The Sweetest Word in the World

by | Jul 8, 2014 | Sales Motiviation

By Jeff Beals

John Rogers got the call no salesperson likes to receive but periodically gets anyway.

It was one of those angry-customer calls.

The customer had purchased a piece of new equipment two hours earlier from John’s sound-and-lighting company.  The equipment was to be used at a major outdoor event.  Shortly after the customer set up the equipment, it fizzled out, went kaput and stopped working completely.  This created stress as the customer was about to host hundreds of his own customers.  The sound equipment was an essential part of his event.

John rushed a replacement piece to the site.  Upon arriving, he discovered the customer was pretty hot.

John introduced himself and said, “I’m really sorry you had a problem.  What’s your name, sir?”

When the man said “Chris,” John followed up with, “Do you spell it with a ‘C’ or ‘K’?”

The angry customer’s frowns dissolved into a smile, and his eyes lit up. “It’s a ‘K.’ Thanks for asking.”

John changed out the equipment, gave Kris a couple tips on the realistic output he could expect in an outdoor environment versus the face-ripping volume displayed in the audio-visual company’s small showroom.

Kris took pictures of the exact way John set the controls and said, “You guys are AWESOME!”  It was an instant turn-around in attitude and perception.

Customer anger morphed into customer delight.

So what are the take-aways from this story?

John says that two things often happen when you ask someone exactly how their name is spelled:

1. Your customer thinks you care enough about them to get their name right. Most people do not care enough to ask.

2. You have another chance to hear the customer’s name and are thus more likely to commit the name to memory.

Back in the 1930’s, Dale Carnegie told us that a person’s first name is the “sweetest word in the English language” to that person. Or if you’re in John’s line of work, you might say that “the sound of your name is music to your ears.”

John believes that we win when we remember who we are talking to and take the time to show that person how important he or she is to us.

I couldn’t agree more.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to or email at or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide. He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

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