BOOKS BY ANNE MILLER
"The Tall Lady..." is the original "Metaphorically Selling", PLUS 25 fresh stories from people who have used visual language to get what they want.
Author "Radical Marketing"
call BookMasters 1-800-247-6553
As the world becomes a noisier and busier place where people would rather tune you out than tune you in, communicating creatively is vital to success everywhere you are – in the office, in the Boardroom, on an interview, at a PTA meeting or on a Presidential campaign trail.
7 Signs You Need A Metaphor
- Your listener is confused.
- Your client is stuck on an objection.
- Your client sees no difference between you and your competition.
- You want to drive home a point vividly and memorably.
- You have to wiggle out of a difficult situation.
- Your client is stalling.
- You want to wow or motivate a larger audience.
Kevin Allen, Chief Collaboration Officer
Interpublic Group, Inc.
Seth Godin, Author
"Purple Cow" and "Free Prize Inside"
Jill Manee, Vice President, Publisher
The Adage Group
Note to Expanded Edition
Introduction: The $1.2 Billion Metaphor
SECTION ONE: THE CASE FOR METAPHOR
Chapter 1: The Challenge: Getting Heard
Chapter 2: What are Metaphors?
Chapter 3: When Do You Need Metaphors?
Chapter 4: Your Audience's Brain Craves Metaphors
SECTION TWO: BUILDING METAPHOR MUSCLE
Chapter 5: The Four-Step Metaphor Workout: Overview
Chapter 6: Identify Blindspot
Chapter 7: Snapshot Your Client
Chapter 8: Create Your Metaphor
Chapter 9: Relate Back To Your Point
Chapter 10: Beware Bad Metaphors!
SECTION THREE: SELLING WITH METAPHORS
Chapter 11: Threads: Run a Theme
Chapter 12: Grabbers: Get Attention
Chapter 13: Anchors: Position Yourself
Chapter 14: Nutshells: Make Memorable Recommendations
Chapter 15: Burners: Explain, Simplify, Reinforce Points
Chapter 16: Shockers: Make Numbers Stick
Chapter 17: Seducers: Titles That Tease
Chapter 18: Sledgehammers: Headlines That Hot Home
Chapter 19: Visuals: Communicate Concepts
Chapter 20: Props: Add Impact
Chapter 21: Clinchers: Dramatic Take-Action Closings
Section IV: METAPHOR MAINTENANCE
Chapter 22: Observe and Connect
Chapter 23: Travel To Other Worlds
Chapter 24: Become a Clipper
Appendix: 25 Stories from Metaphorians Like You
Other Sources Of Interest
About Anne Miller & "The Metaphor Minute"
When you run into someone you recognize
at the airport or on the street, but you
can’t immediately identify them, and you
frantically try to figure out how you
know them, what’s going through your
A. A list of words?
B. A column of numbers?
C. A rush of images?
Answer: “C.” A rush of images.
Ultimately and triumphantly, you burst out with something like, “I know you! I know you! You sat next to me in law school!” Or, “We were in day camp together when we were five!” Or, “You’re the tall lady with the iceberg!” (More about that a little later.)
We Are Image Junkies
Our brains are wired to respond to imagery. We notice images. We remember in images. We have emotional reactions to images. We make decisions based on images. We talk in images. For centuries, mankind’s communications have reflected this primal reach for images to communicate. Sometimes, the images are actual pictures. Other times, they are expressed in language that is vivid and pictorial, which creates mental images for listeners.
- Cavemen used wall paintings to tell stories of their lives.
- Aesop and Grimm entertained and taught with images in their fairy tales.
- Every religion is rich with images to support its meaning and power.
- Aristotle noted, “To be master of metaphor [word images] is everything.”
- Poets capture imaginations with imagery: “My love is like a red, red rose.”
- Advertisers sell products with images. Find a car ad without the car in it.
- Brands use images to identify themselves. Take your pick - from the Nike Swoosh to the Geico lizard to Apple’s . . . well, apple.
- Politicians manipulate the public with images: Willy Horton, Axis of Evil, The Great Society, Contract with America, the Tea Party.
- Corporations construct their cultures around story images: Microsoft’s two guys tinkering in a garage; Ivory soap “so pure it floats,” early Post-It Notes as bookmarks, Nordstrom’s superb customer service – so superb, in fact, that they allowed a customer to return tires when the store doesn’t even sell tires.
- The Internet uses images to make it user-friendly: Web, Desktop, Trash Can, Folders, Virus.
- Wall Street uses images as shorthand to describe market behavior and dynamics: Bulls, bears, spiders, poison pills, white knights.
- Finally, our daily conversations are peppered with images: “Not enough bandwidth to process that.” “The market is going off a cliff.” “It’s apples and oranges.” “It’s a jungle out there.”
Why This Update
Since the first edition of this book appeared in late 2004, originally titled “Metaphorically Selling,” the world has become a noisier place. Competition for our attention, loyalty, and commitment has skyrocketed. A numbing stream of 24/7 information delivered on a proliferation of sophisticated electronic gadgets, an explosion of similar-looking products and services, and a tough economy that can induce inertia – all these factors have made people even more inclined to tune out what you have to say. Never before has it been so hard to get and keep someone’s attention.
But we still have to get things done.
I have seen my clients twist themselves into knots, trying to keep their audiences tuned in to their speeches, their clients responsive to their pitches, their colleagues attentive to deadlines. The need to deploy metaphoric language in order to influence thinking, shape opinions, change minds, and simply get things done in business has never been greater.
So I decided to re-issue “Metaphorically Selling” with a fresh title and a new Appendix of expanded stories and Take-Away Tips.
The original chapters and “Your Turn” sections of this book remain as valid and useful as they were when they were first published. They will help you develop your metaphorical language skills.
The new Appendix of stories from readers and the additional Take-Away Tips will further inspire you to incorporate metaphors into your world.
More information is not the answer. More metaphorical language is.
Throughout this book, I have used “metaphor” and “metaphorical” in the broadest sense to include all of the following:
- Images on a slide
Why “The Tall Lady With the Iceberg?”
As I was searching for a stronger, more visual title for this book than “Metaphorically Selling II,” the current title came to me. In my “Present Like a Pro” and “Got Metaphor?” seminars and speeches, I lead a number of quick exercises and games to illustrate how our brains are wired to respond more to images than just words alone.
One of these exercises shows a typical PowerPoint slide with six simple bullet points of text. The slide deals with the present and future services of computer telephony. The information on the slide lists the services we have today followed by a list of services consumers will enjoy tomorrow.
First, I present the message of the slide. Then I show the slide again, but this time with an image of an iceberg alongside the text, and I say: “The services we have today are just the tip of the iceberg. But the services below the waterline, the ones still being developed, will really change the industry.”
Then I ask the group which slide resonates more with them. Invariably, without exception, they choose the second one - because of the iceberg image. I make the point that even without the image itself, just talking about an iceberg while showing the data would create the same resonance in listeners, because in their minds they will “see” the image that the word creates.
To underscore the point that we are all wired for images, I often tell my clients, “Five years from now, if you see me walking down the street, you will probably not remember my name, but I guarantee you will remember me as the tall lady with the iceberg.” (I am 5’11”) They laugh, recognizing how true that is.
Go forth, imagine and prosper.
Nutshells: Make Memorable Recommendations
“To win the war against terrorism, we have to think like a street gang, swarm like a soccer team, and communicate like Wal-Mart.”1
“Business is like a swim at the beach. If you go with the tide, you go somewhere. If you go against the tide, you splash around and go nowhere. You need to find the tide and go with it.”2
“States and local governments spent like sailors on shore leave in boom times. Washington should not bail them out now..”3
Is there any doubt as to what each of the speakers above is recommending? Their metaphors encapsulate quickly, succinctly, and vividly what is to be done and why.
The thought process behind a recommendation that’s rephrased framed with a metaphor is fairly simple. First, ask yourself: What am I actually recommending? Second, determine the problem your recommendation will solve. Third, run through various possible metaphors, selecting the one that communicates most clearly and succinctly what you’re urging.
On the next page are samples of metaphors created for common types of recommendations:
Recommendation: Replace System A with B.
Problem to Be Solved: Old system is too slow.
Sample Metaphor: In effect, we will be replacing a horse and buggy with a Porsche.
Recommendation: Move from Process A to Process B.
Problem to Be Solved: Process A needs to be streamlined so that it works more efficiently.
Sample Metaphor: Bottom-line, the new process will take the sand out of the gears.
Recommendation: Reorganize to improve collaboration on projects.
Problem to Be Solved: Communication, morale, and productivity are down.
Sample Metaphor: It will move us from a company of stray shooters to a team of marksmen.
1. What recommendation to a client have you made recently?
2. What problem does it resolve?
3. What metaphor can make that recommendation more vivid in your listener’s mind?
Opposites Attract in Love, Life, & Language
Catnip or Caviar?
Ladder or Jungle Gym?
Why Settle for One?
Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick
No Ceiling on Metaphors
Tigger or Eeyore?
Ride That Cyclone!
Once Upon a Time
It’s a Small, Small World
Bait Your Blog
The Tall Poppy Syndrome
The PIN Code
Engage Me or Die
JFK, Zorro, or Wonder Woman
News You Can Use
Blood Is Quicker Than Water
President Obama’s State of the Union
It Doesn’t Have to Be Dull, Trite, & Boring
A Cliché a Day Keeps the Buyer Away
Down by the Seashore
What Color Is Your Hat?
Take Them Out to the Ball Game
What Inning Are We In?
Where Is the Next Party?
What’s a Ferrari For?
When Idols Fall
Humpty Dumpty Woods
When It’s Personal
Twist the Kaleidoscope
Picking a Few Bones
What Inning Are We in?
How many times have you walked out of a sales call and weren’t quite sure of your chances for winning the business?
Chris Hogan, a recent presentation seminar participant, has a highly effective way of solving this problem. Chris calls on media buyers at advertising agencies in New York, and his Internet firm has a longer than usual sales cycle. He recalls: “I was out meeting with clients from a leading pharmaceutical company, and our client was a big Yankees fan. We had been negotiating for the past couple of months and I wanted to know where we stood in the decision buying process vis-a-vis the competition. So, I asked, ‘If we’re on 1st base, is anyone on 2nd and 3rd base?’”
He responded, “No.”
(If he had said yes, I would not have liked it, but at least the game would have gotten interesting. Knowing others were “on 2nd or 3rd base” would open the opportunity to refresh the client on why we were better.)
“Great,” I said, “So we are currently leading the game. It sounds like we are in the top of the 7th. Is that an accurate statement?” (I always use 7, as most sales forces use a CRM tool on the % likely to close business, so 7th inning could mean a 70% chance of being selected.)
“More like the bottom of the 7th,” he said, “But you are definitely in the lead.”
“When I hear that,” continues Chris, “I can continue the metaphor in different ways. For example, depending on the situation, I might say, ‘So how much longer to this game until it ends?’ or, ‘Glad we are in the 7th inning. My team and I are focused on getting to the end of the game and would like to do the following, etc....’”
“Putting the developing business relationship in the context of ‘innings’” says Chris, “makes it easier to gauge where I am in the sales cycle and how to move the prospect forward to a commitment.”
Metaphors can finesse asking difficult questions. In this example, the baseball metaphor was non-threatening, because Chris’s client was a baseball fan. The metaphor also provided a framework for creating momentum towards action. This works for Chris at each point in his relationship with the client.
Do not use baseball metaphors if:
A. The top and bottom of anything only makes you think of fashion, and...
B. Your listener is not a baseball fan
Metaphors and analogies work only when the language and imagery are familiar to both speaker and listener.
The power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone
Published by Chiron Associates, Inc. Publication, Jan, 2005, Expanded Nov 2012
Problem: Someone is resistant to changing their current suppliers and is fighting the suggestion of testing your product, service, or idea.
Metaphoric Solution: "Mr. Client, you know that you can play a reasonable game of tennis with a strong forehand; you simply run around the backhand. But when you add a strong backhand, you are much more powerful in the game. The same is true with our (product, service, idea). Your current supplier is your forehand; keep it. Add our (product, service, idea) to what you are doing now and you will be much more powerful in your marketplace, your 'game,' as well."
This metaphoric logic is generally a winner!
SOLUTION: Become a Metaphorian! Learn how to:
- Develop hard-hitting metaphors quickly
- Use metaphors to make a point, deflect resistance, simplify complex information
- Create memorable openings and closings
- Bring life to PowerPoint visuals
- Present creatively with appropriate props
- Maintain a metaphor making mindset
- Differentiation from competitors
- Shortened closing cycles
- Increased business & acceptance for your ideas