Common Myths About Creativity in Sales

Misperceptions about creativity and innovation are common, and may lead the sales organization in the wrong direction or prevent you from incorporating creativity into your sales practices altogether. You’re not prancing around with finger paints to find your inner Picasso. You’re solving a sales challenge in a creative way that will differentiate you from competitors. Brian Stone, associate professor in the department of design at The Ohio State University and principal partner in the international consultancy Latitude 40 Design, says many of his students believe real creativity is elusive. “When people tell me things like ‘I’m not creative,’ that’s actually not true. They say ‘I’m not creative,’ because they think there’s this magic bullet or some kind of potion that they take to get creativity. In reality, you just have to change your approach and your mindset around solving a particular problem.”

Here are a few misperceptions – and the realities – of creativity’s place in the real world.

  • Perception: You have to be born with creativity. Innovators are those few individuals blessed with naturally high creative intelligence.
  • Reality: Most creators and innovators have learned how to be creative. Creative processes and principles are easy to learn, but practice and tenacity are required before they produce results. This is particularly true in the sales environment, which tends to be reactive and defaults to pre-conceived answers.
  • Perception: Creative ideas come from eureka moments.Creative people have moments of epiphany that lead to innovation.
  • Reality: Creative moments are usually the culmination of a creative problem solving progression. In the majority of situations, brilliant results come amid numerous other ideas that never see the light of day.

Agree or disagree?


Mark Donnolo is the managing partner of SalesGlobe and author of The Innovative Sale, available in bookstores in January. To learn more, visit SalesGlobe.