The DIY Emergency Sales Kit

by Chris Arlen on December 11, 2013

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DIY Emergency Sales KitImagine you’re in your perfect B2B sales job. But one day you wake up to find there are no sales brochures, proposals, slideshows, or even business cards; and the firm’s web site is an embarrassment.

Who knows why it’s this way; maybe your firm didn’t have the money, time or knowledge to get sales materials in place. Doesn’t matter. As a sales rep you need them, and now.

So assuming your firm is still a good place to work, what are you going to do?

Well, break out the old Do-It-Yourself (DIY) overalls and get busy creating your Emergency Sales Kit.

Here’s how I’d tackle this chore, because it’s happened to me to some degree at every place I’d sold for – and back then it was harder to DIY and create your own than it is today.

The goal with DIY is to spend your time, which you have, and spend little money, zero dollars where possible. And of course your time is more effective the more you know, so here are some tips and tricks to DIY your Emergency Sales Kit.

Components of a DIY Emergency Sales Kit

Web Site

If your firm’s web site is miserable, it’s not likely you’ll be able to change it. But don’t make an unofficial site elsewhere, you’ll only make the matter worse.

But you’re not dead in the water. Use LinkedIn instead. LinkedIn is the B2B place where business people go to look, learn and connect.

NOTE: I have some familiarity with Google+ and it may be moving towards LinkedIn’s level of sales activity, but I’m guessing it’s not there yet. It would be worth your time to learn more about Google+.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Pay for the Premium LinkedIn service, start at the Sales Basic level and learn how to use LinkedIn’s tools, then upgrade as needed

–> Get your LinkedIn profile up to All Star level

–> Customize your LinkedIn Public Profile URL

–> Create a LinkedIn company page & products/services page

Business Cards

I would’ve thought business cards would be obsolete once bumping smartphones made it easy to share contact data, see Bump Technologies free mobile app. But business cards are still around. So, they’re a necessary part of the Emergency Sales Kit.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Use an online service for minimal cost & easy design – I really like Moo Business Cards for their easy design and mini-card size

–> Include your firm’s logo & usual contact info – you better have an email address or customers will think you’re a neanderthal

–> Use the back of the card to add a QR code, its a two dimensional bar code that when scanned on a smartphone lands on your web’s URL. The image of your custom QR code can be made free: do a web search and you’ll find several free generators.

Letterhead

Letterhead is typically printed as a hard copy, but I use it almost exclusively for letters sent as PDFs. It’s easier to send PDFs and faster to receive than hard copies.

Also, PDFs hold your document’s formatting rock solid when sent via email. Whereas formatting can sometimes get sideways when emailing a Word doc. And turning Word docs into PDFs is included FREE in Microsoft Office 2007 and above. What’s not to like?

Heads-up: letterhead has two page styles, where the first page design is flashier than the restrained second page.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Use Microsoft Office’s Word to create a letterhead template with a first and second page design

NOTE: Google Drive Documents can do many of the same things Word does, but Google Drive Document is more basic and lacks a few necessary functions.

–> Create your Letterhead as a Word doc first – when you’re done, save it as a template to easily reuse

–> FIRST PAGE:

In the header, place your firm’s logo, tagline & QR code

– In the footer, enter your firm’s business address, phone & web URL – format these slightly smaller & lighter in color so they look different than the letter’s body text and don’t distract the reader’s eye

– In the body text at the bottom of the page, enter your signature line with your name, title, cell & email – if you’re really active on LinkedIn add your public profile URL

– Never use or include clipart – it screams homemade and while this is DIY, you want it to look as professional as possible

–> SECOND PAGE:

– Just below your signature line – Insert a Section Break / Next Page, this creates your second page

Change the header on this second page to have only your logo – deleting the QR code & tagline – also re-size your logo and/or move it so there’s an obvious visual difference between the first page and this, your second

– Change the footer on this second page to have only your tagline and insert page numbering

–> Save your letterhead as a Word doc and then save it as a template

Flier or Sales Sheet

I haven’t printed hard copy fliers or sales sheets for the last five years. Now I only email PDFs and it saves money, time and allows me to customize content on the fly.

Create your flier in Microsoft Word, then Save as PDF, or Save & Send as PDF by email directly from within Word.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Don’t use Microsoft’s pre-made templates for Fliers – they scream homemade

–> Never use clipart

–> Include your firm’s logo, tagline & QR code at the top of the sheet

–> Place design elements in the header, they can extend down below the header and won’t get in your way while you write your text

–> Keep design elements simple and fading into the background – if the images are too busy you’ve lost the reader’s attention, or worse, made them sick in the process

–> Use at most 3 font types: 1 for headings, 1 for body text and 1 for call outs or your Call to Action – you can use these 3 fonts in larger/smaller sizes, but too many font types will scream amateur

–> Near the bottom of the flier add your Call to Action – format it in larger font size and color

–> At the bottom of the flier add your contact info, and where to find you on social media

Slideshow Deck

I admit I’m a Microsoft adherent so I’m very strong in PowerPoint, but there is Keynote for Macs, and other slideshow software. So for you non-Microsofts, thanks for your forebearance.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Read the 12 Tips for Great Presentations

–> Don’t use Microsoft’s sample templates – they scream homemade

–> Never use clipart

–> Create a PowerPoint template by customizing the Slide Master

–> In Slide Master, customize the design of a Title (1st slide), Agenda, New Section & Content slides

–> Stick to light, or white, background colors – dark backgrounds with light text, though legible, can tire customers’ eyes over the course of a presentation

–> Use only 2 font types: 1 for headings, 1 for body text

–> Keep body text font size no smaller than 20-22 points & title text font size no larger than 44-48 points – this is a slight departure from Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule, but it’s close enough

–> Use images correctly: i.e. create an Image Attribution slide at the end to thank Creative Common images you’ve used or use images in the Public Domain, or free to use images on the web

–> Use text sparingly – Seth Godin says never more than 6 words on a slide, and I agree

Email signature line

You include some signature on every email. Make that signature do some work for you.

Again, as a Microsoft customer, I’m describing Outlook but the ideas work with other email services or apps too.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> In Outlook, create and save a primary, default signature with pre-formatted text, links & images

–> Don’t use a scripty font (cursive or curly) – stick to business type fonts

–> In the signature, below your name, title, company – include a tagline, small image, award, or Call to Action (I add text about my free Sales Plan & ebook with a link)

–> Add your social media links with/without images

–> Don’t over do the signature line content – less is more so work hard to make it more like poetry than a law textbook

–> For non-HTML friendly email clients, create a second signature without the links and images – sometimes links will cause an email to get caught in a corporate spam filter & sometimes the images cause a clutter, i.e. replying to a Basecamp email

Logo

Unless it’s your company, there’s not much you can do about your firm’s logo. So, here’s some survival tips for working with what you do have.

TIPS & TRICKS:

–> Ask the designer that created your firm’s logo for file types you can use in Microsoft Office

–> Ask for a high resolution tif, png, or jpg – any other file types (indd, psd, etc.) will require a different application and that opens another can of worms

–> Seek a logo with a transparent background, that’s a png file type – you can lay it over background images

–> Avoid using your firm’s logo from the web site – unless that’s all you have access to

–> Seek a black and white logo as well as a color – there will be those instances when you’ll need black and white

–> Don’t overly re-size the logo – if you notice any pixilation or blurring after re-sizing a logo, take it back down until it looks sharp around the edges

–> Don’t re-size disproportionately – keep the proper ratio of height to width – in Microsoft Office, hold down the SHIFT key while dragging a corner handle to make the logo larger or smaller

Summary

That’s what a DIY Emergency Sales Kit looks like. Hopefully you won’t need it but if you do, you can now take a cut at doing it yourself. Good luck.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin Benom December 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

Great advice. Thank you.

Chris Arlen December 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Martin,

Agree, and here’s hoping 2014 will not need any DIY Emergency Sales Kits.

Happy New Year.
Chris Arlen

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