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


Metaphor Minute: The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs




September 19, 2012

The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs

The only pleasure to be had in cleaning out files as you prepare for a move (as I am currently doing) is that you often find the most amazing things. Last week, I actually discovered a $1000 bond I didn’t know I had (I liked that a lot) and today I found this wonderful story that I thought I had lost. I have no idea who wrote it, but given the economy, I would like to pass it along to you.

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.
He was hard of hearing so he had no radio.
Had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers.
But he sold good hot dogs.
He put up signs on the highway telling how good they were.
He stood on the side of the road and cried, "Buy a hot dog, Mister?"
And people bought.

He increased his meat and bun orders.
He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.
He finally got his son home from college to help him.

But then something happened.
His son said, "Father, haven't you been listening to the radio?
Haven't you been reading the newspapers?
There's going to be a big depression.
The Middle East situation is terrible.
The domestic situation is worse."

Whereupon his father thought, "Well, my son's been to college,
He reads the papers and he listens to the radio and he ought to know."

So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs,
And no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.

And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.

"You’'e right, son," the father said to the boy. "We certainly are in the middle of a great depression."

I am not making light of the tough economic times we are in. I have a relative out of work, friends who have had to abandon one career to begin another, and like you, I find business tougher to get. However, what I like about this story is its use as a metaphor for how we deal with reality, belief systems, actions, and outcomes. We cannot control so many of the forces around us, but we must control the choices we make in the face of those forces. You may want to use this with your team or just reflect on it for yourself. I welcome your stories.

Make what you say pay — with metaphors.
Anne Miller

Make What You Say Pay
Emila Alvarez from Puerto Rico writes: “Here’s a metaphor that helped lower resistance: A school had a course called ‘Home Economics for Boys.’ No one signed up. Then they changed the name to ‘Bachelor Living.’ It soon became full.” What’s in a name? Everything!

Getting Closer to Publication Date of New Book
Metaphorically Selling is going into its second printing in October. The expanded book will be called The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone and will include the original book plus 25 Metaphor Minute-type anecdotes.

As the world becomes a noisier and noisier place in which to sell products, services, or ideas, the need for visual communication becomes increasingly critical to success, so I am very excited to be doing this.

If you enjoyed Metaphorically Selling, then The Tall Lady with the Iceberg will make the perfect business gift for your colleagues and team. Look for announcements next month.

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Tell me about YOUR Metaphor Minute, a time you used a metaphor or an analogy to make your point, overcome an obstacle, close a sale, or wow an audience, and receive a signed copy of Metaphorically Selling or Make What You Say Pay!. Simply call me at 212 876 1875 and tell me what you did or email me at

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Links I Like:

Great Resources:

The best firms hire brilliantly
& train relentlessly.
Finish up 2012 with a bang!

Timely Topics:

Turn Info Into Stories That Sell"

"Negotiate Like the Big Boys"

"Notable & Quotable:
How to sell creatively"

"How to Shorten Sales Cycles"

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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. © 2012. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2012, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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