We all grew up hearing the adage, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” As we settled into our careers or became business owners the importance of making a favorable first impression became even more important. Making a good first impression, however, isn’t relegated to one to one interactions between you and someone else.
A good first impression extends itself through every single marketing and sales piece your company creates. This includes, but is not limited to your website, logo, and business cards as well as your direct mail ads, print ads, email ads, Facebook profile and most definitely, your sales sheets.
Do Your Sales Sheets Make a Good First Impression?
In today’s world, ensuring your customer forms a favorable first opinion of your company’s solution is more of a necessity than it is a luxury. In most cases, all you get nowadays is one shot to make a connection that can lead to a sale. Miss the opportunity to connect on terms that are meaningful to your customer and the likelihood of a second chance is slim at best.
Of all the marketing and sales materials you could use to help you make a good first impression, none is as versatile as a sales sheet. Sales sheets have gone by many names. Flyers, brochures and one sheets are just a few of the many names associated with them. Whatever name you give them the value of a good set of sales sheets is at an all time high.
The Many Uses of Sales Sheets
One need only to do a search for online printing to see that printing sales sheets is less expensive today than it’s ever been. Our clients have used many different printers for their materials but the three online printers that have delivered the most consistent results for all sized businesses are: www.overnightprints.com – www.printingforless.com - www.48hourprint.com. Check these online printers out, but also be sure to search other printing options and compare.
Many businesses have ceased to use sales sheets because they do not attend conferences or trade shows, where sales sheets have been most commonly used. This kind of short-sighted thinking only serves to hinder your ability to connect and communicate with a wider audience.
It is true that sales sheets can and have proven to be highly effective at trade shows and conferences. But many of our clients have elected not to spend the money to attend these as they did in years past. As a result, many have taken a more creative approach to using sales sheets that are both cost effective and highly profitable.
With that in mind, here are the top 5 ways our clients have successfully used sales sheets to make a good first impression and eventually secure more sales:
(1) Online Download: Nearly every client our agency has collaborated with have leveraged their sales sheets as a downloadable PDF. Most common use is allowing website visitors to access your sales sheets right away from your website in an easy to download format. Another way is to attach your sales sheets, as a PDF, to emails. Emailing your sales sheets to customers is a terrific way of getting around printing and mailing costs, while still getting your customers to view your materials right away.
(2) Networking Mixers: Using sales sheets at local business networking events, such as Chamber of Commerce mixers, is one of the most proven methods for achieving a good first impression with potential customers. These mixers are inexpensive to attend and as a Chamber member you are usually given an opportunity to showcase your company’s sales sheets on more than one table.
(3) Public Presentations: Showcasing sales sheets at seminars, workshops or any type of public presentation is an ideal opportunity to make a favorable first impression. These can be used on tables or in folders and handouts.
(4) Sales Presentation: This is where the term “sales sheets” originated from. If you are presenting to a client it is likely you will need some visual aid or a leave behind to help make the sale. This is where sales sheets made their name years ago and their success in helping make the sale has not diminished over the years.
(5) Direct Mail: Many people think direct mailing campaigns entail a traditional direct mail piece. But in recent years the use of mailing sales sheets, along with a cover letter, have proven to be highly successful. In fact, in 2007 one of our clients secured a six-figure project with two of the biggest hotel casinos in Las Vegas by sending four new sales sheets and a cover letter to a senior decision maker within the two hotels. Prior to our team writing and designing the four sales sheets our client was unable to secure any meeting or response from the two casinos. It wasn’t until they received the sales sheets that a meeting was set up and our client landed one of her biggest projects.
5 Most Common Type of Sales Sheets
It’s one thing to determine where you are going to use your sales sheets. It’s another thing altogether to determine what you will convey to customers with your sales sheets.
A lot of our agency’s clients are unsure where to start and what to say on their sales sheets. To clarify and make the process easier, here are five of the most common type of sales sheets.
(1) Company Overviews: The type of sales sheet requested more than any other from our clients is an overview of their company. In fact, nearly every single project we have ever collaborated on with clients includes at least one sales sheet that conveys a compelling overview of their company. Although company overviews can and often do include references to products and services, they are not solely focused on them. Because of that a second request is usually made for sales sheets that are centered on a specific product or service.
(2) Product / Service Overview: Whether it’s a new product or an existing solution there are few ways to convey the value of them as cost effectively as sales sheets can. Because of this the second most requested type of sales sheet from our clients has been to highlight one or more of their products and services.
(3) Presentation & Seminar Overview: One of the most successful marketing campaigns we have collaborated with clients on in the last 10 years are public presentations. Whether it’s a seminar, workshop or keynote presentation, if you want people to attend you will need a professionally designed sales sheet that highlights the presentation and what an audience will take away from it. Because of this the third most common type of sales sheet our clients have requested are for presentation overviews.
(4) Testimonials: A lot of clients have chosen to highlight their customer’s testimonials on a single sales sheet, in addition to placing key testimonials throughout all of their materials. Some of our clients have gone beyond simple testimonials to include brief case studies on their sales sheets.
(5) Team or Individual Bios: Many companies we have collaborated with have utilized sales sheets for highlighting their team’s bios. This may include a brief one or two sentence bio and therefore, allowing multiple people to be showcased on one sheet. In other instances, clients have used entire sales sheets to distinguish each member of their team’s accomplishments. This can prove to be highly effective, particularly when you have someone at your company whose accomplishments help make for a good first impression and add to the value of your brand and solution.
3 Keys to a Successful Sales Sheet
Whatever type of sales sheet you choose to use, it is not worth doing unless you are prepared to produce a high-quality, professional and emotionally relevant sales sheet. The financial pinch most businesses have felt in the last few years has established an environment where the margin for error in creating your marketing and sales materials is razor thin.
No longer are the days where you could get away with writing the sales copy entirely on your own and using a cheap, Word based sales sheet template design. Today, customers have no patience for business owners who do not take the look and feel of their own brand appearance seriously. As a result, if you want to make a good first impression it starts by an creating emotionally relevant sales sheets that displays captivating design and attention grabbing sales copy.
Here are three basic principles for writing great sales copy and emotionally relevant design for sales sheets, no matter the type of sales sheet you choose to use:
(1) Consistency: Choose a theme that is emotionally relevant to your intended audience and stick with it. Sticking with it means your theme is your guide for the sales copy, design layout, visual images and set of colors used. Often times these four elements can be meshed together so haphazardly that a sales sheet can be rendered utterly useless, making for a poor first impression.
To make these elements work with your theme be sure your theme can be directly and clearly linked back to what it is you want your customers to experience. In other words, what is it you want your customer’s first impression to be when they see your sales sheet? If you want them to be visually wowed, cut down on the copy or find a healthy balance between design and copy. If you want to educate, be sure to choose the appropriate words and don’t let the visual images overwhelm the message.
(2) Frequency: Reinforce your theme throughout. This means being absolutely clear on the message your words and design are communicating and be sure they support your theme. The appropriate mix of images, color combinations, design layout and amount of sales copy plays a huge part in mapping the frequency of your theme and message. Above all else, make your sales sheet clean and easy to navigate.
(3) Anchoring: Frame your key themes with timely and emotionally relevant images, statistics, testimonials or case studies that your audience can relate to. Often times, the amount of space does not allow for a case study, unless you are using an entire sales sheet for this. But statistics take up little space and testimonials can be pared down to one sentence, both of which serve as excellent anchors for reinforcing your key theme and brand value.
Sell to Your Customers In the Way They Want to Buy
At this point it should be clear that it takes a lot more than just a few words and images to create a successful sales sheet. There’s a lot of creative strategy and hours of collaborative preparation that goes into the creation and implementation of a sales sheet that produces a good first impression.
The key thing is to step back for a moment before you create your next sales sheet and really determine what kind of first impression do you want to convey to potential customers. Once you have this figured out, it’s time to go create a compelling, emotionally relevant sales sheet that does what it’s supposed to: sell to your customers in the way they want to buy.