October 2014

Building Relationships

When Norm Peterson walked into Cheers, everyone knew his name.  It was a warm, unanimous greeting that he counted on as he was welcomed into his favorite hangout.

Studies show that hearing our name activates our brain.  Even a chemical reaction can take place when we hear our name.  Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest most important sound in any language.”

When I walk into my auto repair shop, which is often because we have had so many old cars, I am always greeted with a cheerful, “How are you doing today Mrs. Betts?”  I feel welcomed and it helps build trust.  I also think it’s brave of them to ask considering I’m probably there because of car trouble and to spend money when I don’t really want to.

In my line of work at Vital Media, I call accounts on a frequent basis.  I appreciate the tips I get along the way such as, “Don’t ask for Bill.  He’s William.  I’m telling you, you will get a very negative reaction if you call him Bill.”   Noted.  Clearly.

Once I called and asked for Dave.  “Dave? Dave?”  Then I gave the last name.  “Oh, you mean Doug!!  Ann, let me tell you right now– you gotta get the boss’s name right or you won’t go very far.”  Again, noted.

It’s also important to pronounce names correctly.  I note that, too.  “Jonet, like bonnet,” I have somewhere.

There are also tricks to remembering people’s names.  Here are just a few.

1.) Match the name with a verb or other association, “Jogging Jenny,” or “Giggling Ginger.”  (Keep it nice!)

2.) Meet, greet and repeat.  You can do this by saying their name back to them in conversation. Don’t overdo it, but give it back to them.

3.) Have a contest and a prize for the employee at your place of business who can be the first to name ten customers.  Or…who can name the most. Kevin would easily win where I work.  I wouldn’t even want to go up against him.

But the best way?  Decide to care, and watch the relationship grow.

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