up into the wee hours of the night and bitterly power through an overgrown stack. Meanwhile, staff is left waiting for you until you release a tidal wave of work on them after you’ve bottled up days and days worth. I invite you to stop fighting and accept case notes as a reality for which you design a thoughtful plan such as this one.

Sample Thoughtful Plan for Case Notes: (Al Granum was on to this way before this blog…I’m just saying!)

9:00 meeting Case notes

10:30 meeting Case notes

Lunch meeting Case notes

2:00 meeting Case notes

3:30 meeting Case notes

Do not leave your office with unfinished case notes from the day!

What pattern do you notice? No, really, seriously—do you see the pattern? While a meeting is fresh on your mind, you take 5-10 minutes to dictate your case notes right after the meeting. Then you’re done and your staff can run with it. If you want your staff to think you’re really awesome, take the time to sit at your desk like a sane person (Stop it—no more driving! It’s not safe and will not produce the best notes!) and really give them all of the details they need. Answer every question you anticipate they will have. Give strong direction. If your staff no longer comes to you with questions then you are doing an A+ job. If your staff circles back over and over you are not being thorough and detailed enough. Let their actions guide you to produce notes through Copy Talk or on paper that really do allow the action items to move forward without your further involvement.

Imagine how you will feel leaving each day knowing you’ve “cashed the checks” and business is in motion. Your staff is steadily busy and not coming to you with all kinds of questions. You’re caught up. You’re on top of your game. You need to do case notes either way—why not the most peaceful way for everyone?

Try it for one day and see for yourself.

Coaching Tip Why not make an unpleasant but necessary task like doing case notes more fun? Each time you complete your case notes the same day the meeting occurs, use positive reinforcement to help you change your behavior. For example, drop a penny into a jar to reinforce your new habit. “Cash in” your pennies for time away or a small reward.