There’s an old story of a rookie salesman who outsold his colleagues by 200% every year.
However, by all standards, this rookie was a terrible salesman and scored the lowest in all the aptitude tests given to the sales reps.
However, after 3 years of repeated success and breaking company records, the manager decided to sit down with this salesman, and with the help of a psychologist, attempt to determine why he was outperforming all his peers.
The psychologist asked him to outline the exact routine he went through with each prospect.
“I put the product catalogue on the table between us” said the salesman
“OK… and then what?” inquired the psychologist
“I open it to page one and ask the prospect if they would like to buy the product on that page.”
“And what happens if the client says no?”
“Well, then I turn to the second page and ask if they would like to buy that product instead.”
“And if he says no?”
“Then I turn to page 3 and…”
“Alright, alright” said the exasperated psychologist. “I get the picture. But what happens when you go through the entire book and they say no to you on every page?”
“I flip the book over” said the salesman, as if trying to show an innocent child that 2 + 2 = 4, “and then I open up page one again and ask if they want to buy that product.”
While this story seems silly, it offers some good advice for those savvy enough to read between the lines.
Namely, you don’t get business you don’t ask for.
This is the hallmark of direct response marketing: always asking your reader to take the next step.
And the one area where nearly every technology firm can do this better is with their sales brochures.
Simply because nearly every technology firm selling scientific instrumentation has at least one brochure. And if you’re using them, you may as well use them effectively.
The problem is two-fold:
First, the company doesn’t use their brochures as direct response vehicles. In other words, they use them purely as branding or image pieces.
Second, when the brochure is used to provide information, it doesn’t give enough of it.
Instead, it’s slick, glossy and laden down with fancy graphics, but doesn’t provide any real meat.
With that in mind, we’ll talk about how to improve the content of your brochure this week.
Next week, we’ll talk about improving it with direct response elements.
Improving the content of your brochure
The more content and information your brochure provides, the more your prospects will learn from reading it and the more favourable they will be towards taking the next step.
A well-written brochure may even motivate the prospect to purchase your solution. This is done by making sure your brochures contain all relevant information and content about the product or service.
However, it’s also important to write that content simply and concisely. Simplicity and clarification are vital in any marketing or sales copy.
Ask yourself: What is the purpose of the brochure? What information does it need to give? What do you want the reader to do next? These questions keep your brochure focused.
As with other content types, you need to open with an attention-grabbing headline and lead. And use informative and motivating copy for the body of the brochure. Don’t just give a laundry list of all the technical features of the product (though technical specs need to be included too).
As for the content itself, make sure you have sections for introduction, benefits and features, how it works, applications, pricing and technical specifications. And because you want your brochure to entice your readers to do something, make sure there’s a call-to-action or ‘next step’ at the end.
Remember that content is what separates good brochures from bad ones. In fact, the quickest way to improve your brochure is to make sure it has enough content.
Your prospects need to know everything there is to know about your product or service and they expect a brochure to give them that information.
This is the first step. Next week, we’ll talk about what you can do to maximize the response you get from direct mail and ads (this also has to do with content). This means increasing the number of people who request the brochure after seeing it advertised.
But we’ll also talk about how you can increase the response of prospects who actually read the brochure, after they request it.
Look for it next Thursday,