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How to Master the On-Air Sell – (Part 2)

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As we stated here, selling a product on live television is no walk in the park – unless the park is a circus and you’re doing the juggling act.

In Part 1, we outlined three key factors that contribute to a product’s on-air success: Uniqueness, Demonstrability and the Before & After.   Today we’ll look at three more:

Claims.  QVC carefully monitors what is said on-air and many brands make the mistake of not taking claims seriously enough. All claims must be approved by legal and approval can be a very lengthy process.  I learned early on that the legal team can be a great resource, but they won’t do the job for you.  You have to work smart to figure out creative and credible ways to say what you want to say.

The reality is that claim substantiation starts with your product development. If you want to position your brand or product a certain way on-air, you must be sure that you can substantiate that positioning through your product attributes.  That  may take the form of third party clinical tests or being able to prove that  your product contains a specific active at the clinically tested level.  Do your research early – you want powerful claims that will help differentiate and define your product’s unique story.

Testimonials.  Over 25 years ago QVC pioneered the testimonial call (or t-call).  QVC operators pick these callers at random from the telephone sales queue – they are not pre-planned.  That means that while these calls can sometimes go off-the-rails or even turn negative, they can also result in the kind of heartfelt, unscripted personal endorsement that leads to an immediate sell-out.

As a spokesperson, I was always a little uneasy about the unpredictable nature of t-calls.  I learned that the key is to resist the urge to jump in and redirect  or correct the caller.  Let the host handle that.  Your job is to listen, be gracious and answer their questions respectfully.  Let the sales spike happen organically – trust me, it will.

Exclusives.  QVC loves exclusives and you should too. Audiences (and hosts!) love the selling power of product intro’s like “Available here only,” “For the first time ever,” “Never before seen” and “Worldwide exclusive.” Clearly, phrases like these will elicit maximum excitement and interest in your product.

Exclusives can take the form of specialty products or special product configurations (like QVC’s Today’s Special Value).  Use them as a selling tool and don’t underestimate their power!

Although there are plenty of rules, the on-air sell is truly more of an art than a science, and the orchestration of multiple moving parts can mean the difference between a sellout and a flop.

Check back soon for more updates – we love sharing tips for on-air success!






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