Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
Presentation & Sales Specialist
Author | Speaker | Coach
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!


Metaphor Minute: Market Baseball




October 29, 2009

Market Baseball: Explaining the Rally to Clients

Although the market has backed off a bit lately, when it had its first mini-rally in the spring, many people thought that perhaps it was time to jump back into stocks and recoup some of their losses.

Debra Taylor and the folks at a professional development network for financial advisors still had some concerns about sustainability and wanted to watch matters more closely over time. Her challenge was not to get investors to act, but to actually restrain clients from rushing into investing.

How did she hold them back? With an analogy, metaphor’s close cousin.

It’s Like Baseball
She suggested, “Think of our current economy as a baseball diamond. Arrival at first base represents increasing demand in the credit markets (and falling yields).” She explained that in order for equity markets to rebound in a sustainable way, companies need access to reasonably priced financing.

Rounding second base indicates that the equity markets are strengthening, which is a precursor to economic revival. Third base represents recovery of the economy, and home plate indicates that we are making money again and that the economy and the markets are stabilized.

Slide into Home Base
Tying her analogy back to her investors, she concludes, “Just as it is impossible to get to third base without running past first and second, we find it difficult to believe that the economy will recover without seeing the credit markets and equity markets rebounding, in that order.”

Debra reports that, “Although this is a somewhat simplistic approach, I find this metaphor is not only visually powerful but memorable and convincing as well.”

Popular Source for Metaphor
Baseball is a versatile source for metaphors, because it is so well-known to people, even those who don’t follow the game. It is particularly effective when what you are explaining involves a sequence of actions, a series of components, or a group of contributing factors. developed an attractive and simple graphic to go along with their analogy, but you can just as effectively grab a piece of paper and a pen and draw the “bases” of your argument as you are talking about them. Neatness doesn’t count. Visualizing your points for your listener is what “scores” for them and for you.

Wishing you lots of treats on Halloween

See you next month. Remember to Make What You Say, Pay—with metaphors.
Anne Miller, "Metaphorian"

Horsesmouth (, a professional development network for financial advisors.

Short Sweet & Successful
Want budget sensitive clients to spend more with you? JC Penney has an excellent (metaphoric) strategy to entice budget-conscious customers to spend money at their stores this Christmas season. Their latest ad reads, “Give like Santa, Save Like Scrooge.” I love this because the ad recognizes the “spend-save” frustration most people are feeling these days and then uses just the right images to succinctly and memorably position Penney as the way out of that dilemma. Brilliant.  Can you leverage this approach in your business?

Giving Feedback from Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz
“I have the puppy theory. When the puppy pees on the carpet, you say something right then because you don’t say six months later, “Remember that day, January 12, when you peed on the carpet?” That doesn’t make any sense. “This is what is on my mind. This is quick feedback. And then I’m on to the next thing.” The New York Times, 10/18/09.

Glad to Help...
“Thank you again for an engaging and thorough ‘discussion’ on how to better prepare and present to our clients in telling a story.” Acct. Exec., CBS Interactive-Sports, IAB Seminar

“Anne has an innovative way of analyzing people, that got me—and my team—to better tailor our pitches to the particular receiver. In under an hour, her fun, interactive program got us thinking and acting differently (by the way, she gets an Oscar from me for her role-playing.) Like me, you’ve probably sat through many sales training seminars. I wish all of them were as relevant as Anne’s.”
COO, AC Lion

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“Went out on a limb and called Anne out of the blue for feedback on a big presentation that had to be good. The end result was a presentation that unfolded more like a story and kept people’s attention, with key messages that couldn’t be missed. And it worked. Comments were ‘You did that very well’ and ‘That was the best presentation I’ve seen you do.’ Anne helped with the overall flow, the delivery, and the content on the slides. But most importantly, ensured the audience could see how the information benefited them...I will certainly call on Anne again. That was invaluable personal coaching just when I needed it”

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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. © 2009. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2009, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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