The other day, I blogged about the dangers of using collateral material. Someone asked me, "But Keith, isn´t there an appropriate time to use my marketing and support materials?" Of course there is. And like every rule, this one also has its exceptions as it relates to when it makes sense to send out collateral material.
Here are a few guidelines that will help you determine when it is appropriate to send out your collateral material.
1. The type of material you send to a prospect is generic. For example, if your material does nothing more than open up additional questions about your product or company that only you can answer, it should be okay to send it. Otherwise, it’s really a judgment call on your part. I would suggest keeping track of those prospects who you’ve sent collateral material and in turn, actually sold them something.
2. They don’t have a need now but they may have a need in the future. If they plan on making a purchase at some point but refuse a meeting with you even after every attempt to schedule one, you can put them on your list of prospects to call back in the future. Your collateral material can then become a great tool to keep your name in front of them up until the point where they are ready to revisit your initial conversation, meet with you, or make a purchase.
3. The prospect needs certain information that is necessary to review prior to taking the next step, such as scheduling a meeting.
These are just a few situations that would justify sending out additional material. Otherwise, keep your materials at bay.
After all, if you are sending out information every time you want to connect with someone (rather than a phone call or visit) or hear an objection; hoping that it stimulates some level of interest, you will never actually have to handle and respond to an objection head on. (What a great diversionary tactic of avoidance behavior that is!) For the most part, collateral material doesn’t sell and overcome objections; salespeople do.
The use of collateral material can be justified and worthwhile in many instances. It can be a great complement to your selling efforts. However, in most industries and professions, collateral material is not meant to take the place of a well trained, professional salesperson and their ability to provide the guidance, support and service that a prospect needs to ultimately make a buying decision.
Once you develop and adhere to a prospecting and selling system that´s aligned with your strengths, selling philosophy, product, and service, you will soon discover that the most effective collateral material you can send to a prospect is you.