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


Metaphor Minute: Train to the Brain

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

April 17, 2014

Train to the Brain

Ensuring retention in internal sales team training about new procedures, rules, or products can be a little like teaching grammar to fifth graders. The kids know they have to learn the stuff, but they would much rather be outside playing (selling). Making the information stick is a real challenge. However, that is not a problem for digital sales trainer pros Kristin Townsend and Kate Darling at American City Business Journals.

Try a Little Rib Eye
When Kate wanted her group to understand why ACBJ added SEO/SEM as digital options for their clients, she said, “At ACBJ we strive to have the most digitally savvy Account Executives who can comprehensively counsel their clients on what digital products they should be including in marketing campaigns. All of the research shows that when looking at how advertising dollars are allocated by companies, SEO/SEM composes the largest part of the budget. It has become a necessary piece to any marketing plan.” And then drove home the point by adding, “By omitting SEO/SEM within a marketing program, it’s like a Steakhouse omitting a rib eye from the menu. You can't leave out the best part of the menu. People expect it and need it.’” Point made.

What is the Customer Experience?
I don’t know if the ACBJ staff is particularly fixated on food, but Kristin also uses a restaurant analogy, but this time to reinforce the importance of campaign execution excellence. “When you go to a restaurant and the food is fantastic, the service is excellent and you thoroughly enjoy yourself, the bill comes and you’re happy to pay it. Someone stops by your table… asks you how everything was… and you’re confident it was money well spent.”

“Now when you go to a restaurant and the food is so-so and the waiter is nowhere to be found, the bill still shows up… and unfortunately you’re still stuck paying the check. It doesn’t feel nearly as good!”

“When we execute campaigns for our clients without offering them top-notch service and delivery reports with feedback and success stories, we’ve served a less than delicious meal, never stopped by to check on the customer, and left the bill on their table. And often, on top of that, we’re calling them at renewal time asking for more money. We don’t want to be the restaurant that leaves a bad taste in their mouth!” Again, point made.

Train to the Brain
What point do you need to drive home or to simplify in a training session:

  • The rationale for a new product?
  • The importance of a new procedure?
  • The value of a cultural norm?

Anyone who trains sales teams, runs orientation sessions, or explains procedures, software, or processes benefits from remembering that we humans are wired for visuals. The brain loves images, responds emotionally to them, and, remembers them. Because metaphors and analogies by their nature are visual, it is a win for everyone to create and sprinkle them throughout your training.

Or, to put it in ACBJ terms, the result you deliver will be a much tastier message for your audience!

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.

For more on American City Business Journals, visit

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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. © 2013. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2013, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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