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Ask Dr. Real Estate
What's In A Name" Your Career!
by Dr. Kenneth W. Edwards GRI

 

QUESTION:

I'm pretty good at remembering faces, but I have always been terrible at remembering names. Since I worked in a retail store in my previous occupation it was not much of a problem. However, it is starting to be a definite source of difficulty for me now in my fledgling real estate career. Any suggestions on how I might improve?

ANSWER:

You are right to be concerned, since being able to remember customer and client names is absolutely critical to your success. Let's face it, if folks figure you are not bright enough or concerned enough to remember their names, they may develop serious misgivings about your ability to put together a complex real estate transaction. Here are my specific suggestions.

DO AN ATTITUDE CHECK: First, and most important, stop saying you are not good at remembering names. That becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. For example, my boss at the community college where I teach is an energetic woman approximately half my age and with twice my intellectual capability. When I explained the memory system to her that I am going to share with you here, she said something like: "That's easy for you, but I couldn't do that, since I've always been awful at remembering names." This she says to a person who spends untold hours wandering around the parking lot at the local supermarket trying to remember where he parked his car. Remembering names is not easy for anyone, but you must make up your mind to "just do it."

DEVELOP A SYSTEM: In remembering my students' names in my real estate licensing classes I teach at an Oregon Community College I use a technique based upon association. The best way I can illustrate is to share with you actual names of some of my past students and the tortured techniques I used to remember them. The interesting thing I've found about this system is that if I can recall only a part of my memory jog, I can recall the entire name.

Joan Harp. Joan was a nurse. A noble endeavor - like Joan of Ark. Joan of Harp.

Sharon Sidener. Sharon was also a nurse and from the same small town as Joan. They sat at the same table. There was Joan Harp and Sharon the table right a sidener, was Sharon Sidener.

Brian Weinhold. Brian spent her freshman year at my alma mater, the University of Oregon. However, he got tired of trying (rhymes with Brian) and transferred. However, he still holds the record for the most wine consumed in the annual Duck Wine Sipping Contest- the Weinhold Record. Brian Weinhold.

Dwight Endicott. Dwight had a nice smile, much like Dwight D. Eisenhower (I know, before your time). Dwight did seem a bit tired. Perhaps a nap was in order. If so, where would he sleep? En di cott, of course. Dwight Endicott.

Warren English. Warren was a strapping fellow. I could see him in a Knight's regalia ready to battle for King and country. Perhaps a Norman Knight. If so, they would probably invade the British Isles. We had better: Warren the English. Warren English. (Even now when he calls me he identifies himself as "Warren the English.)

Charlene Godfrey. If God were going to frey us a hamburger, he would naturally want it to be healthy and would char lean. Charlene Godfrey. (Charlene threatened to change her name after I shared this with the class.)

Sam Chan. Sam, Sam, he's our man, if Sam can't do it, no one chan. Sam Chan.

Pam Gordon. Pam's parents' favorite comic strip was Flash Gordon. They were actually going to name their child "Flash" if it were a boy. Since it was a girl they named her "Pam", but they always referred to her as their little "Flash in the Pam."

Darwin Baker. He said he had been a real trouble maker in high school, but had evolved (Darwin evolved) into the model citizen he now was (he worked for the FBI). Darwin "trouble maker" Baker.

Rosemarie Hubley. A pretty lady. I could envision Nelson Eddy singing "Rosemarie" to Jeannette McDonald (much before my time, but I've seen the old movies). She was active in volunteer work, but what did her hubley do? (He was an engineer). Rosemarie Hubley.

Valarie Deaton. Valarie was co-owner of a roofing company and worked hard, for which Valarie needed calories. When ordering roofing material she ordered by de ton. Valarie Deaton.

Melba Rust. Before she moved to soggy Oregon her name was Melba Toast. Now, of course, it's - Melba Rust.

Ginger Maze. Ginger maintained she had never snapped at her husband, which I found a-maze-ing. Ginger Maze.

Linda Mintken. Linda worked as a mortgage loan officer at a local Credit Union (a Lenda). When I asked her if I could get a loan, she replied: "Sorry, go to the mint, Ken." Linda Mintken.

Pat Rickard. Pat was preparing for a second career. She confided that she actually thought about going into real estate several years ago, but did not - "Pat sat." Had she taken action then, today she would be a lot "rickard." Pat Rickard.

Julie Flesher. Julie was clearly a jewel. However, she was never a flasher. On occasion, perhaps, a flesher, but never a flasher. Julie Flesher.

Romeo Sebrowski. A house painter who took my course to learn more about real estate investing. There was absolutely no association I could make for Romeo's name (other than calling him the Polish Prince), but who could forget a classy name like Romeo Sebrowski?

Loosen Up & Bear Down! Can you improve your ability to remember names? Absolutely. Make it a game. Have some fun. No, you don't need a warped sense of humor to succeed (OK, it does help). But most importantly - just do it!