Do You Need a Brochure?

Customer Service

small business marketing

In this age of digital downloads and with considerable research and purchasing done online, it can be easy to decide that printed brochures are an unnecessary expense. 

Many businesses pour resources into their website and figure that’s it, they can do away with having a brochure at all. If they get a customer enquiry then they’ll direct them to the website, maybe even the specific page on the site that answers their queries. Why bother with a brochure that is expensive to produce and costly to change?

While it may be an unnecessary piece of collateral for some businesses, for many, particularly those that sell face-to-face, not paying attention to this would be a mistake. Why is that?

A brochure serves three key purposes that are difficult to replicate with a digital version or website:

  1. Start a conversation and provide a structure for the conversation

A well-structured brochure should serve as a guide to how a sales conversation will flow. It can be a focal point for a conversation literally by providing something for both the salesperson and customer to look at, making the discussion less intense as they don’t have to maintain constant eye contact.

Also, it can be used as a guide for when to raise and discuss issues allowing the conversation to flow through from what the business is about to how the product or service solves the customer’s problems or pain points.

  1. Credibility

There is a saying that people only pay for the value they can see and if they can’t see the value in what you’re offering then they will be reluctant or unwilling to pay for it. This is particularly true if your offering is a higher priced item and/or a service.

With a product or service that is valued over a certain amount (let’s say $500 for consumers and over $1,000 for a small business) then they want to feel that there is value in it. A brochure can demonstrate and explain the value that the customer will get in exchange for their money.

When it comes to services a brochure is even more important because there is little that is tangible. The customer can’t see what they’ll get and need to trust that what is promised will be provided. A brochure can boost that trust both through explaining how it all works as well as testimonials.  Of course, a slick brochure is no guarantee of quality service but it is an important trust element.

  1. Follow up sales tool

If the sale doesn’t happen immediately your brochure becomes a tool for the person to sell your service or product internally. Do it well and the job is easier, do it poorly and they’ll start to doubt whether you’re really the right choice.

For example, let’s say you’re gathering information from a few different companies to supply and install a new kitchen. You visit the local home centre and visit four kitchen showrooms. You chat with the salespeople at each and collect brochures from three as the fourth company you visited didn’t have any brochures available. You take them home and sit down with your partner and go through each of the brochures.

You liked the first company you visited because the sales person you dealt with clearly explained the expertise of the business and took the time to talk about the design choices for the space you have available. Unfortunately, the brochure they gave you doesn’t capture the salesperson’s confidence or expertise.  It doesn’t really demonstrate much of anything.

Your partner is keen on the second company because their brochure is clearly laid out, looks professional and does a great job of explaining why they are a good choice for a new kitchen. If the first company had backed up their great in-store experience with a professional and informative brochure, then making a decision on who to choose would have been an easy choice.

If a sale did occur then the brochure becomes a confirmation of what was purchased and demonstrates the reasons why the sale was a logical decision. For example, if you go out to look at washing machines and come home having purchased one then having a brochure to confirm your decision ahead of the delivery is reassuring that you made the right decision. You can check that it did have all the things you wanted and you made the right choice.

Do you have a brochure?  Does it serve the purpose that you and your customers need it to?