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How to Master the On-Air Sell – Part One

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Selling a product on live television is not for the faint of heart.   You’ve got multiple screens to watch, a producer directing you through an ear piece, customer call-ins, a host firing off questions, models and live demos.  And no, you don’t get to practice first.

When I was on-air, QVC had about 3,000 vendors and launched 14,000 new products a year (that’s probably doubled by now!).  Guess how many failed?  80%!  So that means for every 10 new products, only two got a second airing. There is no magic formula and even large, established brands still struggle.  But here are three expert tips for QVC selling that are certain to improve your product’s on-air success:

  1. Uniqueness. This can come in the form of the component, formula, product application – you name it!  It’s your chance to make your product sound like nothing else in the market, so make sure you have a clear hook.  Added bonus – in some cases, QVC will protect your category if you are the first to sell it successfully.  Even when mineral makeup was the hottest thing in beauty, Bare Minerals was the only brand QVC allowed to sell it on-air.
  2. Demonstrability.  A product can truly come to life through a great demo.  I’ll never forget host Lisa Robertson showing how to create a cat eye with a new Smashbox liner pen.  So get creative and if possible, develop a technique that is signature to your brand.  Bare Minerals had their mantra:  Swirl – Tap – Buff.  It was not only memorable, but it simplified a rather complicated application process.
  3. Before & After.  This is where the magic needs to happen –  if you are selling a beauty product, this is hands down your greatest opportunity to make a sale.  To the viewer, these look relatively straight forward, but they are actually highly strategized.  I would conduct multiple model castings (sometimes the prettiest girl isn’t who you want to hire – you want someone who you can transform with makeup) and work with a professional makeup artist to prepare the girls before going on air – you don’t want a blemish or dark circles distracting from the effect of your product.  Sometimes I even developed product with the B&A in mind – a compact with a great concealer/highlighter/color combo can completely transform the face.  And it’s best show your strongest B&A first  – that way the host can continue to refer back to it during the sell.

Check back soon for more expert tips on QVC selling. Make the most of your product claims, testimonials and more! – C.M.




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