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The End of of the Printed Brochure

The Advantages of Migrating to Digital Sales Presentation Tools

It started with the first sales catalog, in 1461, put out by a print shop to tell customers which books would be on sale next. From that point on, the act of shopping was never the same, because consumers no longer had to make the journey to the market to decide what to buy. Now, they could know beforehand what was available, and plan accordingly.

Then, in 1845, the first modern mail-order business changed the relationship between the marketplace and the shopper yet again. Now, the market would come to them.

With the advent of e-commerce, the sales process became even simpler, requiring even less effort to make products magically appear at the doorstep.

In home installation products, especially those with a higher price point, online shopping isn’t always the best choice. And in some cases, particularly with air conditioners and larger appliances, it’s not even possible. Which means the salesperson is still very much a valuable part of the process. Moreover, when a homeowner is considering a large purchase, especially involving a premium brand, face-to-face contact from a live salesperson can be a reassuring thing.

But while genuine face-to-face contact is still valuable, it doesn’t have to be antiquated. Equipping a sales force with digital brochures provides the best of both worlds, combining the relationship of a kitchen-table transaction with the instant answers, resources and convenience of online commerce.

The problems with printed brochures

In the past, a salesperson selling home installed products would arrive for a home sales call carrying a stack of brochures. They would use these brochures to guide the homeowner through the options available to them, giving every product its own moment in the spotlight in a linear progression.

However, the printed brochure is rapidly becoming more of a hindrance than a helpful tool.

Problem 1: Outdated Content

Because brochures are frequently printed in large quantities, changes in product appearances and specifications can cause a printed run of brochures to be outdated long before they are used up. This leads to waste and higher costs as unused brochures are discarded, and new brochures are printed.

Problem 2: Wallpapering the Table

If a customer is pouring through multiple options, the presentation area can easily become cluttered with multiple brochures, all competing for attention. Because printed brochures are static, it’s not always easy to create simple, logical comparisons between products in the same line, or across multiple lines. Furthermore, every brochure competes with every other one, rather than having them all work together in one streamlined interface.

Problem 3: A Lack of Customization

If a salesperson has gathered some idea of the customer’s interest beforehand, that won’t do them much good unless they’re handy with a scissors and some glue. Every brochure presents the same products in the same fashion, with no regard to customization.

The Digital Solution to Analog Problems

Digital brochures solve these problems, streamlining the process and putting more control of the process in the salesperson’s hands. Digital brochures also increase accuracy, and position the salesperson as an innovator.

Customer-customizable content

If the salesperson knows ahead of time what the customer’s specific interests are, or what products are most likely to close the sale, digital brochures make it simple to create a presentation that is customized for the situation. This kind of targeted selling eliminates clutter and distraction, presenting the customer with a best-case scenario of their purchasing decision. It also makes the good-better-best scenario more easily tailored to the realistic goals of the sale, and the realistic needs of the customer.

Simplified comparisons

Product comparisons are one area where digital brochures really shine. Digital brochures allow products to be compared alongside one another, by allowing salespeople to swipe seamlessly between product lines rather than fumbling from brochure to brochure with a highlighter. The ability to zoom and even move content can also give the salesperson a way to emphasize features that seem to interest the homeowner.

Alignment with research

Consumers today use their own research as part of their decision-making process, especially when considering the purchase of a premium in-home appliance. Digital sales materials provide a subtle but favorable advantage here, in that the material that a dealer or salesperson presents will have the same imagery and flow as the websites that consumers have used to research the product.

Furthermore, by creating synergy between the digital brochure and the website, a company can give consumers the feeling that they’re dealing with a more innovative, cohesive company.

Assured accuracy

By using digital sales brochures that pull in dynamic content from a database, salespeople always show their customers the latest and greatest products. All performance and efficiency specifications are up-to-the-minute. No outdated product images are included, either.

Because of this, the customer always has the best possible experience, and the most accurate basis for comparison. So by using digital brochures, companies send their salespeople into the world with the best possible tools that paint their products in the best possible light.

Moving the sales process forward

The same tools used to create digital brochures can also be used to help a sales force transition smoothly into the next stage in the transaction process. In other words, the ability to provide an instant, customizable quote based on everything the customer has just seen.

Using the same database of products used to populate the brochure, an instant digital quoting feature can provide customers with an accurate picture of what they’ll spend. It also makes it easier for dealers to demonstrate good-better-best sales options that can help steer customers towards a higher price point. Especially if the dealer is offering financing on the spot.

And because they’re digital, they can be emailed while the dealer or salesperson is still sitting at the kitchen table. Having this quote in hand can be a solid motivating factor for closing the sale.

Sales brochures had their day. They built a lot of business, closes a lot of sales and impressed a lot of customers. But, like many printed sales tools, they suffer from a lack of mobility in an increasingly active world.

With the advent of the digital sales brochure, dealers now deliver a compelling presentation every time. A presentation that includes accurate information, appealing visuals and easy comparisons. Together, they all mean customers enjoy a more rewarding experience, and can make their purchase with more confidence than ever.

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