Using metaphors when handling customer objections

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    How does the “metaphor” method work in sales? As we know, a metaphor is a figurative comparison, a kind of story that has an analogy with what is happening at the moment, for example, with the client’s thoughts. In practice, it looks like this: we tell a story, after which we draw a conclusion (state a request) that should convince the consumer to take a certain action, for example, purchase our product.

    An example of a metaphor about a silkworm caterpillar

    Suppose a customer says, “Our marketing strategy is that we only sell products that other stores sell. We focus on the leader, on the supplier who cooperates with all the stores in the city. We know that their products always sell well.”

    And you offer the client a product that is also well taken. But you’re not the #1 supplier company, so it’s harder for you to sell. And you want to encourage the store owner to think about whether it’s always good to chase the leader, because this does not always lead to the desired results. To do this, you need to choose the appropriate metaphor and draw the appropriate conclusion.

    You say: “As you know, there are such small caterpillars of silkworms that make silk threads. Expensive clothes, accessories and so on are produced from natural silk. If we take several silkworm caterpillars and put them on a table or on the ground, then after a while one of them starts to crawl in some direction. The rest of the caterpillars rush after her, as they consider her a leader who knows exactly where the food is. Such is their instinct.

    I heard about one experiment: they took a large garden pot with a plant that these caterpillars feed on. This pot has a fairly wide rim. Several silkworms were planted on this rim. One of them, of course, began to crawl along the rim, the rest crawled after him as a leader.

    What came of it? They crawled in circles for most of the day until they got tired and fell off the potty. And the food was very close, you didn’t have to crawl all day, you just had to look around and see that a plant grows a few centimeters away that you can get enough of. Therefore, following the leader does not always lead to the result that you expected. Often more income can be obtained by not doing what everyone else is doing. So I suggest the following: let’s make a trial delivery.”

    An example of a metaphor about a Chinese archer

    попадание в цель

    Let’s say you’re selling a product that makes a customer’s life easier. For example, this is a CRM program that allows you to improve the company’s work with customers. Or it can be some kind of reference book that simplifies the work of the accounting department. You want the customer to think about the need to purchase your product. But he replies that all these years he did fine in business without this product and felt great. Therefore, there is no need to pay for it.

    You tell a metaphor: “The best archer lived in China. From a young age, for forty years, he learned to shoot accurately from a bow. He was in different monasteries, studied with the best shooting masters. And after forty years of his training, he went home. Passing by some village, he saw an amazing picture: a lot of targets were painted around, ranging from large ones to very, very small ones. And all these targets were perfectly hit by an arrow in the very center, there was not even a microscopic deviation.

    He came to the elder of the village and said: “I am the best archer in the country, I have trained for 40 years. Let your archery master, who hits the targets so accurately, come to the river bank. I will be there waiting for him to compete with him.

    And so he comes to the bank of the river and meets a little girl there. The archer says, “Girl, get out of here. I have an important meeting here.” And she answers him: “I am the same archer who shoots so accurately.” Our hero was surprised: “It can’t be! I studied for forty years, but I can’t hit so accurately. And you’re only five or six years old.” To which the girl replied: “I take a bow and shoot somewhere. The arrow hit somewhere. Then I take the chalk, go to the arrow and just circle the target around the arrow. And it’s always a perfect hit.”

    Therefore, dear client, if there is a simpler solution to your problem, you need to use it in order to become more competitive today. That is why we ask you to consider our software product (handbook), which makes your work much easier, just like smartness in this example with an arrow.

    An example of an American buffalo metaphor

    американский буйвол

    Another metaphor that you can tell yourself and your sales managers to properly tune in to the sales process itself. So, do you know how wild buffalo were caught in America during the period of its development by white colonizers? An adult buffalo weighs over a ton. And the horse, together with the rider, weighs half as much. In addition, she is much weaker than a buffalo. How many horses and cowboys do you think it takes to catch one buffalo and bring it to the stall? After all, he will resist with all his might, he is wild.

    And what do you say to the fact that one cowboy on a horse, without straining, can lead three or four buffaloes to a stall in a day? Marvelous. Everything happens like this: a cowboy leaves for the prairie, and three or four small dogs like lapdogs are tied to the saddle of his horse on a lasso. What does a cowboy do? He finds a buffalo and throws a long lasso over its horns, to the other end of which a dog is tied.

    The animal runs for some time, because it was frightened that something was thrown on its horns, but quickly calms down. The lasso is long and the dog is small, there is no need to be afraid of it. The cowboy throws a lasso with dogs on two or three more buffaloes and leaves.

    Animals graze peacefully and slowly walk in the direction where their eyes look. The buffalo doesn’t care which direction to graze. But the dog doesn’t care. She wants to go home. And with her micro efforts, she gradually pulls the head of the buffalo always in one direction – in the direction of the ranch. And these little dogs, which weigh a hundred times less than buffaloes, bring them all right to the stall by evening. It remains only to close the gate.

    As you can see, the main thing is to constantly make targeted efforts so that the client always looks in the direction of your company.

    An example of a metaphor about passing a labyrinth

    прохождение лабиринта

    All work with objections can be shown by such a metaphor as the passage of a maze. Imagine a labyrinth containing a treasure. A treasure is that cherished “yes, I will buy” that a client tells you, agreeing to make a purchase from you.

    But the labyrinth itself is quite complex, tricky, with a large number of moves that you have to go through. It’s a labyrinth of objections. In addition, it is full of fog. Until you hit the wall, you can’t even see it because of this fog. And such a labyrinth in the head of each person is unique. You don’t know exactly how the client-specific logic works.

    You run into one objection first. Having coped with it, you stumble upon the second, then the third, as if on the walls inside the labyrinth. Little by little you are approaching the place where lies the cherished treasure, which is the consent of the buyer.

    There is one caveat: moving through this labyrinth is associated with the fact that the number of walls and moves can be completely different. If you try to force your way through the labyrinth, the number of walls will only increase, and you will never reach your goal, you will never reach the treasure. But if you act correctly, then it is enough to go around a couple of walls, as it turns out that the rest of the obstacles simply disappeared.

    It depends on positive emotional contact. No need to try to handle objections to prove something to the client. You must sympathize with him, empathize, be on his side. Treat objection handling as helping the consumer make the right choice. Do not try to sell a product, push your idea or prove something to a person, try to help in making the right decision.

    You must demonstrate your understanding, agreement, use active listening methods, provide him with emotional support. Only then will the passage of the maze with the help of objection handling tools be quick and effective. Positive emotional contact is the key to any consumer.

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