There is a very subtle difference between giving good advice and proving to all the world how clever you are. Every conversation and discussion with a client should boost the client’s ego, in a subtle and sincere way. Ego selling relies on sincerity, (and if you can fake that, you have it made – boom boom) but you can have some fun as well.
If a couple of ladies obviously in their twilight years walk into our shop, I will say, “What can I help you young ladies with today?” They will see that I am making a joke, but they also feel good about it. The alternative? “Are you old, computer-illiterate hags OK?” Tell me which one sounds better!
In the late 1720s, General James Oglethorpe had an architect friend who was in prison for a bad debt. He was treated so badly he died. Oglethorpe started to investigate the ill-treatment of all prisoners. He found the prisons were mainly full of skilled people who owed money. Many of them died. Oglethorpe could not bear to see skilled men killed off in this way.
In 1730, Oglethorpe formulated a plan to obtain the release of some prisoners to establish a new colony to be inhabited by such prisoners.
Oglethorpe had a great deal of trouble convincing King George II that his idea was worthwhile. Then, in a moment of ego-selling brilliance, Oglethorpe suggested that the colony be named Georgia, after the king.
In a royal charter signed on 20 June 1732, King George II granted the right for the colony of Georgia and gave a piece of land for it on the seacoast below South Carolina. With some ego selling, Oglethorpe had achieved his desired outcome with land and even some finances. I am quite certain that King George II would not have succumbed if Oglethorpe had put his ego above the king’s and suggested the new colony be named Oglethorpia!