That is a good question. A brochure and a sell sheet have different purposes.
The best uses of sell sheets and brochures really break down to their purpose in the cycle of a sale and both have a part in this sales cycle. Every sale your company makes is really a cycle. Knowing the cycle of a sale will help you create more effective materials to promote your business and sell your products.
Here is what I mean by the sales cycle, it starts with first getting the attention of the prospect, then creating an interest in your product and service, which results in the prospect having questions about the product which get answered (or not) causing a desire for the product which usually results in the prospect buying the product or service. Though maybe not buying from your company.
A sell sheet is usually simply a one-page flyer with product information. It can be printed as a full color sell sheet or a simple black and white printed sell sheet. A sell sheet is best used at the beginning of the sales cycle to get the attention and interest of the prospect.
Sell sheets, by design only, give enough information to create interest and questions so the prospect will call and want more information. The sell sheet is designed around selling one or two key product feature and benefits, giving only enough information to keep the prospect reaching with more questions, but not so much information you kill the prospects reach by answering all their questions, or worse confusing them with too much information. Sell sheets are made to be inexpensive and to be passed out like tissue paper. The purpose is to get noticed and create interest.
A brochure by definition is a small booklet, catalog or magazine containing information and photos about a product or service. A brochure can be 4, 8 or 50 plus pages printed in full color. A trifold brochure is an abbreviated form of a brochure as it is a single sheet of paper but gives you 6 panels to work with.
A full color brochure gives a prospect or customer a lot more information on a product or a series of products and services. A brochure should be used as a tool to help move a prospect along in the sales cycle by demonstrating features and benefits of your product or services more fully and with color graphics and style. Brochures would be given out to prospects that have moved through the sales cycle to the point of being interested and wanting more information. A brochure is a tool to answer questions and close sales.
There are 4 to 6 standard objections, which are similar to every product or service sold today. These objections are really questions revolve around price, dependability, performance and warranty.
Your brochure should be designed around answering these questions/objections. If your brochure is created properly it will walk an interested prospect through his questions to a buying decision. If you have a team of sales people or a single sales person, a brochure will help them close more sales. Some in business today try to cut cost buy emailing electronic brochures via email. This is fine is not as effective as a printed piece of promotion in the hands of a prospect.
A note on uses of Brochures and Sell Sheets:
Let’s say you are at a conference or a home show and a prospect asks you if you have any literature on your products and services. QUESTION: Do you reach into your bag of tricks and produce a brochure or a sell sheet?
Brochures and sell sheets are both powerful marketing tools, but sometimes it’s hard to know which one to use when. Hopefully the following will help clarify that for you.
The answer to the above question depends on where the prospect is in the sales cycle. Have they gotten to the point of being genuinely interested in your product or service or are they tire kickers? If they are genuinely interested, you should give them a brochure. It they are a tire kicker they have not come up to the point of genuine interest and will probably not read the brochure. Tire kickers should almost always be given the sell sheet.
The business trend today has been to have less and less interaction with prospects and customers. Many think they can put up a website and simply take credit card orders. This model may work for some businesses, but most of us need to have interaction with our customers to make a sale.
The simple fact with your business and most businesses is that nothing happens until someone talks too, handles and sells something to someone else. Most products and services require human interaction to do that. Someone who is selling a product or service is really answering questions and the more tools they have to do this, the more sales they will make.
QUESTION: What tools do your front line troops have to enlighten and sell prospects? When was the last time you updated your brochures or sell sheets?
Here is the killer question: do you have boxes of brochures or sell sheets sitting with an inch of dust on them? If you do, it’s a safe bet they either cost you a fortune and you are using them sparingly or they are ineffective. Promotional pieces sitting in a box are wasting your money. The more promotional materials you get out the more business will come in your door.
Today with the advent of digital printing it is very affordable to create high quality full color brochures and full color sell sheets in lower quantities. Brochures and sell sheets are vital tools—if you don’t have them or are not using the ones you have, you are losing business!
I want to ask you one more question, what you are really selling? Are you selling cleaning supplies? New cars? Spa cover? Or cake mixes?
May I be so bold as to say, no, that is not what you are selling. If you sell cleaning supplies for example you are really selling help in getting clean floors. Or with cake mixes you are selling help in creating great memories with family and friends. My business for example, you might think Wilson Printing USA is selling paper and ink. That is not true, what we are really selling is “help” to solve marketing or customer service problems for our customers.
If you really look at it, your business is selling “help” too. Really look at what problem you are solving for your customers. Doing so will aid you in identifying they type of “help” you are selling. This information will help you create more effective brochures and sell sheets and your business will grow to levels you may have only dreamed of.