Nobody likes being sold to.
Being sold to reduces that chances that you’ll actually buy.
So creative teams that urge account people to “sell” their ideas are misguided as well as patronising.
When it comes to helping great work see the light of day, the role of smart account management is to avoid selling at all costs.
Creative teams view the sell as an event.
Whereas not selling is a process.
In fact successful not selling needs to be a professional way of life.
Not selling is about fostering a shared vision for how creativity can achieve a client’s objectives.
Not selling is about managing agency resources (and politics) to deliver work that realises that vision.
Not selling is about a long-term investment in creating an environment of trust.
So not selling means not pretending that every idea your agency has is equally good.
Not selling requires you to be open-minded to the fact that clients more often than not have a valid point when they knock work back.
Not selling is about being seen to be a good listener.
Not selling Nirvana is the point at which the client is 100% confident that you have no agenda other than making a positive contribution to their business.
In not selling Nirvana, everything you put in front of a client will be treated seriously, no matter how ‘out there’ or radical it might seem.
But, no matter how good you are at not selling, there will be occasions when you need to go out on a limb for work that you believe in.
For some reason the client isn’t quite getting what you’re seeing.
Getting work approved in these situations will represent some of the proudest moments of your career.
Not because you’ve sold an idea.
But because your client has bought you.
And, irony of ironies, the creative team will love you because they think that you’re brilliant at selling work.