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


Metaphor Minute: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


May 11, 2016

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Sometimes things arrive in your business life that are perfect just the way they are: A client agrees to do business with you on your first call; a project gets completed just the way you wanted; a demo gets done flawlessly. That serendipity happened to me when I was planning this month’s newsletter and this unsolicited email arrived from Mike Volpano, Company Trainer at See how you might use his metaphors in your world.

Mike’s Email
We communicated last year about enlightening our sales and renewal staff here, to the power of metaphor in sales. I shared with you, that we experienced double and triple digit sales gains in several areas, due in large part to incorporating the use of metaphors in their sales presentations.

I would again like to share a couple of metaphors, inspired by you, of course, that were particularly effective in training our sales staff to reflect on their own sales skills.

I began a training session by asking each of them to share an example of a sale that they were unable to close. Following that, I asked them what they thought the reason for that was. The answers included: pricing, timing, competition, a changing market, etc.

I then asked them:

  • Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror, just to see what you look like?
    — Of course you have – everyone has.

  • What do you do if you see something out of place?
    — Try to improve it, right?

I pointed out that, we usually don’t do that, when it comes to looking at and evaluating our skills and abilities. Instead, as psychology research points out, we all have a cognitive bias to overestimate our own qualities and abilities. Meaning, most of us think we’re better than we actually are. We’re not being honest with ourselves, and because of that, we don’t do things that could actually help us improve and achieve more.

I then handed each of them a wrapped ‘gift’ and asked them to open it. You guessed it, it was a hand-held mirror.

I further explained: This is when we need to take a long hard to look at ourselves, in the mirror, to see what is out of place. E.g. I failed to build value, I missed a key point, I didn’t listen, I was too forceful, I was so focused on my presentation and/or my product’s features, that I totally ignored the prospect and her needs….etc.

The point was well taken, because at our next meeting, they shared several examples of what was ‘out of place’ and how they improved it.

I finished with this metaphor. Get back into the game. We must look honestly at ourselves and pinpoint areas where we need to increase our knowledge base and advance our skill set. It’s a fact, that our market is not the same as it was last year…or the year before that…or the year before that….It is constantly changing. The status quo can’t be relied on to achieve at the same levels we did in the past. Just as football players have to change to longer spikes to dig in, when the playing surface changes, we need to change some of our equipment (sales skills) to ‘dig in’ when our playing field changes.

Move away from your comfort zone and into the end zone. Today, we must continually run new routes to win a sale; plan, practice, set and achieve personal goals, build relationships, evaluate our results, learn what works and what doesn’t. In short, use all of the ‘equipment’ available to us, in our locker, to help us perform at our very best – and win. Be assured, a commitment to this approach is the fastest route to sales success. It’s a commitment that requires a concentrated effort.

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. Your knowledge and insight is inspiring . . . and priceless!

Best always,

Create Your Own Mirror
Thank you, Mike. Getting people to consider changing and improving is never easy. Mike’s creative mirror metaphor and the follow-up sports analogy creatively and effectively achieved his goals. What simple prop or item can you use to metaphorically to promote the change you want to see?

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay! — with Metaphors

Random Recommendation
Great use of another common item, in this case, ice cream, to make a point,indeed, a very complicated point. “Unusual Flavor of G.O.P. Race Illustrates a Paradox.

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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. © 2016. 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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