How to lose a prospect and annoy others

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Dale Carnegie wrote this beautiful quote in his bestselling book How to Win Friends and Influence People.  And it’s true. As he pointed out, when you remember and use a person’s name it makes him feel special and important. It shows you are attentive and caring. However, there is a limit to how often you should use someone’s name in a conversation, especially when you haven’t met the person.

I received a voicemail message from a salesman with a radio station. In the minute and half message he used my name seven times. Yes, seven times! And while he had done his homework by looking at my website and sharing some complimentary facts about me and my business I was bothered by the fact that he used my name so often. I felt sold to.

There must have been a particular sales training that taught salespeople that it’s important to use a prospect’s name in a conversation as many times as possible. This man was not the first sales person I’ve encountered who has overused my name. But it’s a really unfortunate technique. When someone I haven’t met states my name over and over it feels creepy and too intimate. It’s a bit like when you meet someone for the first time and they shake your hand by grasping it with their right and left hand. It feels forced and insincere.

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Mr. Carnegie was right, it is important to use people’s names. But stick to stating the person’s name no more than three times in a conversation, especially in a phone call with a prospect.

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