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My Name’s Not “Dear”

My Name’s Not “Dear”

Rapport is like a bank account, you’re either making a deposit, or you are making a withdrawal in each client interaction.  Do all that you can to build up your rapport “bank” balance to keep the relationship strong and moving forward.  We all know people buy from people they know, like and trust.

piggy bank

Addressing clients with overly friendly terms like Honey, Sweetie, & Dear may actually cause a withdrawal from your rapport bank account.

Take a moment to answer this question: “How do you feel about a business contact using terms of endearments to address you?”

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Depends on who it is and what they’re calling me.”  Yeah, me too.  A business contact that has known me for some time can get away with calling me just about any term of endearment, and I don’t bat an eye.  A business associate I’ve just met could damage their credibility with me by calling me these names.

Unfortunately, terms of endearments have become so commonplace in our communication that we forget to take into account how the other person perceives them.

Savvy Sales Tip - Terms of EndearmentIn the selling process, terms of endearment are rarely appropriate.  Instead, use your client’s name.  The Savvy Selling Tip this week is to eliminate terms of endearment from your vocabulary in a business conversation.

For some, being called, “Honey, Sweetie, Dear” in a business environment is inappropriate and off-putting.  Clients may choose to buy from someone else if you refer to them by these terms.

It’s much easier to error on the side of being respectful versus an implied friendliness that your client may not feel or appreciate.

Recently, I had an experience with a vendor I hired to do some work for me.  She knew my name and yet addressed all of her communication to me as, “Hello Dear…”  My guess is her intention was to come across as friendly and approachable.  However, I found it uncomfortable and unprofessional.  When a problem arose with the work, and she still addressed her email to me as, “Hello Dear,” I felt disrespected and offended.

It’s the salesperson’s job to earn their clients business.  Building rapport and making deposits in the rapport bank account in each interaction is crucial to your success.

I would love to hear your take on this topic.  Please comment, send questions and feedback.  Wishing you continued sales success!

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  11. Hello Dear…
    That’s what my wife occasionally calls me, to which I respond: “Don’t use your terms of enQueerment on me.” She’s using that “dear” terms in a demeaning manner, of course. Here’s another one I was alerted to a long time ago: People who call you “buddy.” As a woman, you probably don’t get called that, but I’m sensitive to it now, because it doesn’t feel like they’re really saying I’m a “buddy”–more like “jerk.” Maybe I’m over-reacting…I’m good at that.

    How’s life these days for you? I left my long term rep gig four years ago when the recession was still going strong, and after a few starts (trying to turn lemons into lemonade), I’ve given up trying to work for others.

    • Yes, thank you for sharing “Buddy.” I don’t get called that one, however, after I wrote this I thought about “Buddy” and wondered if it should have been added to the list.

      Life is excellent. Glad to hear you are doing your own thing. I miss working with you. Sending lots of good thoughts your way. N

  12. I am loving this whole article! I have a health and fitness trainer/coach who uses email and text to stay in touch. She uses terms like this a lot and it rubs be a little oddly. I don’t know if this means we are “friends” now or what. I notice she uses it with others in the fitness group too in Facebook pages. I’m not sure if it’s her way of coming across super “sweet” … but sometimes it feels fake and she uses it also to sort of put people in their place (“Sweets, please look up the video on my Instagram.. I am sure I posted it for you like a month ago!”). Even when it’s not directed at me, it catches my attention and I’m not sure it leaves a good impression. Thanks for giving your professional take on it. It has made me want to join in, I guess, but now I have checked it in with my values and will stick with what I feel is right. I can be “approachable” in other ways that are still professional.

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