Name Dropping: The Do’s and Don’ts of Relationship Building

Salespeople and business developers have been name dropping for years. It can be an effective tool to help foster business relationships…if it is done the correct way! So let’s talk about what you can and cannot do when it comes to name dropping:


  • Do Get Permission: Clear with your relationship FIRST before you ever use their name to make a new introduction – ask them for help and they’ll most likely handle the introduction for you.
  • Do Your Research: Make sure to find out more about the relationship between your contact and the person you’d like to meet before reaching out
  • Do Give them an “Out”: Sometimes a relationship just isn’t at the point where someone feels they can make introductions, give it time
  • Do Be Generous: Be grateful for the help, make sure to say thank you, offer introductions on your side or a thank you lunch or breakfast.  I’ve even received gift cards from those I’ve helped.
  • Do Be Gracious: When reaching out to your friend’s contact, be sure to keep in mind that you can either strengthen or damage their relationship – your goal is to be a resource and strengthen their relationship.  You want their contact to go back to your friend and say thank you for making the introduction.

  • Do NOT drop someone’s name without permission
  • Do NOT drop someone’s name that you really don’t know and act as though you do
  • Do NOT blindly call someone without doing any research on their company
  • Do NOT try to cram a square peg into a round hole. When someone tells you why they aren’t the right fit and they really aren’t, don’t push it
  • Do NOT make the person who introduced you look like a fool
  • Do NOT call the same prospect multiple times dropping multiple names of people you do not know.

If name dropping is done the right way – the ethical way – it can be a powerful sales technique. But you have to be careful. Remember, there is a difference between someone you have met, seen at a networking event, talked with briefly, and someone you can call a friend. So when you open a sales call or sales meeting with the following phrase – “I’m a good friend of ______________ and they said I need to meet you!” – make sure it is actually true! Name dropping in order to get an appointment or close a deal is just bad business. You will get found out and it will hurt your reputation.

“This behavior doesn’t work anymore,” said Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz. “I’m not sure it ever really did, but it certainly doesn’t today.”

People buy products and services, they aren’t sold!

If you have any questions about Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

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