Say My Name: One Surprisingly Simple Way to Have a More Popular Business Online
The one thing I am sure is fact is that the very heart of having a popular business comes down to one thing: how likeable it is to other humans.
(And likeability is all about how well you serve those humans, whether that service means a friendly reply tweet to a fan or issuing a guilt-free, retaliation-free* refund to an unhappy customer.)
* retaliation-free refund: a refund in which you do not then take to social media or your email list and begin ranting about “This One Customer,” your rights + philosophies as a business owner, and how people generally need to get into line if they want to enjoy the privileges of buying from you.
…But does it ever seem to you that, sometimes, the “how” behind delivering better service to people can sound like a complicated, tiresome chore?
I have to be honest. I sometimes feel that way.
(It usually happens when people start talking “systems” and “comprehensive client retention strategies.” At that point my nowhere-close-to-Type-A personality becomes a small, weary puddle of discouragement.)
I am of the personal conviction that business is done better when it is done with more simplicity. So, today I’d like to give you a simple exercise that is so small and so straightforward that it takes NO planning, NO monetary investment, and NO big effort, yet still has a surprisingly profound effect on the likeability + popularity of your brand.
Here it is:
USE PEOPLE’S NAMES (A LOT)
(Hello. Simplest Official Technique Title ever, right?!)
In the famous book How To Win Friends And Influence People, lecturer and course developer Dale Carnegie said:
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
When we use people’s names, we convey to them that A) we respect them, and B) they’re uniquely important to us.
On the flip side, when people hear/see us use their names, they instantly give us more attention, trust, and view us in a more positive light.
So, let’s get to the point: what does this ultimately mean for you?
More popularity, yes, but also this: studies have shown that appropriate and genuine use of people’s names leads to more sales as well.
Remembering and/or using people’s names is 100% free. It requires no employees, no equipment, no software, and no highly specialized training. To me, the choice to implement it and use it daily is an obvious one!
When you call people by name, you want it to sound as natural and sincere as possible. But in online correspondence where you’re talking through text, this can be a little tricky.
Here are some examples of what you DON’T want to do:
“I am working on the contract right now and will send it over to you tomorrow. At that time please look it over and sign it, Molly.”
“That article you shared is a great one. Lisa, thank you.”
Notice how stilted and forced those sound? Here are examples of better ways to mention people’s names:
Or, in an email you might say things like:
“Good morning, Jenni!”
“Hey Dan, thanks so much for giving me the heads up!”
“Is that more along the lines of what you were thinking, Jess?”
“I’ve gone ahead and issued you a full refund for last month, Tia — you should see it show up on your credit card statement within 24-48 hours.”
“Did you have any more questions for me, Mark? I’m happy to help if so!”
“Talk to you soon, Lyn. :)”
There is such a thing as overusing names, though, so don’t go overboard.
A good rule of thumb is to use someone’s name AT LEAST ONCE per email or in an online conversation — but generally no more than two — maybe three — times.
(On social media, the very first reply is where I most often use their name. If you continue to have a few more back and forth replies — such as via Twitter or on your blog — using their name again isn’t necessary. If you overdo it, it stops being awesome and begins to sound insincere.)
If you’re writing an email and it’s particularly long/more involved, I aim to use the person’s name twice: once at the beginning and again near the end.
P.S. And remember: never, ever misspell someone’s name. (There is especially no excuse for this online when the person’s name is right in front of you.)
If the name is particularly difficult or unfamiliar, it’s better to be safe than sorry — copy and paste it directly from their email / email address / social media profile / website.
Pick Your Challenge!
The best way to get into the habit of using names is simply to START! Today, pick one of the following and DO IT:
1. Write one (1) email today where you — naturally and sincerely! — use the person’s name two (2) times.
2. Use names in comments/replies to three (3) different people on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Train Your Brain
Did you know there are some really fun ways to help you amp up your “talent” at recalling people’s names?
There’s also a cool app for the iPhone called Name Shark that quizzes you on the names and faces of acquaintances, classmates, clients, co-workers, and distant family members.
So, tell me. As a client or customer, do you like it when a biz owner uses your name? Do you make an effort to use people’s names in your business communications? If not, is this something you’re willing to try? Please leave your thoughts below!
To simpler service (and results that matter),
Blog post photo (c) Caique Silva