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


Metaphor Minute: Mind Opening Metaphor


March 15, 2017

Mind-Opening Metaphor

It you ever cheered at the Golden Globe Awards, or celebrated with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve show, then, you were caught up in two of the many shows produced by Dick Clark Productions. Jay Goldberg, SVP, Branded Entertainment/Integrated Sales has been selling those shows to advertisers as vehicles to reach audiences, like you, who view these events and are likely to interact with them.

Despite the obvious appeal of these shows and their viewers, Jay, like anyone in sales, has to contend with questions and objections from clients. Here’s his challenge:

Open a Closed Mind

“Our challenge is an industry that loves what’s new and different: the ‘shiny objects’ of new content, new influencers, and headlines. They don’t always see our established properties in as favorable a light as they deserve.

“I need to break through that mind-set and get them to see two things:

  • That our live award shows are proven, trusted advertising vehicles for them, socially alive, and backed with both quality custom content and strong production values.

  • That without a built-in and organic plan for distribution (amplification)--which we have--their advertising, no matter how brilliant or creative, won’t matter and will likely fall short of their goals.”

Jay’s “Mind-Opener”

“I find that using a new metaphor they can relate to, while playing off an old one, gets laughs and, more important, their immediate attention. So, I have said…

“You’ve heard of ‘a tree falling in the forest but no one hears it’ correct? Well, having us produce this amazing content without our distribution and amplification solutions from our MSA (partner agreements) and consistent audience scale is akin to “Justin Timberlake running naked through the forest while those trees fall, and still no one hears of the event. You don’t want that. It is a wasted opportunity! Tragic actually.”

“They laugh because they understand what a loss that would be, and with this metaphorical mental re-set, they then ask me to tell them more about how we solve their problems.”

“Having won their complete attention, I review with them our distribution strategies, targeted reach and the results they can expect. Compelling arguments, all 3rd party validation. Case closed. Business won.”

Create a Mental Re-Set Metaphor

What I like about Jay’s approach is the pairing of an old metaphor, even a cliché, with a new image. It catches people off guard in a positive way, creates that mental jolt, and continues to maintain the relationship and promotes an ongoing conversation.

When you need to open a closed mind, use Jay’s thought process. Ask yourself:

  1. What is the perception problem my listeners have?

  2. What is my listener’s world? (In Jay’s case, it was entertainment)

  3. What instantly understood metaphor or analogy will produce a mind-set change for listeners so that they will now consider what I have to say?

Then, as Jay did, present and close your deal.

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay! — with Metaphors

Random Recommendations
* High Stakes Metaphors: Casual? Crafted? Or Creative?
My latest post on LinkedIn explores three levels of metaphors you can use when you need to sell, influence, persuade, or explain anything to anyone.

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"Anne and I recently worked together on a speech I gave at a large conference. She helped me turn a series of somewhat interesting points into an expertly crafted, compelling and actionable story. Together, we built a storyline with attention-grabbing headlines. We worked and re-worked the language, making sure every word was important. Finally, Anne coached me on the delivery. The result was so exciting - I've never been so well received in a speech before. Thank you, Anne!" Kate Griffin, Vice President,

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Links I Like:

Great Resources:

"The best arguments
dazzle with metaphor"

Gerry Spence,
Media Commentator & Lawyer

The Original “Metaphorically Selling” that spawned a movement, now with 25 New Stories.  Available in print, ebook & (new) audiobook formats.
Click here

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. © 2017. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2017, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling,"
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