“Hey, Don,” Walter greeted his brand-new employee, who was dressed in work pants and dirty boots, “I’d like you to go out to Newbie’s this afternoon and ask for a meeting with their purchasing agent. I think they may be a good candidate for the service program we are going to start offering next year.”
“No way!” Don protested. “I don’t know anything about your program! And I didn’t come dressed for a customer meeting—just look at me! There’s no way I’ll be able to sell them anything.”
Of course, none of us would ever think of sending out an untrained and unprepared salesman to an important customer meeting; but did you know your brochures, advertisements, and catalogs are like salesmen for your business?
Sometimes marketing materials like brochures and catalogs are a little like Don. Whether it’s the “clothes” they are wearing or the fact that they do not have the necessary information, some marketing materials just are not up to the job. They have not been equipped to successfully accomplish the mission we have sent them on.
The following eight elements will equip your marketing pieces to be well-dressed, articulate, and successful salesmen.
The cover of your catalog or brochure sets the tone for the rest of the piece. It should be memorable and attractive, as well as accurately represent the attitude, values, or culture of your business.
Remember that the cover is what people see first. Aim to create a positive first impression that will be reinforced as the customer browses through the rest of the piece.
Photos and illustrations can make or break your design. Good photos help prospects visualize your products. Marketing materials without carefully selected photos lack punch and are not as successful in evoking emotion.
After the catchy cover or evocative photo get a person’s attention, it’s the copy’s job to take over and inform, educate, and inspire him. “Copy” is the term for the content of a marketing piece; in other words, it’s the words! Compared to pictures, words might seem boring, but they have a very important part to play. Creative, compelling copy makes the difference between the trash or the table for your paper salesmen. Do not let them be thrown away!
Does your company have a unique and clear brand and logo? It should, and all of your paper salesmen should wear the company uniform. That is, all your marketing materials should have a common theme that, in a customer’s mind, ties them together and connects them to your company. Beyond the logo, branding includes company colors and the style of graphics, fonts, and the tone expressed through the copy. Customers tend to gravitate toward companies with clear, professional branding, so this is an important part of equipping your marketing materials for success.
What is the first thing a salesman does when he meets someone new? He introduces himself, giving both his name and the company he represents. Likewise, in your marketing materials, make it clear who you are and what your company is all about.
Every business exists to meet a need or solve a problem. In your marketing materials, identify the customer’s problem and position your business as the solution that will solve it. For example, if you are a pest control expert, tell how termite damage to a structure goes below what can be seen on the surface. Go into details about your product and service, explaining how it works and why it is effective. Use both words and pictures to communicate the positive results of doing business with you.
Does your business have satisfied customers? (Of course!) Get testimonials from them and use them in your marketing. Testimonials “testify” to potential customers that you can be trusted and that they are not taking a big risk in buying from you. Success stories are very convincing, but make sure to be real—customers will smell something fishy if your testimonials feel fake or forced. Mentioning your satisfaction guarantees or warranties also provides proof that you are confident you will be able to meet a customer’s expectations.
What do you want your prospects to do after their visit with your paper salesmen? Do you want them to pick up the phone and call you for a quote, or do you want them to visit your website? Your marketing materials will be much more effective if you provide a strong call to action that directs customers to take a specific action.
How equipped are your paper salesmen? They have a big job as they work to attract attention, generate desire, establish trust, and give clear direction to prospects. Your well-dressed and well-trained paper salesforce will be a tremendous asset as your business grows and prospers.