How to sell a creative idea

April 30, 2017

Presenting a creative idea to a client can be done on a one-to-one basis, or one-to-many. You may be presenting the idea by yourself, or have support in the form of a creative, strategist, manager, or direct report. No matter the forum (or who is involved), your objective is still the same - to 'sell' a creative solution that your team has prepared. 

The way you present will be largely down to your own style and how well you know your client. It could be an informal conversation or a formal presentation. No matter how you do it, the building blocks of a selling a creative idea are essentially the same. 

  • Whet the appetite of your listeners with a small revelation from your research. 
  • Repeat the main objectives of the project, based on the brief you've previously discussed. Connecting your creative solution to objectives that you have mutually agreed on will help strengthen your case. 
  • Show key visuals/storyboards/mood boards and rationales one-by-one, and explain how and why they meet the objectives. 
  • Show the design you want to sell before other alternatives (if you have any). Do not let your client randomly choose the viewing order. 
  • Show mock-ups of your design: 
    • As it will look across a range of media (e.g. TVC, billboard, magazine ad, bus back), and 'in-situ' where possible (e.g. showing a bus stop poster as it would look in an actual bus stop). 
    • Show packaging designs with the front panel plus the two side panels - in 3D whenever possible, and how it will look on-shelf. 
    • Present a scamp of rough ideas if you can't render more realistic mock-ups. 
    • Create a preliminary script and storyboard for TVC concepts. 
    • Create a concept script for a radio ad.
  • Use interesting typography and short big texts, or use placeholder 'Latin' text if the copy is yet to be developed. 
  • Pick key words that you will use in your presentation in order to make it as short, compelling, and convincing as possible. 
  • Have all relevant statistics, research, and costs to hand and be ready to present them when required (or incorporate them into your presentation). 
  • Pre-empt as many questions and barriers that you think your client may have. 
  • Don't forget to 'close the deal', to get your creative solution across the line. 
  • Decide when it is prudent to promote your concepts and when to hold back. Use emotional intelligence and empathy to read the room, body language and tone, and adjust your conversation and sales pitch accordingly. 
  • If your client has valid objections to the design then listen carefully to what is being said, as you'll need to convey the feedback to your team. 
  • Thank your client for the time he (or she) has given you. 

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