There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of one’s own name. Remembering the name after a long and dry spell in communication yields a warm, “Wow! You still remember my name?”

There are several taboos to avoid in selling but start with these three and see the positive effect

Remembering Names

Progressive sellers cannot afford the luxury of saying “I’m poor at remembering names “.’There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of one’s own name’, so goes a famous quote. And it’s true. The more when you pronounce it correctly and use the name the buyer prefers. For instance, calling buyer Cynthia Kyalo as Kyalo (and not Cynthia)  because her eyes light up when you do, and correctly pronouncing Kyalo as ‘Chalo’ generates warmth that connects you to her and accelerates the sale that bit more. Contrast this with, “The guy in a red shirt”, or, “What did you say your name was?”,  or, worse, calling Kyalo, Kageche. In addition, remembering the name after a long and dry spell in communication yields a warm, “Wow! You still remember my name?”  And to help in remembering a name, look the buyer in the eye as she says it and as you shake hands, repeat it back to her, “Kyalo. Good to meet you. My name is Kageche.” And use his name during the pitch and write it down as you take notes during meetings. Take it with the same gravity you would when you are told the name of your new CEO.

Continuing the conversation

“Where were we?” the buyer asks. Half way through the pitch, his phone rang or a colleague interrupted to draw his attention to an urgent email and he lost track of the conversation and now asks you where to pick it from. To say, “I also forgot” doesn’t present you in good light even if his face lights up with, “Oh yes, I remember…” Remember, you asked for the meeting; it’s your meeting and you should be in charge of it. To say you don’t know also opens up the conversation to moving at a tangent, veering off in a direction you don’t want as it is wasting his time and yours. In fact woe betide you if he is a chatterbox whom you have to keep bringing back to the conversation track; forgetting where you were will see him bounding off to talk about politics, the weather, football, his child’s performance, you catch the drift.  Again, note taking comes in handy here in ensuring recall.

Asking for a referral

Asking for referrals is an effective way of prospecting. It saves time and shortens the sales cycle because you already have a foot in the door.  But referrals do not come automatically. You have to ask for them in a way that is easy for the buyer to respond effortlessly. I know a barber who when complimented for a job well done, gives the client two business cards with the request, Please give a card each to the next two people who compliment you on your haircut”.  Contrast that to: “Please tell people about my barbershop”. Your guess is as good as mine which of these two would yield a favourable response for the barber.


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