May 14, 2015
Whose Job Is It Anyway?
When Maura Schreier-Fleming, a Dallas based sales consultant, wrote and said,
“You’ll probably think I’m nuts, but I actually collect metaphors and
similes! (I use them in my programs.),” I knew I had to connect with this
woman, find out more, and share her examples with you.
Maura’s premise for success with which I totally agree is,“Words are the
tools of a sales professional's trade, and metaphors make one's words most
effective.” (Anne here: I would argue this holds true for anyone in any
function at any level including the CEO where
success depends on influence or persuasion.)
It’s Your Job
As readers of this newsletter know, I am an evangelist for
metaphor as a means to an end, the end being a desired outcome for the
speaker: a signed deal, support for resources, commitment to a strategy, etc.
Maura goes one step further and says, “As a speaker in a sale (or in any
communication situation),” you have the responsibility
to make it easy for others to listen to you. If someone isn’t
“getting it,” the problem is not with them, but with you.
No to Yes
In her listening programs, she asks people to write a metaphor for their work or
product. One of her seminar participants found himself in a very common
situation (asking for money) where the ability to persuade was key to getting a
desired outcome. This participant was a manager who had to persuade his boss
that he needed an expensive, but important, maintenance item.
Maura encouraged this participant to find a comparison that would instantly
click with the boss, one that the boss could see and emotionally relate to. With
a little analysis of his boss, the manager tapped into the boss’s love of coffee
and framed the need for the item this way, "This item is as important to our
department as a good coffee pot is to a great cup of coffee." Perhaps silly to
us, the metaphor worked because the boss really loved his coffee and this
manager got approval for the maintenance item!
“Some managers are unaware of their responsibility to provide a sales process
when they hire salespeople. They typically tell new hires to ‘go sell.’ I am
very much against throwing someone into the deep end of the pool. (another
“I tell my clients that their job as sales managers is to provide the sales
process. ‘Think of your salespeople as people who work on an assembly line.
Would you ask them to assemble your product any way they want to? Of course not.
It's the same in selling. You have to instruct them on the process you want them
to use for them to sell." The assembly line analogy makes the issue both crystal
clear and acceptable to the managers and then Maura helps them develop their
“What We Got Here is a Failure to Communicate”
So often, it is easy to blame others for not understanding the value of what we
are saying. Blaming feels good, but it doesn’t get the desired results. It is
far more effective to take responsibility for that communication failure and
create a metaphor to close that communication gap. As Maura notes, “Metaphors
are the perfect word tool for doing that, because metaphors add additional
levels of sensory impact. They create instantly understood mental images as well
as tap into strong emotional associations.”
Bottom-line, metaphors change the way your listener “sees” the situation and
that framing shift generally leads to the outcome you seek.
Maura Schreier-Fleming, principal of
Best@Selling, is a Dallas based sales consultant whose work focuses on skills and strategies
to sell more. She is the author of Monday Morning Sales Tips and
Real-World Selling for Out-of-This-World Results.
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
|If you liked this newsletter, please share
with friends and colleagues. Thank you!
Follow up —
In the April Metaphor Minute newsletter,
Metaphors—Time 100, I asked how would you be known if you were
on Time’s 100 Most Influential list? Reader
As always, I enjoy these newsletters of yours. This one
particularly resonates. About a year ago the prestigious
American Bar Association Journal did a profile on me in which
they quoted a client as describing me as the “Obi-Wan Kenobi of
fair use and the documentary film set." Some variation of that
metaphor now shows up in virtually every introduction of me,
whether on a panel or talk or whatever.
Thanks, Michael. Maybe we’ll see you on Time’s 2016 100 list!
New! (Free Infographic)
The Shortcut to Yes!
- Why Metaphor?
- 10X to Reach for Metaphor
- The Metaphor-Mind Connection
- Beginning Steps to Metaphor Mastery
- Metaphorians from Steve Jobs to Arianna Huffington
Need Some "WOW" in Your Presentation or Demo?
Call today and turn your information that tells into a story
"I sing your praises every opportunity I get."
Partner Regent Atlantic Capital LLC
“I still use what you taught me thirteen years ago!”
CEO, #1 luxury website
“Thanks to you, our presentation went very well…I am in awe
at how you are able to analyze a situation and help me focus in on the key
points that need to be clarified and emphasized. You make it look easy, but I
know it is not! Lynn Hutzel-Visel, VP, Comerica
“Anne understands what audiences look for and pushes you
beyond what you thought you were capable of... A real pro who will help you hit
it out of the park.” Mary Anne Doggett, Partner,
Perfect Pitch 24 delivers a centralized content management system that places
all sales and marketing videos, images and documents right at your fingertips
making it easy and seamless to present the right message to the right customer
at the right time. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an affiliate.)
Click 30 Day Free Trial - Start Now!