As a young boy I spent a lot of time with my grandfather. We spent hours together fishing, working in the fields, and telling tall tale stories around a fire. One of my favorite memories was sitting out under the stars in his backyard listening to night birds. In the area where I grew up we got to listen to the coo of doves, the screech of hawks and owls, the bay of a diving bullbat, and my favorite…the whippoorwill.

The whippoorwill got its name for his unique chirp, “whip-poor-will” with an emphasis on the first syllable. That’s what I know now, but as a kid, my granddaddy convinced me the bird was calling me, and saying, “Chip-fell-out-of-the-white-oak.” We had a lot of white oak trees in that rural geography. It was not until I went to first grade that I learned it was not likely all the birds in his woods knew me personally. Yet, I never forgot the feeling that came with that childhood belief.

The sweetest sound most customers enjoy hearing is their name. It is more than the attraction of personalization; it is the bond of a friend or neighbor. It signals a desire for a partnership, not just a relationship. It telegraphs caring, interest and a desire for a sustained fellowship. Lead with your customer’s name and create a memory as poignant and pleasurable as my memory of listening to night birds with my granddaddy.

Photo Credit: Jorge Montejo via Flickr