10 Sales Creativity Tips Via Cleese & Sutherland

A fascinating 50min podcast featured comedy legend John Cleese with Nudger-in-chief Rory Sutherland talk through the vital conditions for creativity to shine.

It struck me that if you swapped in terms from our Sales arena, much of their wisdom could be applied to how we best sell. Particularly those involving selling 'new'. Here's a sample Ten:

Part of our job is to make a meeting with us more interesting than a meeting with those pushing alternatives.

People who deal with the figures don't understand [our recommended fixing] process, but don't understand they don't understand it.

Creatives aren't frightened by confusion because confusion is the thing from which fresh ideas emerge.

When people are anxious they don't want to make a mistake, so go for the safest option - and know the several people making the decision can't all be fired. [& referencing of similar ilk, Dave Trott;] Most corporates love the obvious, as doing it won't get them blame, so we must adopt a fear of the obvious [to find new and better solutions].

Find those who are not fazed by going against convention.

If you try to do something original you are going to take the risk of making a mistake. But if you stay doing exactly the same thing which appears to be safe, then you'll be overtaken and destroyed by someone more creative than you are. [sidenote, a tweet from author Simon Sinek of 02 May 22; 'Play it safe and you'll always end up with mediocrity.']

An insistence on wholly pre-rationalised decisions by some prior sequential assessment limits the solution set enormously.

Understand the exploit/explore trade-off. Where trying to do something new might not produce results every time, but when it does, can hugely pay-off over and above 'failures' many times over. [Rory Sutherland uses a great apian analogy here with what he elsewhere calls 'rebel bees'.][see also related tweeted citation below]

The top salespeople are creative, as being creative is simply no more than about having ideas on how to do things better.

[citing finding of Thomas Kuhn, from The Structure of Scientific Revolution;] Prospects can become enormously attached to their way of doing things. [meaning that, as said by physicist Max Planck;] Enterprise seems to progress one funeral at a time, because people don't want to switch from their way of working because their work up to now might then be invalidated.

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