October 25, 2014

Analogies: Making the connection

Posted by: of Blog Business World on 03/17/06

Have you ever had problems explaining an abstract concept to someone in your business or personal life?

Perhaps you were attempting to sell an intangible product or explaining a technique for achieving a personal goal. To your dismay, the person receiving the information was just not getting the point somehow. The explanation you provided made no sense to them.

Enter the analogy.

You have heard of analogies, right? They are a way of comparing an unfamiliar abstract idea with an already known mental image. It’s like painting a picture in the listener’s mind. That’s of course an analogy too, as you may have guessed. I happen to like making analogies; and for more reasons than just explanations.

Analogies are very important in sales and marketing situations. The item or service being offered to the prospect may not fit into their existing knowledge base. The product or service might be entirely new to them. As such, the prospect needs a familiar frame of reference, from which to make the final buying decision.

Let’s take a real life situation.

This morning, I was discussing SEO with a client who was somewhat new to search engines and search engine optimization. Instead of discussing abstract and completely unfamiliar terms such as title tags, keyword phrases, and alt attributes, to name only a few, I used an analogy.

I described SEO as moving furniture into an empty house. The vacant home represented the website as it exists now. Unloaded into the house is the moving van full of furniture and other household items. As with moving house, the heavy lifting has to be completed before you can do anything else. Once the furniture is in the new premises, then curtains, fancy bedspreads, and fine china and silverware can be added. The initial placement is good, but you think that you can make the home even nicer with some changes.

Of course, after examining the results, it’s decided that the sofa would be better suited to another wall, and the kitchen table would be best on the other side of the room. After a number of changes in layout and additions, the final result is much better than before. So too with SEO. As with setting up your home in the best possible manner, SEO takes some experimentation and testing as well.

Sales and marketing aren’t the only way that analogies can be used to aid your business success. Making connections, between seemingly unrelated things, helps to find creative solutions to everyday and long term business problems as well.

What the utilization of analogies and comparisons does is to change the frame of reference and to force thinking in new and interesting ways. If a person is only thinking of the problem in its own terms, the number of possible solutions is very limited. By making analogies, and forced comparisons, the opportunities for new and creative solutions is multiplied many times over.

Use some analogies in your business and everyday life. Not only will your potential and current customers and clients understand your products and services better, so will you. By making comparisons and connections between your business and another known framework, the possibilities for creative thought and ideas increase exponentially.

Let an analogy go to work for you and your business today.

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