5 Reasons Designers Should Love “Selling”

Selling doesn’t make the Favorite Words List of most creative people – we tend to have this wacky notion that ideas should somehow sell themselves and that selling is, well, a bit unseemly. But, of course, ideas seldom sell themselves. In fact, the better and bolder the ideas, the more they need selling. Because they’re different. Challenging. Risky. They insist people let go of their old ideas to grab the new idea. Selling helps that happen.

As marketing expert Seth Godin says, “There’s no correlation between how good your idea is and how likely your organization will be to embrace it. It’s not about good ideas. It’s about selling those ideas and making them happen.”

Below are five solid reasons to add muscle to your selling skills.


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1. Knowing how to sell boosts confidence.

Strong selling and presentation skills make you more self-assured, whether explaining ideas to co-workers, discussing ideas with your boss or presenting ideas to clients. An ability to effectively convey your ideas lets you enter any room with poise and confidence.

For even more of Sam Harrison’s expert advice on the business side of creativity, pick up a copy of his ebook IdeaSelling.

2. Selling skills help you gain a seat at the table.

We want to be difference makers rather than order takers. And that happens when you persuasively present your opinions and ideas. People take notice. They want to hear from you. They solicit your advice. And when it’s presentation time with clients, you’re one they want front and center.

3. Selling ideas recharges creativity.

“We’ve given up on having big, bold ideas because nobody around here is willing to accept them.” I often hear statements like this one when conducting workshops with creative teams. They’re saying it’s difficult to keep creativity soaring when ideas are being slammed at every turn.

There’s no doubt a direct correlation between selling success and idea output. High idea-rejection rates ultimately result in low creativity levels. But when ideas get approvals because they’re expertly sold, creativity continues to explode.

4. Selling makes you be a better team player.

You want to be a team contributor and leader, not a team spectator, right? But that can’t happen if nobody’s listening. When ideas and opinions are ignored, there’s a tendency to withdraw and go silent.

But knowing how to communicate ideas is a game-changer. People pay attention. You become a valuable member of the team, frequently leading the charge. You move out of the stands and onto the field.

5. Your ideas deserve to be sold.

Your ideas are meaningful. Valuable. Unique. They are different from anybody else’s. They’re worthy of being seen and heard, embraced and accepted. And you have an obligation to sell them.

“It’s useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create,” said advertising pioneer David Ogilvy. “Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it’s presented to them by a good sales person.”

Make selling a welcomed word in your world. Become a great sales person for your great ideas.