How to Prepare for QVC
In the previous blog post – Your Product on QVC? – described 5 key elements to consider whether or not your product is a fit to be on QVC.
In this follow up post – How to Prepare for QVC – I’ll address some specific ways I got prepared to present successfully on QVC. More specifically, these are things I did so that during my few minutes on QVC, I would articulate clearly, succinctly, and memorably the key selling points of my product.
To prepare, it is helpful to know what to expect at QVC for the day you first go on air. QVC will expect you to arrive at the studio in West Chester, PA approximately 2 hours prior to your air time. About 1 hour before the air time block begins, the host will meet very briefly with you and each of the other vendors on during her segment (typical segments are about two hours – for example midnight to 2 am).
You will have only about 2 minutes to speak with the host and tell her (or him) about any key points she should know about your “sell.” You will spend most of the rest of your time waiting in the “green room” where TVs show live presentations that are on air and there are computers what show what the sell rate of each item is (very valuable information) in real time.
But long before you arrive at the studio, you should prepare very studiously for your airing. Below are things I think you absolutely should do to prepare to be on air:
1. Watch a LOT of QVC!
2. Think through questions the host might ask about your product – and the best answers
3. Prepare a “2 minute” pitch for your product
Why is it important to watch a lot of QVC? If you do, you will gradually pick up on a lot of small cues that occur between the host and the guest (vendors like you). For example, the guest will always look at the host when she asks questions, not at the TV viewers. But, the guest, when asked to describe what is unique about the product, will turn and face away from the host and towards the cameras to show viewers what is unique. Also, listen for what I call the “phrase that pays” – things to say that grab the viewers' interest or attention. I noticed that experienced guests would almost always say early in their presentation “it is great to be BACK on QVC again.” This can greatly increase sales as the viewers feel the product must be quite successful if the guest is returning – so don’t miss that opportunity.
2 – is just a great plan for any television media presentation: prepare for the unexpected. The host may view your product differently than you and ask what seems like a dumb question (but one viewers might wonder), so try to think about anything that could come up and what your response might be.
3 is crucially important. If you do watch a lot of QVC, you will soon notice that the host does most of the talking, not the guest. You will not have 5 minutes, really, you will have only about 2 minutes, right after the host says, “so what is unique about your product?” Think of this as the starting gun at a 100 yard dash, you must think and act quickly. I carefully honed my presentation and memorized it (yes, I committed it to memory). Then I practiced it over and over and cut words here and phrases there until it came in under 2 minutes. Before I went on air, I had a less than 2 minute pitch that included 3 different demos done very quickly and I could add a 4th at the end of the segment if the opportunity was there. Do this well, and you may sell a lot of product, do it poorly and you will be “one and done” on QVC – something you don’t want to happen.