If you've read this column for a while, then you know I believe in the power of storytelling, especially analogies.

An analogy takes something complicated and, with a great story, turns it into something we understand. It paints a picture in listeners' heads and hearts so they don't forget your message.

Often, salespeople inadvertently create confusion or build up barriers to a sale by using technical language or saying something that is factually correct but utterly incomprehensible to the prospect.

That's when an analogy can truly save the day.

Analogies work because:

•They break down the complex and make it simple.

•They turn the unfamiliar into something relevant.

•They are memorable.

•They're viral -- you can tell the story and watch it spread.

Think of the most complex aspect of what you sell. If you could make it tangible, relevant and easy to understand, do you think you'd sell more? What analogy could you use to vividly describe it?

Now take it a step further. How can you share and standardize your analogies so that your entire team can not only use the stories to paint pictures but also begin to build and sustain your brand with them?

What if someone told an effective analogy at every sales meeting? Or you could use an online tool like a wiki to collect and edit everyone's stories until you had created a "best-of" collection?

Make it your goal to find a way to discover and share five analogies that could be used companywide to erase concerns, ease buying barriers and better explain your product or service.

Drew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and blogs at www.drewsmarketingminute.com. He can be reached at Drew@MclellanMarketing.com. © 2009 Drew McLellan