Years ago I was voicing my frustrations to a rep from a list company because they’d promised to send me a catalog that never arrived. The rep on the phone clearly understood my annoyance, and without a lot of apologies made me trust that she was solving the problem right then and there.
“I’m addressing the envelope as we speak,” she said while she recited our address out loud. “I’m putting your catalog into the envelope and it’s going right into the out basket on the corner of my desk so it will get picked up at 11:30 when they come by to collect the outgoing mail.”
She could have just promised to send the material, but describing her actions was much better proof. I saw it happening in my mind and I believed what I saw. I had no doubt the catalog would arrive in the morning’s mail.
“Seeing is believing” expresses a deep truth about the way we experience reality.
Remember how defense attorney Johnny Cochrane virtually exonerated his client O.J. Simpson with the famous glove exhibit, by exhorting the jury to trust their eyes over their gut instincts, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”?
Since human communication involves both the rational (conceptual) and the emotional (sensory) brain, when it comes to rousing emotion and motivating action, research shows that image-based words are more effective than conceptual language.
Even abstract concepts like time, value, energy, and satisfaction can be powerfully communicated with visual language. And graphic analogies and metaphors are like code words that convey a specific mutually understood meaning, like this example:
“The first couple of months at the new job were a pretty turbulent flight, but once I got the lay of the land there I had a nice smooth landing.”
Advertisers and fundraisers employ vivid images and descriptive language to magnetize buyers and make compelling emotional appeals for financial support. If you want to get an idea across that people will trust and remember, pictures speak a lot louder than words.
You don’t have to be a master wordsmith to exploit the power of verbal imagery in your sales calls and presentations. Anyone can learn to practice the writers’ dictum of “show – don’t tell.”
Take a look at these either/or ways of conveying the same ideas and see for yourself the difference pictorial language can make.
- Our agents have more than 50 years combined insurance experience and can make sure you have the right coverage to match your needs.
- “We’re so familiar with plastics manufacturers, we can zero in on any insurance glitches as easily as Click & Clack can figure out what’s causing that mysterious grinding sound in a ten year old Buick.”
- Our claim involvement and client advocacy is unsurpassed.
- When you have a business claim we don’t just give you the carrier’s 800 number – we get out there and go to bat for you, taking pictures of the damage, interviewing employees, even meeting with the underwriters if necessary to help you build the case with facts that are clear, accurate and persuasive.
Sometimes boosting your emotional impact with visual language can be as simple as changing a few words:
- I’m contacting you because we offer a program that’s really impressed the brewpub owners who’ve seen it.
- I’m reaching out to you because we offer a new coverage solution that’s really knocked the socks off the brewpubs owners who’ve seen it.
- Our clients stay with us because we’re committed to their satisfaction.
- Our clients are incredibly loyal. They know we have their best interests at heart.
Before your next prospecting call or sales presentation, take the time to consider how you can make your points with evocative images instead of talking in dry conceptual terms. I’m sure you’ll be able to see the difference in the responses you get.
And hey, let us know your thoughts about the power of visual language in the comments below.