Using Sales Collateral: Best Practices For Prospect And Client Meetings

Collateral can come in many different forms and often the type of collateral will depend on the sales rep’s preference and even on his/her personality.

It’s safe to say that almost all sales reps like to have some sort of sales collateral to bring to a prospect appointment. There is benefit in having an item that sits on a person’s desk or in their home with your brand labeled on that item…..after all, to some that may mean that your brand will stay top of mind.

Collateral can come in many different forms and often the type of collateral will depend on the sales rep’s preference and even on his/her personality.

What we find is that sales reps fall somewhere within a spectrum of collateral. On one end of the collateral spectrum are the company swag items and on the other end, there’s formal branded material. Most sales reps fall somewhere between the two, relying on both kinds of sales collateral to assist them in prospect or client meetings. Although that doesn’t mean you won’t meet the occasional outlier who relies strictly on one over the other.

All of it is based on personal preference. Many of my sales colleagues feel that they need a piece of sales collateral to even step foot into a prospect’s facility. That piece of collateral, whatever it may be, is a little piece of comfort for them as they walk into what they consider “unknown territory”.

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So how should you present your sales collateral? When is the right time? What kinds of collateral should you use in an initial cold call, prospect discovery meeting, an existing client meeting and all the levels in between?

HERE ARE OUR BEST PRACTICES FOR USING SALES COLLATERAL:

1. Choose an item that is appropriate for the audience in which you intend to present it to. This may be difficult as often times the points of contact within a prospect company can vary. Here’s a tip: encourage your sales reps to choose an item that would be appropriate for a wide range of prospects. A safe option is a branded journal or pocket folders.

2. Try not to overwhelm your prospect with too many “leave behind” items. Depending on your sales process, you may want to clearly map out what collateral you leave behind and when. Perhaps you leave a business card the first visit, second visit you leave behind a bigger ticketed item (i.e. mug, candy dish, etc.) and so on.

3. Don’t make the appointment about your sales collateral. As much as the company swag may be beneficial and help to spotlight your brand, it is also important for you to lead a prospect meeting with information and focus on hearing what your prospect has to say.  After all, you’re not there to push your company swag, you’re there to understand your prospects needs and how you can help them.

4. Make sure your prospects/clients understand what the collateral is. Sales collateral is intended to act as a friendly reminder of your company’s brand and in extension its services/products. If a prospect does not understand what you leave behind is or how to use it, they’re likely to either learn the hard way or throw it away. We’ve heard our fair share of horror stories about company swag that went terribly wrong. For instance, one of our contacts once gave out branded hand sanitizers that were in long, thin spray containers. What was missing on the bottle was information clearly indicating what the item actually was. The container was designed in a way for ease of throwing into a purse or into a pant pocket. Problem was, many people mistook the item for spray mouthwash. You can imagine their surprise when they took the cap off and sprayed it in their mouth. Yuck! Point being, make sure your prospect knows what the sales collateral is.

Sales collateral is great to incorporate into any meeting. If you follow these best practices you can show your prospects/clients your company is ready and willing to help or aid them in any way possible.

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