It’s difficult for a startup to find an investor for initial capital. But once you have one well-known investor, it will be easier for you to attract money from others because they trust the opinion of the first investor. This is one of the situations when name dropping can come into play.
What is name dropping?
Name dropping is a useful sales tactic where you mention famous brands or personalities you know or had an opportunity to work with to make a good impression on people. It’s used to position oneself in society, and it often creates a sense of superiority by “elevating” one’s status.
As a psychology professor, W. Keith Campbell, says, an individual can look good to others and increase their self-esteem by associating with powerful people. By mentioning a connection to those who belong to a high social class, name-droppers hope to enhance their status.
Name dropping in sales
In terms of sales, name dropping gives immediate credibility that may help close deals faster. It’s like a reference that you can use to build your reliability before introducing your product. References are powerful in B2B; thus, the impact of name dropping can be a crucial key to success.
Before making a purchase, it’s typical for prospects to learn about the customers you have worked with. They want to be convinced that your brand can help them. And of course, you want to let prospects know who those previous clients are and assure them that your product is what they need.
This is why mentioning a couple of customers you have helped and sharing your prior clients’ progress when talking to prospects will show them how you can address their requests in the same way.
Why marketers use name dropping
The name dropping tactic can considerably improve rates in email marketing. In fact, recipients are more likely to open an email with authoritative names, as it catches their interest.
Naming one of your well-known customers can improve conversion rates by 208%. Naming a well-known investor in your company can increase conversion rates by 111%. And naming several shared LinkedIn connections can improve conversion rates by 468%.
How to benefit from name dropping
Although name dropping opens doors in business, very often, it may backfire. Here are some tips to avoid it:
Know the right moment to drop names
One of the best times for name dropping is while telling your short pitch. Back up the information about yourself and what you do with several names of your past or current success. Another way to name drop is to put up a slide in your presentation that lists some of your customers.
Always ask for permission first
When you see that someone you know is connected to your target company and make up your mind to drop their name to get your email read, ask them first! Make sure your mutual contact doesn’t mind being mentioned. This will protect you from pitfalls. For example, they may not be so familiar with the targeted person or, worse, be in a bad relationship.
Don’t be afraid to ask, your mutual contact can even offer to introduce you personally.
Don’t exaggerate to look cool
Telling a lie that you know someone authoritative, saying that they have recommended you to contact your target company, or pretending to be their friend when you just met them once will make no good impression. The truth always comes out.
For instance, your email can be forwarded to a person whose name you’ve used to either ask some information about you or just mention this among other things. And if they respond that they have no idea who you are, you will only cut a foolish figure.
You may specify your relationship to the person you name drop, e.g., “I saw [Name] speak at [Event], and I remember him saying [What they said]”). In such a way, you still draw attention yet stay honest.
Use name dropping in measure. Don’t overuse it so as not to seem not-confidential. Take care of the customers’ privacy. Name dropping excessiveness can lead to a loss of confidence in the eyes of prospects.
Not using any names at all also can have a negative impact on your sales, as you may sound vague and unreliable. Use names when you feel they will add value and show the right picture of your product. Your purpose is to help prospects be confident in your capacity to work with them and to help them reach their goals.
Play by ear
Sometimes smaller companies may feel worthless if you’re doing business with all the big guys. Competition may use this fact against you. In this situation, you need to convince the “small guy” that they will be treated like a VIP.