There is no question selling is both art and science. Like most things where art and science collide, science gets all the attention. Why? Science is measurable. It’s data-driven. We can touch and feel the science of sales. It’s black and white and as humans, we love that shit. How many times have we heard the phrase; “If it can’t be measured it doesn’t count?” I think there’s some truth to that statement, but to me sales goes a lot further than the science.
The art of sales is very hard to measure. It’s hard to put our finger on the delivery of one sales reps message over another. It’s hard to measure the “relationship” skills from rep to rep. It seems almost impossible to assess how personality, inflection, timing, engagement, tone and more influence a sale. We all know it does, and it’s for this reason we’ve put it all into the art of sales box and there it sits, in a nebulous, unshaped mess.
With this said, my goal of this post is to drop a little sales art think on ya and try to give a little shape to this art of sales thingy. I’m freestyling this post, so who knows where it’s gonna go. I’m diggin’ deep in my gut and leveraging what I’ve seen in the past and what I do myself.
I believe there is one art form in sales that the best of the best do, and it makes a HUGE difference. It’s the art of the metaphor (or the simile).
Great salespeople tell stories. We know this. However, the best salespeople go further. They wield powerfully, visual metaphors that simplify the complex, captivate the bored, engage the disconnected, and educate the ignorant.
Leveraging metaphors while selling, is an art, it is not a remedial task. It requires a solid understanding of the intricacies, connections, the context and the subtleties of what is being sold and how it can or does relate to other aspects of the world. Leveraging a metaphor to clarify a point, engage a prospect or simplify the complex requires nothing less than perfection. Otherwise, it will fall flat. I’ve stubbed my toe more than once trying to wow with a metaphor only to find myself half-way through and thinking; “Shit, I’m going down the wrong road, how do I put this sucker in reverse?”
But once you get good at selling in metaphors, you have a powerful tool that you can whip out when necessary. It’s an additional arrow in your quiver to connect and engage with your prospects. It’s an additional approach to teaching your prospects not just preach at them.
Now, here’s the tough part of this post. How do I teach you to speak in metaphors? How do I help you sell like this? It’s kinda like teaching someone to act. It starts in the gut. I can tell you what feelings you’re supposed to have. I can give you your lines. I can share the context of the act. I can share the emotions the act is trying to create, but in the end, you’re going to have to create the scene yourself. 😉
Selling in metaphors or simile’s is like acting. It requires you are in touch with you and the prospect. It requires you have a deep knowledge of where you want to take the sales call/scene. It requires you understand your audience. It requires you know your lines. It requires you understand the context of the moment. It demands you understand the emotional impact required to move your audience and exactly when to inject a story that will move the sale.
Selling in metaphors (or similes) is no joke. Like Picasso, it all comes down to the artist.