Picture this: You’re at a conference, and you’re having a conversation with your ideal buyer persona in the flesh.
It’s like they’ve jumped right out of a lead intelligence report, put on a suit, and walked over to shake your hand.
Maybe they’ve flown cross-country to attend the conference. Maybe they’re from the next state over.
Hey, maybe their office is a couple of blocks away from yours.
No matter where they’re from or what they’re there for; one thing you know for sure from this meeting is that they’re interested in your company.
They have a problem, and you have the perfect solution.
Naturally, they want to know where they can learn more about how your product or service can help their business.
Enter: the sell sheet.
Sales gets compared to dating all too often, with good reason. Like dating, those early interactions with a prospect determine whether the relationship will continue, or whether it will go dark right then and there.
Too much too soon can put off a prospective buyer as surely as proposing marriage on the first date.
The sell sheet is a short and sweet first impression meant to generate interest in your product or service. It’s like flirting for your business.
Likewise, it’s a chance for you to gauge a prospective customer’s level of interest and whether they are a good fit for your company and worth pursuing.
Before rushing in with offers of a demo, you need to first assess the likelihood of this professional relationship progressing to the next level. If it looks promising, you need to take the right steps; the ones most likely to get you there.
A killer sell sheet puts the ball in your prospective customer’s court. It contains all the information they require to decide whether they want to learn more about you and your business, and how they can do so.
When done right, a sell sheet is a compelling piece of communication that does the selling for you.
The elements of a modern sell sheet
Also known as a product sheet, a sales sheet, or a sales slick, the sell sheet is a one-page advertisement of your brand, service, or product.
Its essential purpose is showcasing how your business solves a particular problem.
Because of its brevity, it is a notoriously tricky document to get right. You have a limited amount of real estate to capture a viewer’s attention, sell them on the merits of your solution, and entice them to act.
Every sell sheet will vary depending on the audience and the nature of the message. But there are a handful of fundamental elements that are constant in every great sell sheet:
1. Flawless design
Sharp design is the lynchpin; if it’s not pretty, people won’t look at it. If you have design resources at your disposal, make good use of them. Ensure your company logo is front and centre, branding is on point, and the most important information is featured clearly.
Flawless design means resisting the urge to cram as much information as possible onto one page. The sell sheet is about emphasizing the most important aspects of your company.
Showcase the best, cut the rest.
2. Persuasive copy
You have a very limited word count to get your message across. Choose your words wisely. The sell sheet is designed to sell, so your copy needs to be concise and persuasive.
Design alone won’t sell your product/service/business, your copy needs to convince prospective customers why it is in their best interest to buy from you.
Simple things like using the active voice, cutting superfluous words (they often end in -ly), and triple-checking your grammar often makes the difference between copy that sells and copy that’s meh.
(Check this out if you want to learn how to write more persuasive sales materials.)
3. A call-to-action
Your design has caught their attention, your copy has convinced them you’re the one for them, but what exactly do you want your customer to do next?
You need a call-to-action (CTA) to entice the viewer to act. Your prospects are intelligent, successful people (they must be if they’re willing to conduct business with the likes of you) but they are not mind readers. You need to include a specific CTA that tells them exactly what you want them to do.
A CTA is THE most important element of a sell sheet. So many sell sheets fall flat simply because they didn’t tell the viewer what to do next. Don’t waste all the good work you’ve done getting them this far to blow it on a non-existent CTA.
When to use a sell sheet
A sell sheet may well be the first piece of branded content someone encounters from your business.
As such, this piece of sales collateral resides at the top of the sales funnel. It’s your go-to piece of content to use as a leave-behind after an introduction, either in person or after an early discovery call or email.
It contains everything your prospect needs to know, and a clearly defined directive which informs them what to do next.
In the dark days before Proposify, the sell sheet, like all other sales collateral, was delivered to a prospect by a rep who waited by the phone with bated breath for a return call.
Or, sell sheet brochures sat gathering dust in lobbies and reception desks or handed out at conferences haphazardly to anyone willing to take one.
Those days are long gone.
Nowadays, sell sheets—and a range of other sales documents—are living, breathing assets. They can be emailed, viewed online, commented on, and shared. They can be supplemented with videos, adjustable tables, and other customizable features.
Cutting-edge tools allow you to give your sell sheet the edge it needs to stand out from the crowd.
Example sell sheet
Here’s an example of a sell sheet I created with Proposify. All of the elements—from the design to the adjustable text boxes to the CTA button—I added using Proposify’s robust, easy-to-use editor. This sell sheet promotes Bonjour Bonsai, a fictional business, and their centrepiece product, tiny tree companions for your desk.
Pretty good, eh? Kind of makes me wish I had a bonsai tree on my desk. So, if your sell sheet is ready for a revamp, read on.
How to create a killer sell sheet with Proposify
It’s easy to create a winning sell sheet that your prospects will love receiving, viewing, and interacting with.
Proposify grants you access to a powerful editor which makes it easy to add design elements. Including compelling copy in any of hundreds of fonts is simple and intuitive.
Input forms and backend tracking ensures dynamic CTAs and real-time tracking showing when your prospect views your sell sheet, and what they spend the most time reading.
Plus, once you’ve nailed a one-pager that sells like cold beer on a hot day, save it as a template, customize per your prospect, and slash the time it takes to get those early interactions rolling.
Here’s a detailed breakdown on Proposify’s knowledge base which digs into the nuts and bolts of creating a sell sheet that does the selling for you.
Keep reading here for an overview of how to include essential components of a top-performing sell sheet.
Sell sheets aren’t a one-and-done piece of content, but they are sales assets that remain fairly constant across audiences. Head into your template library and create a reusable template by starting from scratch or duplicating an existing template for easy access to your sell sheet.
If you need to tweak to target your message to a particular viewer, editing from a template gives you a foundation to work upon and saves you from starting from scratch every time.
Proposify’s editor lets you design your sales documents to reflect your business’ style and branding.
Whether you’re a design novice or an established pro, it’s easy to make your sell sheet stand out with custom colour palettes, consistent typography, integrated video, and beautiful professional photographs from the integrated Unsplash photo library.
Check out this awesome article for a ton of tips on how to design your sales documents like a pro.
Alright, your sell sheet’s looking A-plus; now it’s time to add those golden words that will convince your prospect you’re the one for them.
Custom text boxes make it easy to position copy so it has the best chance at standing out. Clever use of white space ensures your prospect’s eye is drawn to the text you want them to read.
One-click styling changes the formatting to heading, paragraph, quote, or hyperlinked text, and much more. And variables makes adding repetitive information—like a prospect’s name, business, or phone number—a piece of cake.
Call to action time! What do you want your viewer to do next? Whether it’s booking a demo, scheduling a call, or directing them to further content, a CTA is the critical prod your prospects need to keep things moving in the right direction.
Alongside legally-binding signatures (which aren’t really necessary for a sell sheet), Proposify’s input forms can be customized to reflect the information you request from your prospect.
Plus, the interactive nature of a sell sheet crafted in Proposify means you can easily add links and buttons that direct your viewer to a specified location where they can carry out the desired action. Telling them what to do next is good; taking them to where they do it is next level.
CTAs shouldn’t be pushy, but they need to be clear about what you want them to do next, if they decide to move forward with you.
And c’mon, with a sell sheet like the one you just created, who wouldn’t want to know what other tricks you’ve got in your bag?