The Power and Influence of Analogies

by | Jul 2, 2018 | Communication Skills

I’ve seen many a client’s eyes glaze over after the 32nd slide. These information dumps are typically overloaded with features and functions. Your clients want to know about the benefits of your products and services and what they can do for them? Instead of sharing too much data, statistics and information, give your clients an analogy describing how your solutions can be used and what it means to them. There are three compelling reasons to use analogies.

Analogies help your clients understand how your solutions can help them because they simplify something that might be hard to understand. Analogies are a comparison of two things to help you appreciate how something might work. It’s understanding unfamiliar ideas in comparison to what we know. Using analogies helps sellers simplify their presentation.

“That’s about as useful as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

Analogies help persuade, making it easier for clients to make decisions. Unlike a metaphor or simile, an analogy is more of a logical argument. Analogy compares two completely different things and look for similarities between two things or concepts. Their persuasive power comes from the client arriving at the intended understanding on their own.

Before computer technology, people compiled reports using a typewriter. Every time they made an error, they either had to start over or use white out to correct it. Think of the time and effort that went into typing a document. The typewriter is now about as efficient as using a toothbrush instead of a mop to clean your floors.

“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

Analogies resonate with your clients at an emotional level. Our brains are tuned to recognize matching patterns, so when our brains see a complex problem simplified through an analogy, it moves us emotionally. Remember we buy based on emotion and back up our decision with logic. One reason that analogies resonate is that they reach both the emotions and the logic through pattern matching. Here’s an example. You need efficiency and effectiveness for a new solution to have a good return on investment. Having one without the other just doesn’t work. Here’s what I mean. Driving from Dallas to Austin in 3 hours and 20 minutes is efficient. But if your meeting was in Houston, you’re not being effective. Efficiency is getting your job done in half the time because of modern technology. But if you don’t use the time saved, you’re not being effective.

Steve Jobs said, “When you touch someone’s heart, that’s limitless.” If your analogy awakens feelings in your audience, you can count on making a lasting impact.

Analogies help us relate as they help to simplify and clarify the points you’re trying to make. They help your clients relate to what you’re trying to present, and they work because our brains are hardwired to learn from experience and to make judgments with as little hard thinking as we can get away with.

Another great advantage of using analogies is that they are often memorable, and sometimes humorous. Just picture someone cleaning the floor with a toothbrush and you’re likely to chuckle!

Great sales people know how to describe their solutions in a context that their client will understand. Using the right analogy, at the right time, in the right way, will help your clients reach a conclusion that moves your solution closer to them saying Yes!

According to John Pollack, former Bill Clinton speechwriter on analogies, “it would be foolish for an ambitious businessperson to overlook this powerful literary device.”

Good Selling!