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Blending Your Creative Nature With Your Sales Efforts

Though it may not feel that way, these are really two sides of the same coin.

Almost everything you do in “creative” mode is sales. The images you deliver, the things you do to make your clients feel special and important, your attention to detail, the way you handle problems on set – these are all sales activities.

Likewise, everything you do in “salesperson” mode should benefit from your creative side. How you suss out prospect needs and expectations, the voice messages you leave, how you engage in social media, how you package and present your work – these are all opportunities to display your vision, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Integrating Creative & Sales Modes

Most of us are selling to savvy buyers who aren’t fooled by gimmicks and don’t like being “sold.” Today, “sales” means being yourself while performing specific activities to attract more business. Going into “salesperson” mode should not mean going into “used car salesperson” mode!

Thinking of sales as a process for helping customers with a specific need (what you do better than anyone else) find the perfect person to help them out (you) makes it much easier to integrate sales and creative functions.

Take the time to figure out who needs your services and what makes your business truly valuable to them. From there, tap into your creative side to figure out the best ways to help those prospects recognize that you live to solve their problems.

Let your creative side get excited about the opportunity to make something that will surprise and delight your prospects; then step out of the way and let your passion and enthusiasm shine through.

Juggling Roles as a Small Business Owner

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© Herrmann + Starke

That being said, many small-business owners struggle with changing gears. These time management tips can help:

  • Create a Schedule. Set aside an hour at the beginning of each week to review your schedule and map out what you want to accomplish each day.
  • Accomplish Similar Tasks Together. Chunk activities as much as possible, so you’re staying within the same role for a few hours at a stretch instead of constantly flipping back and forth.
  • Plan Activities You Dread Early in the Day. This frees you from working inefficiently while you agonize over them. Instead, the sense of accomplishment you’ll gain from ticking them off your list will fuel a more productive afternoon.
  • Block Out Exact Periods of Time for Stressful Work. If cold calling or other sales activities stress you out, give yourself a clear beginning and end times for the task. Start small – three calls or five minutes – and build yourself up to longer stretches. Reward yourself when you’ve reached your target by switching to something you really enjoy doing.

For independent creatives, the heart of your business is, well, you. As Ken Carbone of Carbone Smolan Agency so eloquently puts it: “Be You. Be Heard.” Great advice, no matter which mode you’re working in!

Judy Herrmann

Judy Herrmann of Herrmann + Starke creates distinctive imagery for advertising, editorial and corporate clients. Her work has won recognition from Graphis, Communication Arts, Lurzer’s Archive and numerous award annuals. A past ASMP National president and recipient of the United Nations’ IPC Leadership Award, she was recently named one of Rangefinder Magazine’s “11 Photographers You Should Know.” Her energetic and inspiring seminars on digital photography and smart business practices have helped thousands of creatives compete more effectively. Through one-on-one consultations and her blog, www.2goodthings.com, she helps people grow creatively satisfying and financially rewarding businesses.

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