There is great power in a name. Aside from the specific meaning of a name, or the emotional tie to the person you were named after, we all find comfort and security in the sound of our own name. In the extremely popular TV series Cheers, which aired in the 80’s, the words to the theme song expressed an underlying tone for each episode.
“Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
A common scene in each episode would show Norm entering the bar where everyone would shout out his name as he walked through the door. He found comfort and solace surrounded by people who knew, and called him by name. Norm’s feelings are the same as yours and mine, we want to be accepted and acceptance is characterized by being called by your own name.
One of the most powerful principles of human relationships and selling is to call people by their name. I went to my bank the other day where I was greeted by the vice president calling me “buddy”. I think he forgot my name. Later in the conversation he referred to me as “guy”. I know his intent was to be personal with me and to show he knew me, but nothing sounds quite as sweet as the sound of your name. For several years I worked and traveled with a man by the name of Bill Kotsko. He was an excellent salesperson and literally loved by everyone in our industry. Bill had the remarkable ability to remember the names of everyone he ever met. Even if he hadn’t seen or talked with the person for ten years, he would call them by name when he saw them.
In his book, How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie explains the secret of President Theodore Roosevelt’s astonishing popularity. He had extreme interest in people and called them by name. A few years after leaving office, Roosevelt visited the White House and greeted all the old staff and servants by name. Referring to that visit, one of the servants made the comment with tears in his eyes, “It is the only happy day we had in nearly two years.” If you want to impress people and make them truly happy, call them by their name.
The most important sound in the entire world is the sound of your own name. Have you ever been in a public place, or walking somewhere, when you heard the sound of your name? What was the first thing you did? It was probably to look around to see who was calling your name. None of the other sounds you heard caused you to turn around, only the sound of your name. From the words of the theme song Cheers, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.” As a salesperson, never forget the power of remembering and using the other person’s name, and they will be glad you came. People buy from people they believe, like and trust. Calling someone by their name is a powerful way to cause them to like you. By applying this principle, you will not only win friends, but you will increase your sales significantly.