Stories and analogies are great ways to capture a client’s attention and get them to see things from a different perspective. When used correctly they’re highly useful tools to help persuade clients to act in the way you want them to. Analogies are especially effective because clients come to understand what you’re saying by drawing their own conclusions.
Here are six great analogies to help your clients see that they should stick to the plan.
#1. The Furniture analogy
When an investor owns high quality, reasonably priced stocks and they want to sell them to chase something ‘better’ – tell your clients that this is exactly like throwing out low cost practical living room furniture to replace it with expensive, equally practical furniture.
This will compel your listeners to re-think the act of trying to chase ‘hot’ stocks rather than hold onto the ‘good value’ stocks they already own.
#2. Changing lanes in traffic never works
When drivers get stuck in a traffic jam, one lane always ‘appears’ to be moving faster than another so it’s tempting to want to change lanes. But it’s almost always the case that the minute you swap lanes, that lane comes to an abrupt standstill while the lane you left starts to pick up speed.
In the same vein when your investments look like they’re underperforming, you’re tempted to switch them on a hunch that there’s something better out there. If you do, the stocks you ditched could pick up momentum and you’ll get left behind.
This analogy is great for warning clients that it’s not worth changing lanes – or investment plans – just because the grass looks greener. The road will eventually even out, and you’ll still reach your destination in time over the longer term.
#3. When you plant seeds you have to let them grow
This analogy should resonate with gardeners. When you’ve planted your strawberry seeds and the plants start to grow you would never dream of pulling them up every day to check the roots. They would die.
Similarly, if you obsess about your investments every day, checking and re-checking every tiny market movement – this won’t help them grow. You need to set the scene and leave things to gather pace and grow, and that will take time.
#4. Encountering construction doesn’t make you turn back
When you’re going on a road trip somewhere or visiting friends you don’t turn back at the first sight of construction. To get where you need to go you need to be patient – in the knowledge that you’ll come out just fine on the other side.
Similarly, you shouldn’t get frustrated or impatient when you encounter market volatility – it’s an inevitable part of the investment journey. You will get through short-term delays (market wobbles) and you’ll still reach your goals and destination in time but only if you stick to the plan.
#5. The Gretzky Story
Years back during a hockey game between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers there were some technical issues, so the game was paused. To kill time the announcers decided to interview Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers number one player.
Asked why he was so successful despite not being the biggest or fastest player on the field he replied, ‘I don’t go where the puck is; I go where the puck is going to be.’ His success didn’t depend on chasing the puck but on staying one step ahead and anticipating where the puck would be likely to go.
This analogy tells clients to see their investments in the same way Gretzky sees the puck. They should look at the future potential of their investments rather than on focusing on past or ‘near time’ performance.
#6. The elevator analogy
This analogy is adapted from Financial Advisor IQ. Stocks are like elevators – if you enter the elevator on the 30thfloor, as long as the investment is in good standing – you’ll know that, at maturity you’ll get off at the 100th floor. If you cash in before your plan comes to fruition, you won’t know what floor you’ll be getting off at. But with each passing day – if you stay for the ride – there’s an increasing probability of the elevator being on a higher floor than you started on.
Getting clients to stick to the plan is the most important job you have – so you need to use all your powers of persuasion. Analogies help people understand abstract issues in a simple, human way. Linguists have studied the power of analogy for years – they’ve found them critical to how we communicate, invent and think about the world. Warren Buffet is known for his love of analogies, so take a leaf out of his book and use them to communicate your ideas to clients.
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