Is your Business missing a Master Catalogue?

(How to know and 3 reasons to fix this mistake)

First, main definitions:

A master catalogue is a document which shows an overview of ALL your product collections.

A sub-catalogue is a document which gives details about ONE of your product collections.

If you have 2 or more types of product collections, you NEED a Master Catalogue.

Imagine that you sell:

Furniture and fabrics. 

Or, Furniture, fabrics and hardware.

Or, Furniture, fabrics, hardware and lamps.

In all these three cases, you need a document that showcases ALL your collections– so that a “new” customer who is just looking, gets inspired by your expertise and range, and grasps in one look, all that you are capable of doing for him. 

What happens when you don’t have a master catalogue?

Let’s take an example.

Imagine that you have 10 different product collections.
You’ve split these into 10 sub-catalogues (1 for each collection).

There are two kinds of paths this can take:

Path 1:

  • Your customers ask you for a particular Collection A, and you give them A. 
  • That means, you’ve LOST the opportunity to show them B, C, D…
  • (If you still send B, C and D in the email, in most cases it will sound pushy.… unless you’ve nailed how to give too much information, without distracting the customer from his main ask.)

Conclusion:

Giving only what’s asked for, is a straightforward approach, but also a lost opportunity to tell ‘the full story’ to your customers. Most of them will not have the patience to get information out of you, email by email, and they will simply drop off if they don’t get the full picture easily.

Path 2:

  • Your customers ask you for a ‘general overview’ of your collections.

  • You give them all 10 sub-catalogues as different attachments.

  • Seems very smart and organized for you, but a total mess for them. Overwhelming, and NOT graceful.

  • Maybe they open two of your attachments, but the rest are lost forever. And so is their interest.

It’s like you walking into a restaurant where the waiter gives you a different menu book- ONE EACH for the main course, starter, drink, soup, salad, specials and dessert. Imagine being handed over these 7 books to choose from.

Oops. You’re not going back there again.

Instead, imagine a standard restaurant situation.

You walk in. You don’t know what to order.

The waiter gives you ONE menu.

Everything is listed in that ONE menu, and you choose to ‘skip to the Main Course section’.

You don’t find anything interesting there.

But, you do like the picture of the dish in the Specials section

You order that.

You also see things that you don’t order, but make a mental note for a friend.

You see the Restaurant’s Founding Story and glance through it. You see in bold letters that they have set up 20 branches across the world since 1956. ‘Wow, classic place, you think in your mind. They must be good’.

You see a supplementary section which says ‘new drinks at the bar- request waiter for menu’, and you get excited. You order the bar menu.

You either order a drink or you don’t. 

Either way, the main goal of you getting to the food section, navigating easily, and ordering a dish is achieved.

You didn’t have to ask questions like, ‘Where is the main course? Which menu do I look at first?’

The food menu even tempted you enough to browse through the bar menu.

Conclusion:

  • You got a glimpse of ALL the things the restaurant offered- In Food as well as Drinks, Dessert and others.

  • You got an interesting short story of their Founding.

  • You found a reason to recommend the restaurant to a friend.

This is an analogy between a Restaurant Menu and your Master Catalogue.

How?

1. When visitors are first coming to your website or store, they want to see an overview of what they can get. 

(They want ONE menu)

2. When they see one collection they may be interested in, they’d like to skip to its details.

(they want to see the Main Course)

3. They don’t find a product in that collection, but they go to another collection, and order from there.

(they order a dish from the Specials instead of the Main Course).

4. They also see a third product collection. So they ask you for its sub-catalogue.

(the bar menu)

5. They see a good fit in it and order something from there even though they are not planning on it.

(the drink from the bar menu)

6. Oh, and while browsing, they see your Founding Story and touching reviews from other customers. They build a trustworthy impression of you.

(social proof)

7. They also see a fourth collection- 

Products which their friend might like. 

8. So they send her pictures of the Master Catalogue, and voila, the friend sends you an enquiry. 

(word of mouth marketing)

… And that’s how you sold a product, with an accessory product, and also generated a second lead with no extra effort.

That’s the power of the Master Catalogue.

To summarize:

A Master Catalogue is a must-have for businesses with different product collections. 

It helps you close more deals and helps you win more customers by:

1. Giving an overview of your business to clients.

So your client can see all your variety and all your capabilities, in one flip-through.

2. Highlighting your main products.

So your client knows your expertise and why he should select only YOU for his work.

3. It positions you in the market.

  • Your Master Catalogue is a “Sales Call compiled in a PDF”. It gives a brief idea of competition (without naming anyone) and why someone should choose you over others. 
  • It gives your business story, your brand message. If you write it right, it helps customers perceive you as professional, branded and premium.

BONUS INSIGHT:

When done right, the Master Catalogue becomes the bible of different questions your customer has, and answers them even before they ask the question aloud. 

It is The One PDF of confidence which answers a range of questions, from ‘What does your business do?’ and ‘What sizes are these available in?’, to ‘What makes your business different?’ and ‘What’s your warranty policy?’ 

Once your customers receive this document, they are sure to be confident about your brand, regard it in high esteem, and come back ONLY to you when they are ready to invest in that product for their needs.

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ABOUT ME:

I help businesses close more deals by optimizing & premiumizing their catalogues & website. I can help you create an editable Master Catalogue for your business, or compile all your documents into ONE showcase. Click below to view my portfolio:

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