Selling Big Ideas Is Really Just A Head Massage

Want to win a Gold Lion? Make your clients comfortable.

In advertising, many great ideas never see the light of day. It’s a massive waste of time and energy, but it may also be an unnecessary loss according to a new study by researchers from Cornell, Penn and the University of North Carolina. David Burkus, professor of management at Oral Roberts University, explains the significance of the academic findings:

We now know that regardless of how open-minded people are, or claim to be, they experience a subtle bias against creative ideas when faced with uncertain situations. This isn’t merely a preference for the familiar or a desire to maintain the status quo. Most of us sincerely claim that we want the positive changes creativity provides. What the bias affects is our ability to recognize the creative ideas that we claim we desire. Thus, when you’re pitching your creative idea, it may not be the idea itself that is being rejected. The more likely culprit could be the uncertainty your audience is feeling, which in turn is overriding their ability to recognize the idea as truly novel and useful.

So, how do you provide a greater level of comfort before, during and after an important client presentation? Don’t say you just feed the client’s words and desires back to him or her. You may actually do that, but I don’t see it as a difference maker. What else puts a client at ease when you stand before her or him asking for trust and money?

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Brand builder at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Believer in Gossage, Bernbach and Clow. Doer of the things written about herein.