Brochures don’t sell our services. They may introduce people to us and showcase some of the key points of our business. They may reinforce what we deliver. They might help people get to know us a little better.
In a word, brochures are inanimate. They are a brief, compact representation of who and what we are. We are hoping that people can find something within the limited amount of text or photographs that connects with them in a way that makes them want to know more about us and eventually decide to do business with us.
If brochures (ours or anyone else’s) actually did make the sale, we wouldn’t need to do anything except print up several hundred of them, pass them out or direct mail them to people we think might like to use what we are offering, and wait for the phone to ring or the front door to open.
Clearly, it is not that simple – for one basic reason. Brochures do not sell and were never intended to do so. For the person who knows exactly what they want in a new car, house, computer, outerwear, formalwear, casual attire, footwear, cookware, or household furnishings, and they have never seen the item in-person previously, they could actually buy based on the brochure – or in some cases the electronic representation of it online. In many cases, websites serve as brochures for people to peruse and experience.
Depending on how someone receives one of our brochures – typically a trifold design – they generate the eventual contact from someone or provide a reference point. They open the door, they generate interest, they describe what we’re offering, they remind people of what we’ve already told them if we have already engaged them, and they give people another opportunity to familiarize themselves with who we are and what we provide.
In short, people expect to receive a brochure from you and they expect us to have a website, but they don’t make a decision based solely on either one. How can they? We can’t describe exactly what they need without seeing their home first or understanding their specific needs. They can’t meet all of our team members and appreciate how each one is going to participate in their project.
Brochures can’t determine priorities. Even if we did include a menu of services along with pricing, there are so many variables to consider that it essentially would be impossible for someone to make a purchasing decision just from the brochure. They can decide to purchase us – to do business with us – but the actual solutions that we are going to create will be determined once we all get together face-to-face in their home to review what needs to be done to help them.
We have many ways of meeting people, from personal contact, being introduced to them by someone else that we know or have done business with, websites, print advertising, online social media campaigns, direct mail, and other means. Once we meet them, or speak with them if this precedes a face-to-face meeting, we can give them a brochure to reinforce the strength of our business and enhance our credibility.
The brochure is reference material only. It does not speak to people – it is mute – and it does not make an actual sale. It has the ability to interact with potential clients and customers to a very limited extent, but that’s it. It can’t answer any of their questions or discuss their needs other than what might be printed on the brochure in anticipation of them being able to identify with what we think is important for them to know.
It’s not a matter of how much we spend to produce the brochure either, and whether it is several pages, a jacket with inserts, a trifold, or a flyer. The type of paper, the number of colors, whether there are photos or graphs, and any other content that might be included may help make a good initial impression or enhance the one we have already begun to make from the initial encounter, but the brochure is secondary to our personal interaction with them.
Brochures are nice – some would argue necessary or essential for a business to have and use. Still, we are the ones that set the appointments and make the sales.