Three Illustrations To Help Grow Your Business


We think in pictures, so take advantage of this. Use analogies and illustrations to memorably demonstrate to prospects what you do and how you help.

  • Choose which analogies and related images you want to use in prospect meetings.
  • Decide how you will show your pictures to prospects.
  • Practice using these stories and pictures in your presentations so it flows smoothly when you’re in front of prospects.

Related: Your Assumptions Can Derail Successful Prospecting


When you hear these words—once upon a time—what comes to mind?

Chances are it was one of your favorite stories when you’re a child, and in that storybook were pictures showing you exactly how the story was progressing.

Now, more than ever, you need to provide prospects and clients you’re working with pictures of where it is you’re going to take them. . .

When I was managing Speedo, we had specific styles that we knew we wanted to sell more of. And so, when we were talking with retailers, we had big pictures in our catalogs of those particular styles. We might have eight or nine other styles in little pictures on one page, in the catalog, but for the styles we wanted to sell most of, where our profit margins were highest, we devoted a single-page picture to each of those styles. We wanted to leave as little to the imagination as possible. In fact, for our largest clients, we would bring in male and female models to actually wear the garments so the retailer could see exactly how they looked. They could get a sense of how the straps fitted across the shoulder, if the suit was comfortable around the waist, and other details about which they would ask appropriate questions. We weren’t going to leave anything to chance; we wanted them to see the picture. And you, as advisors, also need to leave a clear picture in your prospect’s or client’s mind.

I did a webinar two weeks ago, and I used a particular example that an advisor responded back to, saying she was going to use the same analogy. And my example was a construction site in our local area. As you can see from this picture taken in our downtown, they were building a brand new complex, covering a complete city block. This is what the site looked like (mainly a bunch of overturned earth with a few upright steel beams—so, it didn’t look like much ). That’s exactly why, not too far along the road, on all four sides, they had one of these illustrations— a picture showing exactly what the completed complex would look like. The picture showed, “This is what’s coming.” And you, as advisors, need to do the same thing when you are working with a prospect you have identified that you’d really love to have on board as a client. Let them see how you work. Explain the importance of creating a financial plan so they know what their end objective looks like to help keep them focused when they’re still in the building phase and there’s not yet much obvious progress toward their final goal. Show them a memorable picture regarding how you’re going to help them.

Another example you might want to use is that of a digital watch face versus an analog clock. A digital watch face will tell you the exact time regarding where you’re at right then and there, but an analog clock will actually tell you the total time relative to the next 12 hours. You get perspective when you look at an analog clock face versus looking at a digital watch, which shows just a point in time. This is like how we work with clients: oftentimes prospects will come in wanting to discuss one particular issue, but we want to look at that issue in the context of their entire picture. It’s like looking at a digital watch versus an analog clock, which gives us much greater context and understanding of the bigger picture.

So those are two separate analogies and pictures you can use to clarify more about how you work.

Finally, as a third example, I remember when I was going through advisor training way back, hearing about an analogy to mention regarding being a pilot and talking about yourself as a pilot. I push back on that now because when you’re a pilot with passengers, they simply can’t get out of the aircraft at 34,000 feet when it’s flying at 400 miles an hour. They’ve got nowhere to go. Instead, think of yourself more like air traffic control: you are looking at that radar, with multiple points which are all relevant and super important regarding the client’s safety and landing them exactly where they want to arrive. Points like retirement spending, cash flow during retirement, living trusts, wills durable powers of attorney, to name just a few issues, are all moving around that radar that you are responsible for overseeing to make sure they’re all integrated to ultimately form a super safe landing for your client. If you’re the pilot in the relationship, that leaves your client as the air traffic controller. So, pushing this pilot/air traffic controller contrast a little further, pilots can go anywhere they want to—they don’t have to obey the air traffic controller. And so, as an advisor, I wouldn’t recommend painting yourself as the pilot. Talk about your role as more closely resembling air traffic control. You can print off a picture contrasting a pilot with a radar screen to help make your point.

Leave an image in people’s minds. There’s no surprise why YouTube is booming with video content: people are seeing images that are far more memorable than words alone. We’re bombarded with thousands and thousands of words every day. You don’t want your important words to get lost in that mass. Say what’s important, but back it up with a super memorable, super helpful illustration.

So to do this most effectively with the people who you want to work with,

  1. Get comfortable using pictures to illustrate helpful analogies. Get a couple of pictures together and know the analogies you are going to walk prospects through.

  2. Assemble your materials in a way that will allow you to use them most simply and helpfully. As you saw, I put together a flip book here where I can simply order and keep my selected pictures as well as manipulate them so they can be easily viewed.

  3. Practice integrating your analogies and the related pictures into your presentations. Get comfortable with using them, and don’t think showing pictures—irrespective of the amount of money a prospect might have—is beneath you or beneath them. We think in pictures, and they help us easily recall information. The next time you’re going past a construction site and see the architect’s rendering of the final design out front, showing you exactly what’s coming, you’ll likely remember this illustration.

Get excited about using these pictures in your next prospect meeting to clearly communicate what you do and how you help your clients. Watch your prospects quickly and clearly understand exactly what you’re saying and exactly what they can expect when they come on board with you as your latest new client.

I look forward to bringing you another Distraction-Proof Advisor Idea next week.