What’s Your Metaphor?

Don’t be alarmed because you don’t know the buyer’s company or industry as well as the buyer does. You never will.

The key is to create a metaphor that you own to draw the buyer OUT of his or her world and INTO yours. For example, let’s take a very common topic—leadership—and a banking executive who says, “How are you different from other consultants in leadership?”

“Do you have GPS in your car?”

“Yes, why?”

“That GPS provides the destination you enter, your current position, time to the destination, alternative routes, points of interest, and so on, right?”


“Well, I provide LGPS—Leadership GPS. I help you and your key team to agree on destinations, appreciate alternative routes, always understand exactly where they are and what options they have, and how to adjust their speed when needed. Would you like to know how it works?”

“I would.”

“Then let’s be pragmatic and not theoretical. Give me a key leadership or change initiative you’re facing, and I’ll show you how we’d work together.”

Knowledge of banking (or of any content) is never important. Move the buyer in your world via metaphor. That will set you apart from the crowd.

© Alan Weiss 2013

6 thoughts on “What’s Your Metaphor?

  1. Alan
    Great advice – as always. As a freelance speechwriter, I face a similar challenge. What gives me confidence is the knowledge that most executives want to talk at a strategic level. So their speeches are likely to focus on universal themes such as leadership, competition, innovation etc. rather than on the nitty gritty of their operations. A useful service, then, is to help them come up with metaphors that link their specific experience with these larger themes.

  2. Thanks to all.

    Wendy, I’ll point out that my experience is slightly different. I’ve found that most executives who should be talking at a strategic level default to a tactical level. The metaphor can help them remain where they should be instead of sliding into operational issues.

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