Can YOU sell on Television?True Confessions

I have to admit a guilty pleasure: I love infomercials. Actually it’s worse than that. I love junk mail, too. I even love those live demos at the home show where they sell overpriced pots, pans, knives, and miracle window cleaning fluid. I enjoy listening to every one of those pitches.  Why? Because every one of them is a lesson in selling.

Actually I love marketing and selling. I’ve been marketing and selling something all my life. Every time I sit through a sales presentation and allow myself to feel the magic of a great performance work inside my brain convincing me I desperately need the very gadget they are selling, I am taking mental notes on what really works… and what doesn’t. There are a lot of smart, subtle techniques that work great, and you can pick them out if you are listening for them. Can you guess what some of those are?

It’s true, I buy stuff from infomercials. I buy things I want and MOST of the time, I am glad I did.

Here are a few of my favorite purchases;

Those all have been worthwhile additions to my life, and I wouldn’t have known about them if it weren’t for infomercials. I’ve had a few duds as well, most of them inexpensive products like the egg poacher or the multi-chopper, both pretty much worthless.

Here’s the Real Truth.

I enjoy them because I love the pitch. I learn what professional pitch men do and how they do it. I have used what I’ve learned from these people in my own work to great success. I am going to summarize a few of the best ideas I’ve seen while watching infomercials.

Focus on a problem people suffer from and how much it hurts. Put your prospect in pain first and then show them the way out.

Emphasize how your prospect will feel after they own your product.

Create an incredible value, make it a time sensitive offer.

But wait… There’s more!

The policeman catches thiefThe criminal mistakes most infomercial companies make

 After everything it takes to get a fantastic product on the air, being pitched by a top-notch salesman, after filling a warehouse with inventory and after spending all that money on TV, what mistakes are made that costs them a fortune?

1. They ignore you.

2. They don’t ask for testimonials.

The most powerful selling technique, one that works for almost any type of sale, is the testimonial. Yet, not one of those companies I bought from asked me for one. Why not? We all have smart phones and could easily post a comment or upload a video. Even a contest for the best testimonial story with a small prize would create hundreds or thousands of video testimonials… all free.

3. They only use one medium.

What about the internet? I haven’t seen any of these marketers run banners or post to facebook while airing their infomercials. Maybe they do now, but I’ve never seen one. Take advantage of multiple impressions and stack ads together for maximum density and impact.

4. They “Improve” the product and kill it.

This one drives me crazy. I loved the original product and years later I want another one but unfortunately, it’s been “improved” and now it stinks! Take a look at the Amazon Reviews for the “new” Ginsu knife written by those who owned and loved the original. These reviewers tell the story. The manufacturers of the VitaMix did the same thing; The gleaming stainless steel kitchen trophy is now made from cheap plastic.  The simple lesson here: If it works, don’t fix it.

The Ultimate Competition

In every selling situation you confront the hidden fears and secret desires of your prospect. What infomercials teach is how to systematically break down those fears by making the pain intense enough that the viewer will want to alleviate it exactly as prescribed by the expert sales pitch. This is the art, the science and the craft of a perfectly orchestrated pitch. How can you take a page from the best pitchmen in the business? Weave compelling stories that entice your reader to stay with you, don’t sell as much as educate, above all induce your prospect to act by clearly showing what they will gain by owning what you sell. That’s your art and craft, mine too!

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