Rapport Building – Step 2: Remembering Names

In sales, we meet a lot of people. And one of the most important things to every person we meet is their name. So, it’s critical that we get those name right…and that we remember them.

I’ll never forget one incident that embarrassed me so much that I immediately sought a way to change how I remember names. I had met a very nice couple and spent quite a bit of time over one weekend showing them homes. On Sunday afternoon, we found the home that met all their needs and they wanted to make an offer. As I filled out the legal documents, I said to the husband, “Shall I put your name down as Bob or Robert?” He said, “Tom, I think Jim makes a lot of sense.” I had been calling him by the wrong name for two days! He never said a word about it…probably thinking that it didn’t matter because he wasn’t going to buy a home through me anyway. When it came down to the legal requirement for the paperwork, he had to speak up. I apologized profusely. Fortunately, he was a good sport about it and we all had a good laugh.

Never wanting to have that happen again, I started investigating memory techniques. There are so many, but the simplest one I found that worked for me was this: Whenever you meet someone new, make certain you hear their name correctly then repeat it to yourself four times. When I would meet new couples I would say to myself, “Bob & Mary Brown,” “Bob & Mary Brown,” “Bob & Mary Brown,” “Bob & Mary Brown.” To reinforce my memory, I would also do my best to use their names out loud at least once as soon as possible after meeting them. “I’m so pleased to meet you, Bob, Mary, (with a nod to each) and thank you for coming by today.”

From then on, I never got the names wrong. I might have had to ask for clarification of spelling for my paperwork, if their names were unusual but always stated their names correctly. I know this simple strategy helped build rapport more quickly and definitely increased my confidence with clients. And, when you’re confident, it shows.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).



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  1. Fantastic ideas, Reinforces what is taught at boot camp. Thank you Tom.

  2. Thank you for your feedback. The error has been fixed. See how easy it is to make mistakes with names?

  3. Thank you for the reminder and tips. I’m typically great at remembering names and faces unless it’s the end of a long day. I realized I need to work even harder at it when I forgot a customers name and asked her to spell it. Her name was ‘PAM’. Shame on me. I’ll practice these techniques.

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