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


Metaphor Minute: A New Year's Resolution for Metaphor Pros

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller

JANUARY 4, 2018

A New Year’s Resolution for Metaphor Pros

Everyone needs it. No one likes paying for it. And many people don’t trust the people who sell it. I am talking about…

Yet Ryan Hastie, who sells property and casualty insurance for Pardee’s Insurance Agency, a company in Kingston, NY with roots that go back to 1830, makes it easy to buy--and his clients love him.


Early on in his career, Ryan noticed two obstacles to his sales:

  1. Clients glazed over once he got into the details of the different insurance options available to them. No matter how many times he explained the facts and terms, their inability to really see distinctions delayed their decision-making.

  2. Also, since clients had a hard time imagining just what coverage they would need and even though they had cost/coverage charts to review, they tended to buy lower priced policies. That decision was not always the best strategy for them. When Ryan would explain better options, he then fell back into the previous obstacle: losing their attention and interest in his explanations.

Result: lost time, more explanations, longer sales cycles—no one was happy.

Says Ryan, “This approach was definitely not working. Frustrated, I started to look for other ways to explain types of policies and coverage and one day I started using metaphors and my problems disappeared.”

Explaining Different Coverage Levels.

“Everyone I deal with drives a car. So, rather than call my homeowners’ policies Coverage 1, Coverage 2 and Coverage 3, one day, I described them as the Base model, the Middle model and the Cadillac model. The car metaphor worked immediately. My client instantly understood why there would be qualitative and cost differences among the policies.”

“Next, when it came to the amount of coverage, I stayed with the car metaphor and got him to imagine a situation he could relate to. Most people have had, or know someone who has been involved in, an accident and can relate to the expenses associated with such an event.”

"I told him to imagine he had $300,000 in his checking account when he is involved in an accident that he is at fault for. When it came time to cut the checks, the money could go only two different ways. One towards the price to make the repairs and the other towards the medical bills for the person he hit. If he exceeded this limit his check book would show a negative. That negative number is now what he would owe out of his back pocket and not the insurance carrier.”

“My client, knowing how much he had in his account, did the math pretty quickly and was able to make the right choice for how much coverage he would need.”
“Interestingly enough, as a result of the car metaphor and simple example, without any sales pressure from me, I find that we end up providing higher limits of coverages to clients. I use this metaphor and example in all my discussions now with auto insurance prospects.”

The Metaphorian’s New Year’s Resolution

  •  I will simplify the confusion of any technical jargon in my communications with metaphors
  • I will draw my metaphors from a world familiar to my listeners

And as for being trusted? Ryan happily reports, “I have been complemented numerous times, with clients thanking me for making this all make sense to them.”

A Happy, Peaceful, & Prosperous New Year to Metaphorians everywhere!

Anne Miller
Make What You Say Pay! — with Metaphors.

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Random Recommendations: Metaphors in the News

As you know, I recommend reading the Op Ed columns of your favorite newspaper to see how writers, whose aim is to persuade, use metaphors and analogies to grab attention and nail their points.

This month, put politics aside, and look at the metaphorical artistry in these two articles, how the first writer from The Wall Street Journal grabs your attention and how the second from The New York Times drives home the writer’s key point. (I am trying to be balanced here.)

“Too Many Flags in Trump’s First Quarter” Note particularly the first paragraph which engages immediately by playing off a football metaphor to squarely set the article’s message.

“The End of Trump and the End of Days” Even if you don’t read the entire article, read the last two paragraphs. The concluding racing metaphor leaves you with the point of the article clearly and memorably

How can you use these beginning and concluding metaphor techniques in business presentations and conversations to strengthen your messages?

Get Your 2018 Metaphorial Juices Flowing with The Tall Lady With the Iceberg  
Buy My Book
The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone.

“Filled with fresh thinking, this book should be a "must read" for all salespeople and business leaders who want to take their communication skills to the next level.”

-Jill Konrath, Author, Agile Selling.

Give Yourself the Gift of a Presentation Brush-up to Start 2018 Off with a Bang!
Call today and turn your information that tells into a story that sells.

"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. © 2018. 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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