A new customer walks into your shop and says, “Hi, my name is So Ann Sew. I’m a friend of Barbara Blah-Blah, who said I should come by your shop and see the shiny new things you just got in for summer.” In your mind, you’re thinking, “Who is Barbara Blah-Blah and what did this person just say is her name?” Within seconds, you’re flustered over not knowing who Barbara is and what were those shiny things she was talking about. You know: Barbara, one of your customers so happy with you, she’s making referrals. And what did this lady say her name is?
Here’s some good news. Except for those who suffer from specific brain-related conditions that impact patterns of perception or recall, the ability (or inability) to remember a customer’s name isn’t about the quality of their memory, rather, it has to do with the focus and effort they exert when first meeting someone.
Here are several methods of remembering names you should not forget to try:
The FACE Method
When you meet someone for the first time, look into their eyes and face and use the acronym FACE, for Focus, Ask, Comment & Employ:
- Focus: Focus intently on the person (Do they remind you of someone? Do they have a distinctive feature?)
- Ask: Ask about their name (Do you prefer Tom or Thomas?)
- Comment: Comment about their name (My favorite teacher was named Mr. Thomas)
- Employ: Employ the word in some way (I’m so glad you came in today, Thomas)
Get trigger happy
No, this has nothing to do with guns, but it can help you remember names faster than a speeding bullet. As you are talking with a person who just told you their name, listen for some type of information that you can work into an associated image or sound that will be triggered when you see them in the future. For example, her last name is Sharpe and she’s a nurse: picture her in an operating room holding a very large and very SHARPE scalpel.
Repeat after me
Much like the “Employ” step of the FACE method, just say the name of the person you’ve met as many times as possible, without appearing to be some kind of deranged stalker: “Thanks for asking that, Jane. That’s an interesting question, Jane. By the way, has anyone ever asked if you’re still married to Tarzan, Jane?”
It may seem simple, but try it: “Is that Chris with a ‘CH’ or a ‘K’?” Visualizing the letters will help you cement the name in your head.