Using Metaphors To Connect With Your Audience
If you have been studying marketing for a while, you’ve probably had people tell you that you need to tell stories. What does it mean to be able to tell effective stories? It’s all about knowing the importance of using metaphors. The word metaphor may or may not mean anything to you, but it is the ability to relate to complex topics with something tangible that your audience can understand.
When you get way too complicated with how smart you are and you want to teach your prospect or your audience everything under the sun, we fall into the expert’s curse. We confuse our prospects and we’re boring our audience to death. When it comes to sales and converting your prospect into believing that they should be buying your product or service, the last thing in the world that you want to do is impress them with how much you know. The only thing they care about is: “what is it going to do for me?” Learn how you can use metaphors to successfully convey messages, connect with your audience or prospect, and sell your stuff online.
If I can literally hand you millions of dollars right now, this episode is going to be it. Over the course of the past two years, I’ve been really focused on trying to figure out how to implement and develop stories that sell. And that is way too broad for me and it’s probably way too broad for you.
If you’ve been following marketing for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that phrase in some form or another. I went in and dissected it and tried to show you how to reverse engineer an effective metaphor. Metaphors sell way more than specific stories. I reverse engineered how to think about metaphors. How to create metaphors and how to use them to convert more of your customers on webinars and all of your marketing.
I’m going to hop on the horn, we’re going to do a little bit of a lesson here. I want to talk about something very important as it relates to you increasing your conversions in your webinars and in your marketing in general. Let’s just take an example: someone calls me up and says, “Joel, I’ve got an existing webinar that I want you to improve.” I’m going to make the assumption that they’re making zero conversions with their webinar. I’ll watch their webinar. I’ll go through their intake form and intake process and I’ll try and connect the dots.
Where is your prospect before they sign up for your webinar and where do you ultimately want them to be at the end? With a relatively high level of certainty, I can probably guarantee that these people are making zero conversions on their webinars. I don’t want to sound general, I don’t want to sound broad because if you have been studying marketing for a while, you’ve probably had people tell you that you need to tell stories.
What on earth does it mean to be able to tell effective stories? When we were growing our agency business, our done for you side, I would train copywriters on the importance of creating metaphors. The word metaphor may or may not mean anything to you, but it is the ability to relate to complex topics with something tangible that your audience can understand. When you fall victim to the expert’s curse, which is when you get way too complicated with how smart you are and you want to teach your prospect and your audience everything under the sun, we fall into the expert’s curse. We confuse our prospects.
Let me give you a perfect example. When I was back in engineering sales, I was selling commercial heating and cooling equipment to engineers and contractors. The expert’s curse was very apparent and our sales were abysmal, meaning we would have manufacturers stand up and they would just talk all techno jargon. They were just boring our audience to death.
On the surface, we would think that shouldn’t happen – I’m an engineer and I’m speaking to engineers! You think that you want to impress them with how much you know, but when it comes to sales and converting your prospect into believing that they should be buying your product or service, the last thing in the world that you want to do is impress them with how much you know. The only thing they care about is, “What is it going to do for me?” If you have complicated techno jargon and information, they are not going to understand what the true benefits are.
That’s what happened with my engineering days. Let’s fast forward because a lot of times people in the info marketing space fall victim to this as well. Even though it may not be as technical as engineering jargon, they are still complicating and over complicating the message to their prospect. How do we fix this? How do we create and tell stories, analogies and metaphors that make huge impact?
I was doing some reading and I came across a book called Metaphors We Live By. I’m going to give them credit because this is the best example that I’ve come across that explains how important it is to tell metaphors and the way that we have been able to successfully convey these messages.
I’m all about codifying and reverse engineering what works really well. If I go back to all of our high performing multimillion-dollar webinars, they will have some form of very strong metaphor or analogy that paints a complex topic and simplifies it. The real question is how do we repeat this process? How do we create metaphors?
I remember when I was going through my teachings, I would mention this, “You need to talk about metaphors. Come up with ideas. Come up with topics that relate this complex idea to a simple one.” While I can say that if I can’t teach what that means, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Here’s how I want you to think about it. The best metaphors that I can remember are those that are of spatial existence and those that are either part of a journey or path. Why does that work? We can point to things when we speak.
Let’s start with spatial existence or containers. Everything in terms of comprehension can be simplified when we can point to it. Here’s what I mean by that. If I asked you to imagine walking through your house immediately, you will be able to see it. As you’re going through your house or apartment, you know that your total space, your house, your apartment, is divided into different compartments and different rooms.
It’s divided into sub categories. You’ve got your large space, which is your house, and then inside of that you have different rooms or containers. Inside of that big container, which is your house or apartment, you have different sub containers. Those sub containers are what we call your content. Every piece of content is what makes up that big container.
Here’s what I mean by that. Let’s talk about an example. Let’s say that your webinar is the house. Your webinar is the overall mechanism that you’re using to convert your prospect into a sale. I can relate to this webinar as let’s just say a house. I tell you that your webinar has to include different components. Each component is going to be described differently, meaning you’ll have your three or four pieces of core content.
You’ve got your introduction, then you’ve got your close and your conclusion. I can break it down into even more subcategories, but I’m not going to. I want to use this just as an example. Let’s talk about your house now. Most houses that I’ve been in have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms, family rooms and closets. I can point to everything in there. I can give them descriptions.
This isn’t going to make sense but what I’m trying to say is understand how to point to common similarities and tie in the overall themes. If I’m going through it, I’m trying to explain how to close a sale on a webinar. I’m going to relate that to turning up the heat or doing something exciting in a specific room because that room extracts the same emotions as my close inside of the webinar.
Does that make sense? It’s probably a terrible example but I came up with that off the top of my head. I’m trying to explain to you that the type of metaphor that you should think about if you’re having trouble creating these metaphors, think about containers. Containers are your arguments. Your argument is what you’re trying to get them to believe.
Your argument is your container. That’s one form of metaphor. It’s relating to a container. Your house is a container. The backyard could be a container. You can even just look at a sub container. Use that as a container and look at the different components. Think about your office. When you walk into your office, what happens as you’re walking through there? You have bookshelves and a computer desk. This is how you create metaphors by relating them to spatial containers.
The other form of metaphor that you can speak to is the journey. The journey is simply just a path that you are on. The longer the path, the more surface area there is from point A to point B. You can relate your stories and experiences to that journey. The longer that path is, the more surface area there is to cover. What do you think is between point A and point B? That’s your content. That surface area that you are walking along – that path – is the content that you create. Your journey is all about progress. Your containers are all about the content.
As you are thinking about these stories that you want to tell, to get to your audience, to make those pivot points, those shifts within their mind, I want you to think about how can I think about a container and how can I relate to a container, what’s inside of that, to different elements within my story to make difficult, complex situations, simple and easy to understand? Here is what I want you to do to practice this. Over the course of the next week, over today, tomorrow, as long as you want, I want you to open your eyes. I want you to just look at the different containers that you walk into in the different journeys and paths that you walk along to figure out how you can try and relate that to your arguments of what you’re trying to get your audience to believe.
The more you’re aware of it, the more opportunities will present themselves to relate that to simple digestible stories that get your audience to come closer to you and say, ” I get it. I know exactly what you’re talking about.” This is the difference between effective sales presentations and people who will go up into your presentation saying, “There are ten steps that you need to do in order to make a million dollars online. Step number one, pick an audience. Step number two, pick a niche. Step number three, do this and this. That’s the difference between million-dollar webinars and people who go broke trying to sell their stuff online.
Your life is all about metaphors. Your business is all about metaphors and relating all of your stories to simple, actionable exercises that make it simple and easy to understand. If you can speak about the complex in simple terms, your gold. That is the absolute number one skill I truly believe that you could ever acquire in the world of business. That is what I’ve got for you. I want you to take action on the exercise that I gave you, take action on that challenge that I gave you and I’ll see you all on the next episode.