This post was originally written by Kerry Sugrue, former Social Media Specialist at Apartments.com.
A fairly popular playwright once asked What’s in a name? Well, I’m going to argue a lot! Our names are very important to us, so your potential renters’ and current residents’ names should be even more important to you. Here are five unforgettable tips to help you remember the name of everyone who walks into your leasing office:
- Focus – It may seem obvious, but when a person introduces themselves really focus and listen to what they are saying. If this is what goes on in your mind when you meet someone, then you are not focusing: I have to grab a guest card. Where did I put my pen? Should I get a sandwich or Mexican food for lunch? I like her shoes. Don’t forget to tell her about our special this month. Oh shoot, what was her name?! Clear your mind, pay attention, look the person in the eye and focus on what they are saying to you.
- Repeat – Ok, so Pete and Repeat were on a boat. You know how this one turns out. Repeat, repeat, repeat! After someone introduces themselves, repeat their name back to them. “Hi, I’m Jim”, “Hi Jim, it’s so nice to meet you”! Then try to use their name two more times during your conversation.
- Write it down – This tip is courtesy of every waitress I have ever had who thought they had such an incredible memory they did not have to write down my order. If you know that you have a hard time remembering things the first time you hear them, write down the person’s name. If you are in the leasing office this won’t be strange at all. Let the renter know that you are going to take some notes during your conversation to help them find the perfect apartment. They will appreciate it and you will also have a reference to glance at to help you remember their name.
- Word association – Taking a person’s name and associating it with something else can help you remember it. This works with a number of things; celebrities, a physical feature, a rhyme, their job or another friend of yours. For example, if you see a guy and you know that he came to see one of you properties but you can’t remember his name you might think: Oh man, I know him. Okay, he has a mole on his face, which reminded me of Enrique Iglesias, who was dating that tennis player and tennis rhymes with Dennis. Dennis! That situation is a little bit of a stretch, but the basic idea is to find a way to associate the person’s name with something else that will help you remember it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask - It will always be more embarrassing to get a person’s name wrong than to just ask them to remind you what it is. Whether you forgot, couldn’t hear them or couldn’t understand what they said, don’t be afraid to politely ask a person to repeat their name…as long as you remember rule #2 and repeat it back to them!
These are just a couple tricks that I have used to remember people’s names, but everyone’s mind works differently. Figure out what works for you and make everyone at your apartment community feel special by calling them by name. Do you train your staff to greet everyone by name? What tricks have you taught them?