Let us now “examine” what are metaphors and how to use them in Sales. Let us also see why should we “employ” metaphors 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 the 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. Metaphors have more to do with the concept. And 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:
- He is hooked to his mobile device for the last hour or so.
- You are rocking.
- I am on top of the world.
- He is upwardly mobile.
- He has a single-minded focus.
- That deal is on my radar.
- “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” –William Shakespeare
- Can I buy some time from you ?
- Try to pack more persuasion in your words.
- Enjoyed my morning walk in the Sun-kissed meadows.
Why should you use Metaphors in Sales ?
- Human beings think in terms of images and metaphors help create a visual experience in the minds of the customers.
- Retention of images is for long term whereas text is retained only for a short duration.
- To make a point.
- To simplify complex things.
- To take the discussion to a far greater height.
- To stand out in a crowded market place.
- To get the customer interested in abstract ideas.
- To make the customer visualize your product / service.
- To help create a relationship between your customer and your product / service. It is like saying: “Light. Years Ahead.” You know who says that.
- To generate more sales.
How to use Metaphors in Sales ?
- No more talking. Or talking texts. Talk only visuals.
- Use it in such a way that you get the buyer to tune in. And not tune out.
- Get the customer to see what you are saying.
- Appeal to the Right Brain.
- 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.
- Avoid cliched [overused] metaphors – “force to be reckoned with” etc.
- 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.”
- Your metaphors should open the creative eyes of the Prospect.
- They should connect with the dreams that your Prospect is chasing.
- The metaphors you use should help you build your brand. Forever.
I will leave you with a poem by Robert Frost that has quite a few metaphors. Enjoy reading it.
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