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Q&A with Chris Merrington

10 March 2021
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Q&A With Chris Merrington

How long have you worked advising creatives? 

17 years working with creatives and agencies. Prior to that 20 years working in agencies selling creative work to clients.


How did you move from agency to creative business development? 

I wanted to run my own business and saw that there was a big need for creative people to be more commercially savvy. 


A year into the global pandemic, how has the creative business landscape changed since the onset of the Covid-19?

 There is even more need for creatives to be focused on how they sell, it was already important but has become even more important.  The key areas to focus on are 

  1. Really understand your value proposition – the answer to ‘Why should I do business with you?’
  2. Understand your impact on your clients’ businesses
  3. The ability to engage with clients as equal, as business partners rather than in a supplier/buyer relationship
  4. Their ability to sell, it’s not a dirty word, and implementing some tools and process can really deliver results. 


From a business perspective, is there a single improvement that creatives can make that will really deliver impact?

Learn to sell well.


What advice can you share with creatives to help them address client perceptions of value and pricing? 

It’s less about what you DO. It’s more about how you impact your client’s business. Focus on senior decision makers – beware of wasting time with non-decision makers.


 Chris says chocolate can directly help your business…find out more in the sessions!


Differentiation can be a challenge for creatives, what should designers bear in mind when they are thinking about what makes them different?

Ask your existing clients why they buy from you rather than buying from someone else. It’s a scary question so only ask those clients who love you. Their answers will help you craft your positioning of yourself to your clients and prospects.


We love your book ‘Why do Smart People Make such Stupid Mistakes’ – what inspired the book and the title? 

I wanted to write a book that made a real difference but that made people smile as they read it. As they recognised their mistakes. By the way I’ve made all those mistakes and more. The title came from a comment my wife’s sister said to her “For someone so smart, you can be so stupid” which she told me when she finished the phone call.



Find out how Design Skillnet can help you become more creative, human-centred, and impactful within your organisation.