Effective Sell Sheets

Your name on the tip of their tongues  

There are only 2 reasons a buyer asks for a sell sheet, but more on that in a minute. Is it our product or service, or the slick graphics that sells?

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes, 2200 years ago

Right or wrong, it is a lot more effective to try and say things in a way that appeals to your audience’s self-interest rather than your own, though it doesn’t always feel as good.

The same applies for promotional materials. Throw something together because you have to, or decide to be creative, without considering the self-interest of the person who is going to use them is waste of time, energy and money. Promotional materials are not for us; they are for our customer, and for their customers.

There are a number of different sales and promotional tools that are currently used in selling. Some work, others simply make money for the designer, printer, distributor and/or retailer and offer little advantage to the you and your business. Bottom line is do they help you make sales?


No matter how beautiful your graphics, the matter how cutting-edge your design, the only two reasons buyers ask for sell sheets are because they either want to get rid of you, or they need information.

So why not make it easy for them. In fact, making things easier for buyers to do their job is one of the best-selling technique there is. If you really think a buyer is going to decide on your product based on how cool your graphics are, you're being foolish.

So the first one is true, but just try to get rid of you, then it doesn't matter what your sell sheet looks like​, does it? But, if they need information, and you want to make it easier for them, make sure the information they need is on the sell sheet, easy to find, easy to read, and easy to understand but never include prices: use a separate price list so you don' thane to reprint every time you change your price. In fact, many companies don't print anymore, using their website to make the sell sheets available by pdf download.  

The question you have to find an answer to is if the buyer prefers a PDF or they want something in print so they can file it. People are funny that way, each of them has their own particular way of doing things. You can keep a minimum number of printed versions on hand, they don't care about the quality of the Parenti can use a dot matrix printer, you can print them as needed at your local copy shop, you can buy color laser printer. The choice is yours based on your best theory as to what is the most economical choice for you. Economics in this case not necessarily meaning cost, but over all cost: buyer doesn't like what you give them you didn't save any money buying a cheap printer.

Now, I'm telling you this as someone who was a buyer for many years, but you won't listen. Why? Because it's not what everyone else does, it's not which are graphic artist is telling you to do, and you're afraid you'll lose the sale unless you look slick.

Fear is the mind killer! Frank Herbert, Dune

If you are serious about making money, don't listen to your peers. I can't tell you the number of times I ended up not buying a product as a buyer because I couldn't find the information that I needed and my second favorite product made it easy for me to find.​ Test reality and talk to your customers. It works!


What information does your customer need to do their job more easily, and more effectively. That is the question. Here's an example of a cheese company, quite a good cheese I might add. You probably aren't in cheese but as far as not looking fancy but having everything the buyer really needs at their fingertips, there is something you can learn. Afterwards, a button to download the pdf used as a guideline in creating the sell sheet as well.

If you can't think laterally and find value in another industry, in other words, if you are just a copy cat, I can't help you, sorry.. You can find a million people to help you online with get rich quick offers.​

Think about it, on this sheet is all the buyer needs to do his/her pricing, write an ad, train the staff, answer consumer questions, talk to the media... everything important, and that is the point. If you make it easy for customers to buy, they just might.​

About the Author

Dan Strongin works with medium to small companies, helping them master the art and science of managing.

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