How to Create a Killer Sell Sheet [+ 5 Great Examples]

Sell sheets are a great way to ace that first impression. Short, sweet, and designed to promote the best of your business in a concise one-page package, a killer sell sheet goes a long way in nailing those all-important early interactions with a prospective customer.

The days of six-panel brochures are long gone; here’s how to create and send winning sell sheets using Proposify.

how to make a sell sheet

9 min. read

(This article was originally published on 9/22/2019 and updated on 02/23/2023)

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.

What is a sales sheet?

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. Your main point of contact can float it around to others on their team, and get them involved early on in the sales process so that all key decision-makers are well informed.

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The elements of a 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 marketing sell sheet:

1. On-brand design

Good design communicates a lot all on its own. With beautiful layouts and plenty of whitespace, you can communicate a sense of authority and calm. But a cluttered design might stress out your prospects and make them unlikely to work with you. So keep those principles in mind and resist the urge to cram as much information as possible onto one page. You’ll also want to make sure that the sell sheet matches your company’s unique branding.

All in all, make sure these elements are on-brand:

  • Logo

  • Heading font

  • Paragraph font

  • Background color

  • Font colors

  • Accent colors

2. Persuasive headline

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.

The truth is most people skim, which is why the majority of your pitch needs to be clear in your headline. A great headline tells the reader what’s in it for them, so make sure you focus on the key outcomes the prospective client will receive or the problem they will solve by working with you.

Use these headline templates to help you craft something compelling:

  • {Product type} to {benefit}

  • {Product type} so you can {key outcome}

  • Get rid of {pain point}

  • Fix {pain point} with {product type}

3. Concise text

You have a very limited word count to get your message across. Choose your words wisely. The one page sell sheet is designed to sell, so your copy needs to be concise and persuasive.

Being concise isn’t easy, so try these tips:

  • Use bullet points and lists instead of paragraphs when possible.

  • Agree with internal stakeholders on the key details you need to include in your sales sheet before you write it.

  • Have no more than three text sections in your sales sheet.

  • Keep the entire sales sheet to 100 words max.

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.

4. Informative visuals

Your images are a huge part of your sales sheet. The images should combine seamlessly with your main headline to get your core message across.

If you’re selling a product, you’ll want to include an attractive image of that product. But if you’re selling your company’s ability to provide a certain service, then you might want to include portfolio samples, social proof like embedded reviews or star rating averages, or a chart with average client results.

Consider these ideas for visuals:

  • A single large picture of your product

  • A gallery of 3 to 4 portfolio samples

  • Images of product options

  • Infographic with average client results and ROI

  • Infographic with stats on your company

  • Company or product reviews with customer images

  • User-generated content

  • Pictures of your office or team

5. A compelling 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 product sales sheets fall flat simply because they didn’t tell the viewer what to do next, like telling them how to contact you.

If each call-to-action depends on the client, then you can leave that out of your sales sheet, and include it with your email instead. For instance, you might write “After you’ve taken a look at the sales sheet, let’s set up a call.”

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 sales one 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 were 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. You can share your sales sheets with proposal software, and get comments from customers. Once you know what they’re interested in, you can then generate a full proposal to send their way.

5 example sell sheets

Scroll for inspiration on design, layout, and copy.

Sell sheet example #1

This sales sheet example was created with Proposify. All of the elements—from the design to the adjustable text boxes to the CTA button—were added using Proposify’s robust, easy-to-use editor. This sell sheet promotes Bonjour Bonsai, a fictional business, and their core product, tiny tree companions for your desk.

It’s a great example because it marries a clear visual with compelling benefits

Sell sheet example #2

This example sales sheet comes from K&K Industries, a provider of trusses and wall panels. Their sell sheet for trusses showcases three different types of trusses (post-frame building, sloping, and wrapped). But because the first two are commonly offered, they only include a description for the wrapped trusses. This is a good example of showing not telling. If your audience is familiar with a concept, you might be better off showing examples of your work rather than selling it with explanations and benefits.

Construction sell sheet example

Sell sheet example #3

If you want your copy to take center stage, take note of this software sell sheet example. It includes a simple tagline (“All-in-one HR software”), a short description of the company, a list of the top features, and social proof highlights.

Software sell sheet example

Sell sheet example #4

A great sell sheet should have one core message that it’s trying to get across, with some supporting details. This sell sheet is a great example of that. At a quick glance, it’s clear that the core message is that the product is a website builder with over 1,000 templates. The entire rest of the sell sheet supports that main offer with other key details.

Website builder sell sheet example

Sell sheet example #5

When selling a physical product, you want to make sure that the features and specifications are clear. This example sales sheet showcases a blender, making sure to highlight the powerful motor, high quality blades, and large capacity. The social proof at the top also make this example a stand-out.

Kitchen product sell sheet example

How to make a killer sales sheet

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.

Create a sell sheet template

Sell sheets aren’t a one-and-done piece of content. Rather, they’re sales assets that remain fairly constant across audiences.

With Proposify, you can start with one of our proposal templates or create a fresh template from scratch. This way, each time you need to create or edit a sales sheet, you can duplicate it easily. 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.

Add design elements

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 proposal documents like a pro.

Add your copy

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.

Include a CTA

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 collect 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.

Selling sheet best practices

Pointless content helps no one.

To send sell sheets that work, follow these best practices.

  • Use a core message you know will convert - Talk to your marketing team about what copy performs the best. They’ll have data from A/B tests and ads that can help you determine the best headline copy and core messaging.

  • Get feedback from customers - Show your sales sheet to a few customers that you have close relationships to get their feedback. Ask them if it speaks to the core problems they’ve experienced or if it misses the mark.

  • Create unique sell sheets for each product or service - If you suggest different products and services to different customers based on their needs, you’ll want unique sell sheets for each offering. This way you can send the appropriate ones.

  • Revise your sell sheets annually - Market needs change, and so should your selling approach. Make sure to update your sell sheets with new features, service offerings, etc. When you use an online editor like Proposify, you can easily update your sell sheet across your entire sales team so everyone is using the updated version.

A great sales sheet should act as a gateway to a deeper conversation, so be ready to respond to questions and keep the conversation going.

How to Create a Killer Sell Sheet [+ 5 Great Examples]

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