My Name’s Not “Dear”: In Business Nicknames Aren’t Cute

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Nicknames aren't cute in the business world and won't build your rapport. 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.  Nicknames,  cute  as  they  may  be,  have  no  place  in  the  business  world. nicknames cute

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.

In 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 err 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 client's 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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