Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
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Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: School Daze




April 30 , 2008


Michael D is a Senior Account Manager at First Research, Inc. His company provides Industry Intelligence in the form of Industry Profiles designed for busy sales and marketing professionals. The Industry Profiles include information on trends, opportunities, and business challenges. His sales problem was not the service itself, but explaining the service because there are so many features to it. For example, First Research also arms customers with call preparation questions, executive insights, financial benchmark information, etc. The content is fairly unique but, because of these many features, sometimes hard for people to grasp initially.

Frustrated (and aware of the power of metaphors and analogies to make the complex simple and the simple meaningful), he searched for the best one to solve his problem.

His thinking went something like this: “Ummm, we give lots of useful information in easy to use condensed form….where have I seen that before? digests?...yes, but not everyone reads book digests….online book summaries?...yes, but again not everyone reads those…”

And then it hit him.

He started telling prospects that the content was just like having the “Cliff Notes” version of an industry – everything you need to know about a company in a condensed form. Since nearly everyone has used Cliff Notes at one time or another or certainly knows of Cliff Notes, his analogy worked. Now, glazed looks are gone and Michael always gets an “a-ha” with his initial description of First Research, which simplifies his offering in their minds and, most important, shortens the time to close a sale.

Lesson Learned
When clients repeatedly signal confusion with your product or service at a certain point in the sales conversation, that is a red flag to you that you need a metaphor or analogy to explain that point. Your metaphor or analogy needn’t be difficult. It just needs to come from a world familiar to your client. With that confusion gone, the road to closing that sale becomes much easier to travel.

Until next month, remember to Make What You Say, Pay – with Metaphors

Anne Miller

For more information on First Research


Thank you, BNET
Delighted that, the business network for managers, featured Metaphorically Selling on its website last week

Following the Election Metaphorically
No one wields metaphors and analogies better than Maureen Dowd at The New York Times. Because the delegate numbers are against her, many Democrats want Hillary to step down, but since her win in Pennsylvania, getting her to do that is difficult. How difficult? “Certainly,” wrote Dowd, “Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.” As for Obama, Dowd’s metaphorical arrow hits its target with equal precision. He has “missed several opportunities to smash the ball over the net and end the game. Again and again, he has seemed stuck at deuce. He complains about the politics of scoring points, but, to win, you’ve got to score points.”

Presidential Trivia
Stephen Cone, Chief Marketing Officer of Epsilon, a provider of data driven marketing technologies, analyzed every presidential election going back to 1840 and discovered that the presidential candidate with the best slogan won every race. When neither candidate had a strong slogan, 9 out of 10 times, it was a close election.
(And I thought elections were supposed to be about issues.)

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The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2007. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2007, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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