How to Instantly Win a Prospect’s Trust

There are plenty of words in the English language that can express gratitude, professionalism and courtesy. There are also a lot of words that help shape (or reshape) opinions, drive sales and turn heads.

But there is one word that does all the above (yes, all of it). This word is something that gets their attention, is personal and sincere, and will go a long way to establish a meaningful (and profitable) professional relationship.

That word is a client’s name.

Indeed, hearing your name probably elicits a positive reaction in you. When somebody says your name, your attention shifts dramatically to the person saying it. You know, with certainty, that the person is addressing you and that the words they are saying apply specifically to you.

Saying a client’s name can do the same for a client or prospect at the beginning, middle and end of a soft or hard sell. It shows them that you recognize that they are different than everybody else who has sat in the same chair as them and that you are addressing their specific needs.

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? It’s actually not that easy. It’s rife with potential pitfalls that can blow a sale before you even begin selling.

Here are some pitfalls to avoid in regards to using a client’s or prospect’s name.

First, overusing it can sound like you are trying too hard to impress them. It could also be perceived as an attempted distraction from a weak product.

Second, not everyone has a name that just rolls off the tongue. For those clients and prospects, don’t just say it if you don’t know how to pronounce it.

Some people have lived their whole lives hearing people butcher their names, so a day of reprieve would probably be appreciated. What I’ve found that works well is to simply ask them how to say it before you even try. As they pronounce it correctly for you, repeat it back to them to make sure you got it right.

A friend of mine goes the extra step and writes a client’s tricky name phonetically in their file. That way when he calls them or meets with them again, he doesn’t have to take a wild stab at pronouncing it correctly or ask again how to pronounce their name. Smart move.

A third and final pitfall is your reaction to hearing their difficult-to-pronounce name.

I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but I’m still confounded by the sheer ignorance of some sales agents. Another friend of mine has what I call a very Mediterranean last name – lots of syllables and different consonant sounds.

It’s not uncommon that people – salespeople nonetheless – butcher his name, then when corrected, respond by saying something to the effect of “That’s a weird one” or “That’s a strange name.”

That kind of behavior is profoundly boneheaded and it can really say a lot about a person. Anybody who talks like that deserves to lose business.

Finally, here’s a web site that’ll help you with difficult names: Bookmark it for quick reference.

Good selling,

John McCarthy
Managing Editor,


Related Articles:

“Listening”- The One Crucial Sales Skill that Every Agent Can Improve

Amazing and Easy Three-Step Selling System

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Brian J. Kay, Executive Director, Leads4Insurance
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