How to sell an opinion

February 23, 2014

How to Sell an Opinion, AM-Insider article by Sarah Ritchie

Your client comes to you (their respected industry professional) to request a suite of point-of-sale materials for a new product being launched to market. This will be the first collateral produced for the brand, and the fate of the brand’s public image is now firmly in your hands.

You do your research, mull over the options, brief in your team (who work up the visuals), and decide on the designs that you will take to presentation stage. The time of your meeting arrives. You stand up in front of a room full of decision-makers, and you proceed to give your client…the answer? No, an opinion.

Had this same brief been given to 10 different design companies, the client would have received 10 different designs based on 10 different opinions. But your client didn’t give the brief to 10 design companies, they gave it to you, and they are looking to you to tell them that your design is perfect for their needs; you have solved their marketing problem; and that – because of your company's concepts – their sales will soar. You’d better have supreme confidence in yourself and your team's work to pull this off because your client needs to be able to trust your considered, professional opinion.

What place does “ego” have in the life of an account manager? I am sure that we have all worked with “divas” and the “my way or the highway” colleagues whose confidence smacks of arrogance (and a truckload of caffeine). Though fairly insufferable to work with, the diva has one admirable quality the timid AM-mouse often doesn’t have, and that is the ability to back themselves and their work 100%, and sell their opinions.

To be a successful account manager you need to sport a healthy-sized ego and the skin of a rhino. However, to be a successful and respected AM, your ego-of-magnificent-proportions should also be trimmed with humility. The best AMs know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em – when to promote and defend their opinions, and when to bow to the opinions of others. Remember that ALL opinions are valid…especially your client’s!


This is a modified version of an article featured on the Design Assembly website | 7 August 2013

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