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


Metaphor Minute: Anchors Away


Jan 13, 2016

Anchors Away!

Have you ever introduced a new idea, product, or service to clients or prospects? If you have, then, short of it being an iphone-like innovation or the cure for cancer, you know how challenging it can be to get others to really see and become excited by your novel offering.

Tish Squillaro faced a similar dilemma.

Tish Squillaro is the indefatigable CEO and visionary leader of Candor Consulting, a company that advises executives on strategic planning, organizational dynamics and human capital allocation to meet specific corporate goals. In addition to her sharp intuition and superior people smarts, Tish also understands that when you introduce something totally new, you need to link it to something old in your buyer’s experience to grab attention and arouse interest. (Full disclosure, Tish and I sometimes collaborate on projects.)

Anchor First. Explain Second.

Tish recently introduced a product called Roadmap to solve a widespread problem: how to help workforce bound students get their first job. Rather than detail its features and attributes first, she used a metaphor (analogy in this case) to anchor the value of her new product in a buyer’s mind AND pique further interest in hearing more about it.

The headline on the website for Roadmap (an apt metaphor itself) reads,

“Roadmap is an interactive preparation platform for workforce bound students It’s like SAT prep for career success.”  (Emphasis mine)

As a parent, student, or college career administrator, you may not know what this new platform is yet, but you do know the value of SAT prep, so now you definitely want to learn more.

With the promised value clearly anchored in your mind, Tish then gives you the product’s details: Method, Software, and Course Material plus opportunities to See How It Works, Get a Sneak Preview, & Try it Free for 30 Days

What’s Your Anchor Metaphor?

An anchor metaphor frames your entire value proposition. It

  • Captures attention
  • Seduces people into wanting more
  • Makes it easier to move them to action

Think about what you sell, present, or demo. What is your anchor metaphor or analogy?

One easy way to find your anchor metaphor is to complete this sentence several times until you hit on just the right comparison, “X is like (a)…

Good luck!

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.

P.S. For information on Candor Consulting visit For information on Roadmap, visit

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1. Simplfy Complexity: From the Oscar nominated movie “The Big Short “
Watch how Ryan Gosling explains the collapse of the 2008 housing crisis using the metaphor of the block-stacking, block-crashing game of Jenga

What prop can you use to help people understand a situation?

2. Argue the fallacy of a popular belief: House Speaker Paul Ryan on how to cure poverty (Wall Street Journal)
“The left says these (antipoverty) programs prevent extreme deprivation, and that’s true. But the Federal government is not only putting a floor under people’s feet; it is gluing their feet to it. (emphasis mine). Many programs are means-tested so as you make more money, you lose aid. People often use several programs at the same time, so the benefits drop-off is as subtle as a ski-jump.”

What common metaphor can you transform to make your point vivid to listeners?

3. Appeal to the obvious to make a serious point. President Obama, on gun violence: (The New York Times)
“As Americans, we hold consumer goods to high standards to keep our families and communities safe. Cars have to meet safety and emission requirements. Food has to be clean and safe. We will not end the cycle of gun violence until we demand that the gun industry take simple actions to makes its products safer as well. If a child can’t open a bottle of aspirin, we should also make sure she can’t pull the trigger of a gun. (Emphasis mine)

What simple accepted comparison can you use to argue a very serious point?

Latest Podcast

Bryon White, founder of and I get into a lively discussion of why metaphors work. Listen here.

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"The best arguments
dazzle with metaphor"

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7 Signs You Need A Metaphor (Visual Language)

  1. Your listener is not paying attention
  2. Your listener is stuck on an objection
  3. Your listener is confused
  4. Your listener sees no difference between you and your competition
  5. You want to drive home a point vividly and memorably
  6. You have to wiggle out of a difficult situation
  7. You want to wow or motivate a larger audience

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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. © 2015. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2015, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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