Young Upstarts

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How To Create A Great Sell Sheet

As an entrepreneur, you’ve created a product that you can be proud of. Unlike wannabe entrepreneurs, you took an idea from concept and executed it into a tangible item that you can sell. You’re already several steps ahead of entrepreneurs who managed to fail. Now that you’ve made a couple dollars selling your product, you might want to take that traction in another direction. Logically, the next steps you might be considering is getting your product into stores. And one factor in that equation is creating a sell sheet.

A sell sheet is a document that’s just a page or two and contains all the information about a product that a decision-maker needs. This powerful sales sheet can be delivered my mail or by hand, and they’re a great tool for getting your product into stores.

Before you begin approaching distributors and retailers, it’s important to think about what’s the right approach for you. For instance, as a small local company, you might use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the differences and similarities between separate vendors. You’ll use your diagram to hone in on companies you want to target with your sell sheet. Once you get started, here are a few tips for creating a great sell sheet:

Include All the Essentials.

There are several components to a great sell sheet, and it’s important that you cover all your bases. Any person who receives your sell sheet should have all the information they need to know about your product. Here’s a few things you should include:

  • Multiple product illustrations and/or photos (if your product is still in prototype phase, be sure to hire a professional designer to create a high-quality rendering)
  • A short, snappy description
  • Information on where the product can be purchased
  • Any documentation that could be highlight the benefits and the appeal of the product, such as any patents you might have
  • Contact details
  • A call to action that describes the next steps for interested recipients

Tailor It.

Every sell sheet you create should be customized to match the retailer or distributor you’re pitching. Sometimes, the tweaks you’ll need to make will be minor, but nevertheless, it goes a long way towards attracting potential retailers.

There are also several different purposes for a sell sheet. For instance, you can use it as marketing material (such as a handoff at a conference or event), and even send it off to publications for your PR strategy. Regardless of how you plan to use it, everything should be tailored to suit the publication you’re sending it to, the event you’re attending, or the retailers you’re interested in pitching. Model the layout of your one-sheeter to match the aesthetic of the company or magazine you’re trying to attract. This includes typography, color, and graphic style.

Keep It Simple.

Sell sheets aren’t meant to be overcomplicated; the simpler, the better. After all, these sheets are just an easy way of you showcasing the benefit of your product in a compelling way. If you have a sell sheet with a description that’s several paragraphs, the chances of capturing attention are slim to none. Use a standard 8×11 piece of paper, and communicate your intentions quickly and efficiently.

Take a Look at Other Sell Sheets.

One of the best things you can do to avoid some opportunity-losing mistakes is to take a look at how other sell sheets are being made—especially in your industry. How are similar brands marketing their products? What type of persuasive copy are they using? What colors? How is the product being portrayed? These are things you should be paying special attention to.

Once you start opening your eyes and paying attention, you’ll notice that sell sheets are all around you—and they exist in many different forms. For example, you’ll find them in magazines or on social media.  Take a look at this example of a sell sheet to give you a clear idea, but don’t forget to look at other sell sheets in your industry.

Highlight the Primary Benefit.

What is the biggest benefit of your product? You’ll need a one-line benefit statement that explains why your customers would want to purchase it. If the benefit isn’t compelling and straight-forward, people aren’t going to want to know more. According to Stephen Key, the cofounder of InventRight, “A good one-sentence benefit statement will do the selling for you. Don’t feel like you have to cram in as much information as possible. It’s not supposed to be thorough. In fact, it allows you to get to the point quickly. Everyone appreciates that.”

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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