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What are Metaphors and how to use them in Sales ?

Let us now “examine” what are metaphors, why should we “employ” them in Sales and how can we make them “pay” us. Is it easy to use metaphors in Sales ? If it was easy, why everyone is not using them ? What makes them so “attractive” and “image-provoking” ? Will the use of metaphors “drive home” our point ?


What is a Metaphor ?

It is a figure of speech. Where you use one thing to refer to another. The two are not related. But they both share same characteristics. For ex, if you compare Argument and War, then that is a Metaphorical concept. In an argument there is no physical battle where as in a War there is. But both share similar characteristics like attack, counter-attack, strategy, winning, losing out etc.

It is not clever use of words. It is more to do with the concept. It is a thought process. You elevate the thought process to a greater height. Man generally thinks in terms of metaphors and readily understands metaphors. That is because we all think in terms of images. And communicating through visuals is more easier and makes a great impact.

Concept of Journey and Business “milestones” [which itself is a metaphor for achievements] is a good example that we can see in boardrooms and sales conferences. Other examples:

  1. He is hooked on to his mobile device for the last hour or so.
  2. You are rocking.
  3. I am on top of the world.
  4. He is upwardly mobile.
  5. He has a single-minded focus.
  6. That deal is in my radar.
  7. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” –William Shakespeare
  8. Can I buy some time from you ?
  9. Try to pack more persuasion in your words.
  10. Enjoyed my morning walk in the Sun kissed meadows.

Why should you use Metaphors in Sales ?

  1. Human beings think in terms of images and metaphors help create a visual experience in the minds of the customers.
  2. Retention of images is for long term whereas text is retained only for a short duration.
  3. To make a point.
  4. To simplify complex things.
  5. To take the discussion to a far greater height.
  6. To stand out in a crowded market place.
  7. To get the customer interested in abstract ideas.
  8. To make the customer visualize your product / service.
  9. To help create a relationship between your customer and your product / service. It is like saying: “Light. Years Ahead.” You know who says that.
  10. To generate more sales.

How to use Metaphors in Sales ?

  1. No more talking. Or talking texts. Talk only visuals.
  2. Use it in such a way that you get the buyer to tune in. And not tune out.
  3. Get the customer to see what you are saying.
  4. Appeal to the Right Brain.
  5. Buying is an emotional decision. Once you get the “connect”, Prospects will find their own justifications to buy your product or service. And metaphors will help you get the connect.
  6. Avoid cliched [overused] metaphors – “force to be reckoned with” etc.
  7. Get creative and build new metaphors.  If you are selling holiday resorts, you may want to say this to your prospective customers: “Leave your jewels in your bank lockers; we will give you stars to admire.”
  8. Your metaphors should open the creative eyes of the Prospect.
  9. They should connect with the dreams that your Prospect is chasing.
  10. The metaphors you use should help you build your brand. Forever.


Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920.

1. The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;            5

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,            10

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.            15

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference           20

Happy Selling !!

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It’s Transformation, which your prospects seek

Creative Stories

Your Prospects are not seeking a Commodity but are seeking Transformation. The route to the transformation does not matter much as long as the Transformation is guaranteed in a specific time frame. Transformation means “a marked change in form, nature, or appearance.” A metamorphosis, in essence, is what your prospects are seeking. For ex, from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

Whether you sell products or services or both, it is not that which you are selling that your prospects are seeking. Instead they are seeking transformation and if your product / service guarantees that, then you have a deal. Please get this.

Your prospects have some dreams and are vigorously chasing them. And if your product / service helps in realizing those dreams, then they will buy. Say for ex, if you are selling cars and your prospects dream is to acquire a status and if one of your vehicle categories satisfies that and you are able to communicate visually how that will improve his or her status, then you have a sale. Prove it to them that it helps them realize their dreams and they are going to have a transformation. And a lifetime achievement. And let them know how they are going to break records and create new ones.

How to sell a dream. Here are some tips:

  1. Story Telling: You should look deeper and you will have a story to tell. Make it appealing with plenty of visuals. Because a picture is worth a thousand words. Somewhere, in the story, there should be a connect to the dreams of your prospect and how you can help realize that.
  2. Focus on their dreams and the transformation they are seeking.
  3. Highlight the losses if dreams are not realized.
  4. Focus on the benefits of the transformation.
  5. Connect your product / service at this instance and prove how it is going to help in the transformation.
  6. Visualize the transformation and clearly communicate that vision to the prospect.
  7. Use metaphors to make the prospect experience it, in his / her subconscious mind.
  8. State and then Repeat the salient features. But only through stories.
  9. Create characters in your story that the prospect can identify with.
  10. Be human. Not a robot. Because you are talking to humans and not robots.

Happy Selling !! err Happy Story Telling !!