Ever notice how every once in a while a client can be a bit, shall we say, unreasonable?
One tech company sales executive (Linda) had a client (Richard) who wanted to get a quality product from her firm in an impossibly short amount of time. He suggested her firm add more staff to get the product out the door faster.
Linda explained that that wouldn’t change anything. Richard ignored her comment and insisted that adding more staff was the solution. Exasperated, Linda finally said, “Listen, Richard, you can’t give three different women three months each and get a baby. Some things require more time and process stages to develop effectively. This is one of those things.” Richard paused, realized immediately that what she said was true, and withdrew his unreasonable time demand.
Defusing resistance is just one example of how metaphors come in handy in building business and relationships. This highly effective tool for persuasion has the power to help in an almost limitless number of ways getting appointments, demonstrating unique value, overcoming resistance, closing deals; wowing a crowd; raising funds; rallying the troops; selling change; even transforming the world (Think Steve Jobs).
Metaphors (and analogies) are so powerful because listeners instantly “see” what’s being said in a fresh way. And because images carry emotions and associations with them, metaphors and analogies, thoughtfully crafted, and artfully used, can shape perceptions to your advantage When logical responses fail, metaphors turn a listener’s mental kaleidoscope into new patterns, which tends to get the agreement you seek.
In short, metaphor mastery is a critical skill in today’s world of information overload, short attention spans, and intense competition, where people would rather tune you out than in, if only for survival purposes.
Caught up in the excitement of technology, prisoners to performance metrics, and often under extreme time pressures, sales people frequently overlook the basic power of language to effect the results they want, which is like running a marathon without sneakers. You can do it, but why would you?
Words Matter--Make What You Say Pay!
To view Anne’s new infographic, “Metaphor: The Shortcut to Yes!” Click here