• Erin Halper

Connecting with Clients Through the Power of Subliminal Language

Here’s a great business development tip that I’ve used over the years: I call it Targeted Analogies.

Find the Connection

What that means is, I’m going to connect something that this person loves--a hobby, a passion, an interest--to my business pitch.

For example, let’s say I do some research on the person I’m meeting with and I happen to know he’s a car enthusiast. I might end the conversation by saying, “Think of The Upside as a turbocharger for your revenue growth.”

So simple, yet it immediately evokes a subtle emotional reaction and connection to the ROI that I’m providing.

Here’s another example. I did my homework on Google and saw that the woman I’m pitching played basketball in college. Let’s say my consultancy is focused on branding and I’m pitching her a complete rebrand of her company. At some point in the conversation, I might say, “A full rebrand, if done the right way, would be a slam dunk for your company’s year-end revenue goals” or “If executed with the types of timelines I’ve successfully created for past clients, this type of rebrand would be a layup for me to complete by year-end.”

Make It Easy for Them To Get What You’re Offering

Sometimes, we can get so immersed in the specifics —our ideas, our numbers, detailed plans—that we don’t step back and think about the client side. How can you appropriately share what you do in a way where you speak their language?

Faced with the opportunity of working with you, potentially in a new way than how they’ve worked before, clients will draw comfort and connection if you connect the dots for them through a similar situation they have seen or heard about, or their area of focus or interest.

Analogies Make New Ideas Seem Like Safe Bets

You can try referring to a well-known brand or concept to get your point across in a succinct and compelling manner.

Thomas Stemberg, the founder of Staples and a former supermarket executive, wrote that Staples began with an analogical question: “Could Staples be the Toys R Us of office supplies?” What are you the Uber of, for instance?

Use analogies in your pitching when you’re sharing about a novel problem to be solved or a new opportunity to be tapped. Provide an analogy that your potential client can transfer from its original setting to the unfamiliar context of you and your work, so that you are all speaking the same language.