The perfect business card will not win you new accounts. It might look better than any other business card your dream client has even seen, but it will not do enough by itself to create any real value for them, nor will it define you as the right business partner. There is little reason to obsess over your business card.
No one has met a person who really wants your four-color glossy sales brochure. That person does not exist. What does your sales collateral really do for your prospective client other than cure their insomnia or give them something to throw away later? If you expect a brochure to help you displace your competitor, you are going to be disappointed.
There aren’t many people who love a good slide deck as much as I do. My main deck has hundreds of slides, all of them professionally designed. I want the concepts to be clear and compelling, so I in invest in making sure that this is true. The deck, however, supports a conversation, a dialogue. As good as a deck may be, it cannot do your selling for you. It is only there to support you with visuals, nothing else.
Design matters a great deal when it comes to proposals. The presentation of the idea is enhanced by great design and excellent graphics. It shows an attention to detail, and it helps to prove that you are buttoned up and professional. It will not, however, win a deal for you. The work you do leading up to the presentation of the proposal is going to outweigh any design aesthetics, as nice as they are. The content of the proposal, the solution if you will, is more important than the design.
For most of my life, I have walked into sales meetings with nothing more than a legal pad and a pen, believing everything else is a gimmick at best, a distraction at worst. The intangibles, like your business acumen, your situational knowledge, your rapport skills, your ability to shape a compelling future vision, and your ability to help people produce better results count for far more than your business card, your brochures and sales sheets, your slide deck, or your proposal.
There is no tangible substitute that eliminates the need to develop the intangibles.
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