I had an interesting email the other day from a member of our sales community. She asked me if it is “normal” to not leave brochures with a client. Now, apart from the general fact that I don’t think we can decide what is normal, I responded that I have several schools of thought on this. My thinking is part of how I was raised in sales. Brochures and other documentation are a part of any sales call. They do not replace the sales rep and are not to be overly relied on!
I firmly believe that as we move from tactical to more solution-oriented and complex selling, the brochure becomes less relevant and essentially moot. As the product or service being sold becomes more complex, the sales campaign is longer and becomes more discovery-, relationship-, and conversation-based. Brochures become adjunct and not core to the sales effort. If you are selling a more tactical product, such as a copier, then you may use brochures to help support the story. I certainly did when I was at Xerox.
One thing I do know is that if you are leaving your clients with nothing for them to refer to after you go, you will not help your sales campaign. Brochures become very useful in this case. I think the sales community as a whole sometimes needs to be reminded that we have to rely on our contacts to sell for us in the account – they have to act as our proxy. Use brochures smartly and carefully. They cannot replace a well-informed and trained sales professional who takes the time to listen to his or her clients.