Metaphorically Selling

The Big Idea

A lot of people consider selling a very difficult task. Unfortunately for them,
selling is an activity that forms part of everyone’s daily routine. It occurs not
only at work, but also when you are at home with your family, or when you
are enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend.

Types of selling include debating with your friend on what type of movie to
watch, convincing your boss to adapt to a different way of management, and
getting that top client to buy your company’s products. You must remember
that selling does not limit itself to cars, clothes or food.

In the book Metaphorically Selling, author Anne Miller explains that given
time and the right method, anyone can learn how to sell, persuade and explain.
By using simple metaphors and visually-enticing words, you can change your
status from a poor loser to a topnotch scorer.

The Case for Metaphor

The Challenge: Getting Heard

You live in a world where people read newspapers and get bombarded by print
advertisements every morning. You live in a world where large billboards fight
for attention, and television commercials have become a way of life.

Since selling is an everyday occurrence, you must learn to accept that your
udience has heard the very same pitch that you prepared countless times before.
How then do you force a jaded audience to loosen their guard and listen to you?

First, you must learn to talk from your audience’s point of view. Get your listeners
to understand what it is you’re selling by picking the right words. Speak their
language and use words that they can relate to. Remember, you are not selling
your product to yourself.

Second, don’t bombard your audience with too much information. Keep in mind that
you are only given a short time to make a sales pitch. It would be a fatal mistake to
overwhelm your audience with too many facts and figures.

Lastly, to do justice to your product without boring your audience, it would be most
helpful and advantageous to use visual words. Arming your presentation with visual
words enable you to explain fully what your product is about without spoiling your
audience’s zeal.

What are Metaphors?

When you were a student, you were taught that a metaphor is a figure of speech.
Your professor may have failed to tell you however; just how important a metaphor
is when it comes to selling.

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A metaphor is a way to communicate your message to any given audience in an

instant. You do this by using words that compare one thing to another. The
brilliance of a metaphor is that you can easily come up with comparisons that are
familiar to your audience. You can use metaphors that your audience can strongly
associate with.

The best way to explain this further is to tell you what not to do. If you are speaking
before a group of female activists, it is never a good idea to use metaphors extolling
the triumph of men in sports.

When Do You Need Metaphors?

Without question, a metaphor is a powerful tool. In fact, metaphors will help you
close a sale no matter what kind of audience you are interacting with. While you may
not need to use metaphors all the time, be keen and alert when one is needed. You
know you have to start firing a metaphor the moment your audience starts showing
hostility. . .

This article is based on the following book:

Metaphorically Selling – A Book Summary

How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade & Explain Anything
to Anyone.