What’s in a Name?

Of all the books that I’ve read through the years, none has had more of an impact on me than Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I have never forgotten the importance of remembering people’s names. Today’s post comes from colleague and guest blogger, Renee Walkup who shares some great tips for capitalizing on the power of a name.

As salespeople, it’s critical that we constantly are on top of our game–whether we are networking, prospecting over the phone, booking appointments or presenting to a group. The bottom line is that at least 60% of our customer engagement involves building relationships and at least 80% involves trust.

One surefire way to put a roadblock up in a relationship is to either:

1. Forget someone ‘s name, or

2. Mispronounce the customer’s name

Since we don’t all have John and Jane Smith’s to deal with (remember the movie, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”? And look what happened to Brad and Angelina), the reality is, we need to be better prepared for the unexpected names and use a few tricks that can get us through possible embarrassment.

Since salespeople often ask me about this, and since I recently have had a variety of first-hand experience with my name, I thought I’d share a few tips for you on how to remember names and what to do if you are unsure as to the pronunciation of your customer’s name. Here you go…

1. Seems simple enough, but look at all the letters in the person’s name. This will give you a clue if there’s an extra vowel of syllable that would be different from what you are accustomed to seeing regularly. An example is my name. “Walker” is very recognizable “WalkUP” is less familiar.

2. Listen to the prospect’s voice mail before leaving a message. When you truly listen to the name, especially if there is an accent in the prospect’s voice, immediately write it down phonetically to YOUR eyes. That’s what I do, which helps tremendously (I just make sure my English Professor husband doesn’t see my notes since my particular form of phonetics is vastly different from the academically acceptable).

3. Call someone at the company (not the prospect) and AFTER identifying yourself, ask for his/her help in pronouncing the prospect’s name. THEN write in down using my advice in #2.

4. If you are prospecting and are unclear as to how to pronounce either the first name or the last name, pick one. It’s better to know that you are calling “Ms. Williams” than try and mispronounce her first name as “Quintel” when it’s not that. Make it easy on yourself.

5. When you return a call or are going to meet the customer in person, have your phonetic pronunciation written down in front of you. The more you say the name the more skilled you will be at using it correctly (and customers like that).

6. If attending a trade show, make sure you look at the prospect’s name tag or business card for a visual reminder of the person’s name. This will help you retain the information, especially if you use the prospect’s name 3 times over the period of your conversation.

7. Lastly, use visual cues and memory links to remind you of the person’s name. For example, if the dark-headed guy looks a bit like Michael Scott from “The Office”, and his name is “Scott”, that should be a mental reminder for you.

About Renee…

Internationally recognized professional speaker, author, and phone sales expert, Renee Walkup has influenced thousands of professionals at companies including: CNN, The Coca-Cola Company, Panasonic, ING Financial, Charles Schwab & Co., AT&T, Pearson Education, Genzyme,  LaFarge, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and Nestle USA. A guest on numerous radio and TV programs, Renee is often quoted in national publications.  She is the co-author of six books, and her latest book, “Selling to Anyone Over the Phone” is a business best seller with over 30,000 copies sold.

(C)Renee Walkup, All Rights Reserved, http://www.salespeak.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>