Are Promo Materials Immaterial?
I once had a boss who used to say—“The cobbler’s kids go barefoot.”—every time I asked him for a brochure or some materials I could drop off while prospecting for new business. It took me awhile to figure out that what he was saying was that it is a common phenomenon in business that you are so busy performing the work for your clients that the very thing you need for YOURSELF never gets done.
Poor cobbler’s kids. Their feet must hurt. And poor print reps. How do they get the word out about what they do without something that they can leave behind?
I decided that the topic of marketing materials might make for a healthy debate with all my devoted followers. So here is the question:
Can you have an effective prospecting plan and land lots of new business without something printed that tells the world who you are and what you do?
I think you can. But I also think that you shouldn’t. Here’s why. With an effective prospecting plan, you have to touch a prospect a number of times in a number of ways. I am a fan of letters, phone calls, e-mails, dropping by and sending postcards.
“Why all the work?” you say. Because you have a lot of competition out there, and you have to be creative and persistent to be heard above the din. The vast majority of sales people give up way too easy, without having tried anything other than one or two phone calls or e-mails.
I am a BIG fan of the drop by. If it is at all geographically feasible for you, I recommend that you start dropping in on prospects as part of a well-though-out prospecting plan.
But if 8 times out of 10 the prospect does not step out to meet you face to face, what do you leave behind? A business card? OK. Some candy? Sure. A scratch-off lottery ticket? Nice idea.
What if you could leave all or some of those things along with a simple, four-page brochure with lots of white space that contains your mission statement, a testimonial from a thrilled customer with some name recognition, all preferably in a nice pocket folder? That deserves a “NICE” all caps.
Now, you may say you do not have the staff to design it. Come on, folks, I am willing to bet you that almost all of you have a client that is a designer that would love the opportunity to do some work for you in exchange for some free printing.
You don’t have the press time because you are too busy? Here’s that you do—stop reading this, go pour yourself a glass of champagne and then write your own blog about how you are doing it. We are all dying to know!
In all seriousness, if you do not have any marketing materials to speak of, that you truly believe are really well done and great examples of the work that you can do, what are you waiting for? Please get them done.
So all of you out there, please chime in. Do you have marketing materials? How do you use them? If you don’t, and you don’t think they are necessary, I want to hear about that, too. Let’s have a healthy, friendly debate here folks!