In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie wrote:
“Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Of course, the venerable Mr. Carnegie is correct. However, I’m afraid some people have taken that too far. I like milkshakes, but eating too many becomes overwhelming. You can only handle so much “sweet.” I like to think that Dale would agree when it comes to the “sweetest sound.”
There are some salespeople out there who’ve been taught that they should repeat someone’s name as often as possible during a conversation. They might do something like this:
- Me: “Yes, I’m interested in hearing more about your product.”
- Them: “Well, Jeb, this particular product will help you in so many ways, Jeb. I’d like to learn a little more about how it might help you, Jeb, in your situation. Jeb, would you mind if I ask a few questions, Jeb?”
Come on! That just makes you sound unprofessional (maybe even…manipulative or slick). The reason it makes you sound unprofessional is that it’s unnatural. A sales interaction should be a comfortable, natural exchange of information, ideas, problems, challenges, opportunities, and (ultimately) value. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Doesn’t this sound better:
- Me: “Yes, I’m interested in hearing more.”
- Them: “Thanks, Jeb. In order to get a sense of what, exactly, might help you, I’d like to ask some questions. Is that okay?”
Simply put, it just sounds more natural. Of course, I don’t believe in using scripts. So, don’t take it word-for-word. But have a natural conversation. During the course of a normal conversation, wouldn’t you agree that you only say someone’s name a time-or-two?
So, where’s the line? How many times is too many?
My rule of thumb? If it seems forced, you’re saying their name too much. Too much sweet is a bad thing.
But, I turn it over to you, [INSERT READER’S NAME HERE]. What do you think, [INSERT READER’S NAME HERE]?