Give people something easy to remember. Word pictures, or analogies, are a great way to explain what you do and how you work.
- Develop your own repertoire of go-to, useful analogies.
- Practice relating these word pictures so you can say them with confidence.
- Use them when talking with clients and prospects. You’ll get better at it the more often you do it.
I’ve said it before, I’m going to say it again: make life easy for yourself and your client—just use a picture.
You need to become confident and adept at using word pictures so you leave a clear picture in your client’s or prospect’s mind. . .
While I was preparing for this post, I looked through some LinkedIn articles, and this morning came across Jamie Hopkins from Carson Wealth doing just that in his video, using the analogy of an ice cream sundae. Also, I know from reading scripture, from being a pastor and reading my Bible regularly, that Jesus used analogies to paint pictures in people’s minds: “The kingdom of heaven is like….” He used word pictures to leave a very clear illustration in someone’s mind so they would remember the importance of his message.
I’ve covered some useful analogies previously (see links above), including regarding having somebody view you as air traffic control, constantly monitoring the situation and seeing those blips on their radar—be it taxes, be it interest rates, be it inflation—that you are helping navigate through to get your clients toward their end destination and land safely. You’re in constant communication. (I like that one far better than putting yourself out as an airline pilot.)
If you know a client or prospect is thinking about taking a vacation, you might want to give the example, “It’s like a form of transport, where you’re going to use three or four different modes of transport to get where you ultimately want to go. It’s kind of like what we do here. You might fly to a certain destination and then catch a Lyft ride. You then might ride bikes along the beach to get to your favorite restaurant. So you’re going to use different modes of transportation to get to that endpoint.”
If they’re an architect or someone who likes building, you might say, “It’s kind of like putting in the foundation for a home. It’s unseen. It’s almost considered a little boring, but it’s hugely vital for the structure and sturdiness of that home. And as you build that home and perhaps decide you want to put on additional rooms, you know that foundation is secure, so you know you’ve got some flexibility to add. There’s that foundational component, but then there is also the cosmetic side of things, which you’re a little freer to experiment with if that foundation’s fixed.”
If you have an older couple who is having their grandchildren over for the summer holidays or around Christmas time or Thanksgiving, and you know they enjoy cooking and working in the kitchen together, you can mention the difference between cooking and baking. My wife is a phenomenal cook. She’s a phenomenal baker. (She’s just phenomenal, full stop.) And we enjoy baking and cooking together. But I’ve come to understand baking is very structured. If a recipe calls for two tablespoons and you put in two teaspoons of salt, you’ve got an entirely different outcome once it goes into that oven to be baked. If you have that oven set for 550 instead of 375, it’s a totally different story when you’re baking, versus cooking where you can get away with adding a little extra to that dish, or you can get away with making things up a bit more as you go along. There’s more latitude, more leeway in cooking versus the precision required for baking. You can explain, “It’s kind of like what we do here. The financial plan is more like baking. We want to make sure we’ve got those details locked in. We want to make sure we know what you’re expecting regarding the cash flow you want later in life. We want to make sure we know your current tax rate. We want to make sure all those kinds of things are locked in. On the more flexible ‘cooking’ side, we’ll talk about what kind of holidays you’d like to experience, about what gifting to your grandchildren might look like. But our approach to these different things is kind of like baking versus cooking.”
Get comfortable using analogies. To do this,
- Consider them. Think about several analogies you want to become super adept and confident using so that you present a clear picture to the person you’re talking with.
- Practice them. Don’t think they’re going to roll naturally. If you want to talk about cooking versus baking, think about some of the nuances and experience them for yourself when you get the opportunity to cook or bake and see the two activities are quite different.
- Use them. The only way you’re going to get better is actually letting them roll.
Think about what people are telling you when you are onboarding them or just listening to what they do in life. As you’re hearing these things, think about the ideal word picture that’s going to show them exactly how you work and exactly how they can benefit from working with you.
I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.