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Print is expensive, don’t let your sales team waste it. Qualify, qualify, qualify

By July 20, 2012August 22nd, 2012Knowledge

Although creating brochures and catalogs is what we do, and we’ll sell more if our clients are sending out more, we know that most prospects will not take the time to call and ask for a brochure or catalog unless they have a specific need in mind. Unfortunately, many companies waste money by sending out brochures to unqualified sales leads too early in the sales process.
Rather than throwing away the cost of the brochure, the sale should develop once you have identified the prospect’s unique needs and you are able to demonstrate the value of what you offer in response to these needs. Once this has been established, mail the prospect a brochure to reiterate your company’s message and build trust in what you offer. By mailing generic information too early in the sales cycle, you risk squandering your investment of time and money and the prospective client viewing your product or service as the same as the competition.

The typical sales lead plays out like this: The receptionist receives a lead from a call or website inquiry and forwards it to a sales rep. The sales rep asks the receptionist to send a brochure out and the receptionist mails a generic letter out with a brochure. End of story. On the other side, the prospect ends up with pile of generic brochures (yours and your competition’s) that offer the same, unremarkable information. Not one sales person or company has taken time to inquire about and address the prospect’s specific needs or why their product/service is more valuable than the competition. Unfortunately, most brochures simply cannot remarkably differentiate your product/service, create an influential and compelling brand message, or motivate the prospect to act.

A case to illustrate our point:
I had the opportunity to take a racecar driving course at the Bondurant® School of Racing. The school was sponsored by GM®, so we spent a few days shredding the tires off of Corvettes®. As could be expected, GM received a mailing list from Bondurant and reached out to sell me a Corvette. Initially, this effort appears to be a sound marketing strategy. However, rather than call me to find out: if I am in the market to buy a car; if I have children; or if I have the resources necessary to purchase a car in that price range, they sent me a brochure without qualifying or following up.

The Corvette brochure was of course, incredible. It was over-sized and odd-shaped (increased postage); it contained two brochures plus a Business Reply Mailer and a couple other leaflets. Coming from the perspective of someone who designs and produces numerous brochures and catalogs, I could tell they had spent serious money on their mailer; the had sent me about a $40 mailer.

GM spent at least $40 (printing only, not including design, photography or postage costs) to send me a MAILER! No pre-qualifying calls, no follow-up. They just as easily could have spent 50¢ to send me a postcard/BRM to ask if: #1 I had kids, #2 I was able to buy #3 I had any desire to even look or request more info! And, based on my reply, they could then follow-up with their $40 mailer and a pre-qualified sales call. Most of the companies we work with do not have the funds to spend $40 per lead to send out as a mass mailing. Could this be one reason GM is having financial problems and our nation had to bail them out?

Back to the point, anyone who is part of the sales process should do at least two things: first, ask a few qualifying questions, and second, state your brand strategy quickly and succinctly so the prospect knows what you sell and why they should buy from you, and not the competition. Lastly, if possible, let the prospect know how this product/service is the perfect answer to their need.
Your brand strategy should be scripted, focused, succinct, memorized and easy to communicate. A typically a brand statement should sound something like this:

“This is what we do (our product/service), for these people (our market), this is why we’re different, unique and valuable (the brand strategy) and, this is why you should buy from us and not the competitors down the street. Here’s how (the response mechanism, sales order request).”

At this point, your prospect has been qualified, they know why they should buy from you, they know why your product/service is more valuable than the competitions, and hopefully your brochure will build trust, support what you’ve said, help to differentiate your company and provide more motivation and compel the viewer to respond – with a sale.

Open the dialog, find the prospect’s unique needs and demonstrate your immense value. Once that’s been done, then use your print brochure mailing to support your offer, build trust in your brand, product or service and motivate the prospect to keep the dialog going.

Kevin Daniels is a Principle rabble-rouser at Ruckus Creative, llc, with 20 years in advertising and marketing.
Ruckus Creative is a results-driven, full-service creative and branding agency
“Business results through strategic creative.”
4 Hearthside Rd.
Ladera Ranch, CA 92694

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