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Bart Wilson

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Quick. Name this product: "Set it and forget it!" I think we can learn a lot about sales from infomercials. But first, look at what they are up against. Now, I’m sure they have done market research that tells them who their buyer is, and they advertise on channels that reach that demographic, but they don’t truly know who will be watching. With all of the choices on TV they have to captivate their audience quickly so that they can deliver their message. The customer can’t touch, smell, hear, or demo their products. Imagine trying to sell a car like that! So how do they do it? Ron Popeil (Ronco) has generated 2 billion dollars in sales by infomercial. How does Ronco get people to drop $160 on a product they have never touched? I think these are some of the keys to an infomercial. First, I see a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Some of the commercials accomplish this by yelling at you. (I don’t recommend this with your customers.) Others do it with a studio audience that claps on cue. When you watch these you see the passion the have for their product. Imagine an infomercial hosted by Ben Stein (Bueller, Bueller…). Also, infomercials are all about benefit. Now, because they are delivering a message to the masses, they must touch on everything their product does. It cuts through a tin can and a tomato. Look at all it will do. But wait, there’s more. The benefits help create the need. How can you live without it? Third, look at when they talk price. There are four basic buyer’s questions. 1. What is it? 2. How does it work? 3. What will it do for me? 4. How much does it cost? These infomercials make sure the first three questions are answered before moving on to the fourth. Not many people would watch if they said, “This is our new vacuum and it costs $300. Now here is how it works.” Also, on price, they rarely mention how much it is. They always reduce to the ridiculous and break it up into “4 easy payments of”. It’s a good lesson for any professional sales person. To sell you must build value before you talk price. You build value in communicating the BENEFITS to the user. Once they perceive the benefits the price discussion becomes much more meaningful for all.

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