The sweetest-sounding word in any language is your name coming off of someone else's lips. When someone knows your name after meeting you only once, you feel important, powerful, worthy of respect. You will go out of your way to do things for people who remember your name. When someone forgets your name, you feel slighted, unimportant, and disrespected.
The power of influence comes from not only knowing someone's name, but also how you use it. People make a point of knowing you if you remember their name because it shows that you pay attention to details.
In sales, forgetting someone's name can be a disaster. My mental Rolodex has a capacity of about 350 names, but I think I can do a lot better.
Recently, two of my broadcast clients had business/client trips to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. In addition to station staff, 50-75 people went on the trips. Including spouses and significant others, the total was over 125 people. Of these, I only knew about 10 percent. On each of the three/four-day trips, I challenged myself to learn the names of each person in attendance. First, I researched a list of those traveling and learned some of the names of the clients and the businesses they represented. But
reading a list doesn't help that much, especially when you have 10 pages of names and businesses.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS I'VE LEARNED:
- Visualization: One client, with whom I had dinner in the Dominican Republic, owns a tractor implement
company. His name is Tim, and his wife's name is Christine. By visualizing Tim on a tractor, I associated
his name as Tractor Tim. Sounds silly, but I remembered his name.
- Name association: On the second leg in Jamaica, with a new group, there was a sharp-looking couple in the proverbial Ken and Barbie mode. His first name is Ken, but his wife's name is Nicole. The name association of Ken and Barbie fit - and sometimes it fit to call her Barbie, but I threw in Nicole to let her know I really did remember her proper name.
Dale is a client I know very well, but he had a new girlfriend named Natalie on the trip. She is from Las
Vegas, so Las Vegas nights became Las Vegas Natalie. Tom and Jamie from Adelphia Cable both look like they belong on TV - or TJ _ Tom and Jamie.
- Repeat the name: When you extend your hand and introduce yourself, repeat the person's name out loud, and then link that name in visualization or association. I wrote names on paper with important details
about the person's life, or statements he or she made.
- Have a chat: If I couldn't remember a name, I would converse with a person until his or her name was revealed. It was interesting to watch the body language of people who didn't know the names of others they were talking to. People stare at the floor and fail to make eye contact when they forget names.
- Never say a person's name at the end of a sentence as a way of making them feel important. Bad salespeople do this. It goes something like this: "If you okay our agreement, I'm pretty sure we can get you a remote on-site during Memorial Day, Jim."
- Greet people by first name whenever you can.
- Don't overuse a person's name: When you really want someone to hear you, change the tempo and texture of your voice. A soft voice with their name rolling off of your lips gives a powerful impression.
- When it's apparent that someone has forgotten your name, forgive him or her. People will make a point to
remember you when forgiveness is associated with your name.
Nametags make the art of remembering people's names meaningless; it's a crutch.Yes, it has value, but people can see your eyes drift down to look at the nametag and then use their name. This is a very insincere way of using names.
The next time you take your staff to a Chamber of Commerce mixer, set a goal for them to know the name of
everyone in attendance, and one detail about each person. After all, at the end of the day, all we are left with is our name and our honor.