The Hand Talks

Enter the business development age…

by Natasha Ellard-Shoefield

When we say, that person is really good on the phone, or is great face-to-face, or writes compelling propositions, what is the key ingredient – their great personality aside? It is the fact that they are a good communicator.

So, when you are thinking about how to approach selling your agency’s creative services and technical skills, what will be key to being armed with the right tools to do this? Stretching your communications skills, improving them, developing them, just like you would limber up before running a race.

Let’s face a truth about the design industry: creatives are often not great communicators.


What?! We hear you cry, what do you think we do every day (and often into the night!) for our clients; we communicate, we distill, we listen closely, take or write a brief and create a design solution that makes a difference for our clients and hopefully returns real return on investment, etc etc.

Well of course you do. Naturally, that’s a major part of your job description.

But when it comes to doing it for your own business, it can feel overwhelming; you’d prefer your ‘reputation’ to somehow magically proceed you. To actually articulate the nature of your business, the differences in it, it’s reason for being, the benefits of this for your next potential new client, is difficult.

Often creatives are more shrinking violets than they’d like to admit. Their daily tasks, whilst connecting deeply to their emotional range, is to produce beautiful and effective design, this can mean that their ability to communicate in writing and verbally may not match up to the creative output. We’ve met a lot of ‘creative directors’ who are also business owners and fall into this category. There are those out there, some examples we can think of who are good or even great communicators, but many aren’t. However fear not, communication skills can be learnt and therefore, naturally, sales skills can be learnt too.

There’s no great mystery

It isn’t about personality type or any kind of magical ability, it is about learning some techniques that you have probably never been taught before because of your vocational direction and education. It is about being coached so you can become your agency’s best advocate, just in the same way a runner progresses from a fun 5k to becoming a marathon addict, with the right coaching we can all achieve our Personal Best!