October 22, 2014

7 Tips for a Client Centered Company Brochure

boring photoWith almost everything online these days, you’d think we could dispense with the company brochure.  Nobody reads them anyway.  But everyone has to have one – especially if the competition’s got one.  As one agent put it, the prospect needs to be impressed as they glance at it on its way to the trash.

The biggest mistake that companies make is thinking of the brochure as an information dump.  Show the client how big/better/etc… in an effort to sell the prospect on your company.  Then it’s packaged in a one size fits all collection of pages full of business speak and unsubstantiated superlatives.

For sure, it has to contain information about your company – how long you’ve been in business, where you’re located – but the subject of your brochure should be the person you’re trying to build a relationship with – the client – not your company.  As with any relationship, you build rapport by demonstrating that you understand the prospect – their needs and their pain points.   Then you sell by providing your solutions to their problems.  So…here are some suggestions for creating a client centered brochure.

1.  To address the needs of each type of client, consider a flexible format you can print on demand.  Instead of a multi-page booklet, create multiple tri-fold brochures or use individual tear sheets that you can pick and choose from to customize for the client.  Place them in a branded folder or bound with heavy cover stock. You can also use tear sheets in mailings, inserted with a letter, as hand-outs at conventions or background pages in presentation packages.

2.  Start persuading on the cover.  Put an intriguing idea or value proposition front and center, your logo and company name at the bottom.  “Understanding the Lease Process” or “What You Need to Know about CRE.”  Okay – I’m not a copywriter and these aren’t great, but you get the idea.

3.  Headlines, call-outs and photos/charts are what catch the skimmers eye.  Make sure they represent the main points you want to get across.

4.  Don’t forget photo captions!  Turns out they’re most often read and remembered.  I know…it’s difficult to come up with a caption for stock photos, but put more thought into the ones you select.  Come up with the caption first – the idea you want to get across – then find the photo to match.

5.  For content, include sections that address the prospect specifically – those pain points or questions they have about the process.   Some topics:

  • Checklists so they can determine what services they need
  • Tips on what they need to prepare or what they can do to save time/money
  • Explanation of lease or other real estate terms
  • Typical timelines for each type of project (disposition, acquisition, consultation, etc…) to give them an idea of the process
  • An FAQ or Q&As addressing concerns you’ve heard over the years with your solutions
  • Relevant case studies with testimonials
  • Reprints (with permission) of relevant/useful articles

You should know these tips already, but they bear repeating:

6.  Use an active voice, story-telling (show, don’t tell) and all the tricks you learned in English class.  If writing is not your strong suit, hire a copywriter.  Since you won’t necessarily find one knowledgeable about CRE, it will work best if you can write a draft or provide an outline.  Then hand it off to a professional to fill out and tighten up.

7.  Part of that impression is appearance.  Your brochure needs to be on high quality paper.  If you can’t hire a professional designer (try online sites like 99Designs or Crowdspring – the latter has copywriting services), find an outstanding template that blends with or sets the tone for your other marketing materials.  If you’re doing it yourself, don’t cram in all the text that will fit.  Position text and graphics so that they draw the eye in a logical flow using white space as a design element.

 

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by AdamBindslev

Comments

  1. Have you ever worked at Marcus & Millichap? They must have 100’s of these that get incredibly misused. I shake my head just thinking about it.

    I’ve heard good things about 99Designs and Crowdspring, plus I get discounts with my FoundersCard.

    • I don’t think M&M is the only offender… Sometimes I think it’s just an intimidation thing – that somehow dumping a lot of paper on a prospect’s desk makes the company look bigger or that it’s the prospect’s job to learn about the company/CRE. Then there’s the company who prints these things and rarely hands them out because they were too expensive.

  2. This is great information and very timely. We were just about to update brochures for our larger national clients and this makes me stop and reconsider the approach. Funny thing is, as a salesperson you are trained to think about these things in person, yet for some reason when writing, those lessons are lost in translation.

    • Good insight – the difference between what agents know/do and what they write. Just think if salespeople talked like some of their brochures… Thanks for the comment and good luck with the brochures!

  3. Great advice. I might suggest one minor change. I would put as Point #1 – Make a brochure! I am amazed that so few people will do a brochure for a property. Some simply print off the lovely MLS listing. I will do a brochure, videos, websites, and more for a listing. Then you have those who do little and get away with it… Too bad.