Contributed Column

Marketing 101

Sell Like You’re on QVC

by Christine Miller, Miller Consulting LLC

As a career salesperson, I love dealing with good salespeople and watching the process. With that said, I am fascinated by QVC. Launched in 1986, the Westchester, Pa., channel broadcasts live, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except Christmas). It offers approximately 600,000 products annually and averages 15,000 orders an hour. QVC (stands for Quality, Value, Convenience) is a $7.5 billion-a-year company and has a sales rate of $6,000 a minute! Now that’s some sales numbers that get my attention. 

Most people tune into QVC and watch, credit card in hand, ready to jump on the phone or log onto the site to make a purchase. I, on the other hand, love watching the selling. The hosts of the show engage every sales tool to transform casual watchers to impulsive buyers. 

Here’s how they do it (and you can do it too!).

  • Ability to describe the product quickly and succinctly. A QVC product is given six to seven minutes of airtime. In order to generate sales, you need to be able to describe your product quickly and effectively. Imagine you were given the opportunity to present your business to thousands of potential customers in a very short time. What would you do? Practice, practice, practice! Pretend every sales opportunity is a QVC show. Know your product, and look polished. Whether on QVC or face-to-face, rambling is a waste of time, and wasted time is a wasted sales opportunity.
  • Features vs. benefits. On QVC you will learn about every detail of a product, but you’ll also learn how you can benefit from those features. In fact, little did you know how much easier, cleaner, happier, more stylish, thinner, etc., you’d be, if only you had this “thing.”
  • Testimonials. I love hearing from Annabelle in Georgia who has bought and loved the product. She can personally share how the item has changed her life. What a clever way to work in product endorsements. If she can afford it, use it, and love it, so can we.
  • Frequency. As consumers we may be interested in a product, but need constant prodding in order to take action. In the marketing world we call that frequency. The higher the frequency message, the more likely we are to buy. QVC repeats its advertising message over and over again, in a short amount of time. It has a higher ad frequency rate in one product broadcast than most full-fledged ad campaigns.
  • Call to action. Every good ad needs a call to action. QVC creates a sense of urgency and call to action by having limited-time offers and showing you that product is running low. Call now or you may not get the color, style, or amount that you want.
  • Pricing. Take something that’s a little large in one sum and break it down into EZ payments. Suddenly that $120 purchase seems affordable at only $20 a month. Don’t highlight the full purchase price, highlight the low monthly payment. (Also include a call to action saying that EZ pay won’t be available next time you see the product for sale.)
  • Create repeat customers. It’s much easier to generate revenue from existing customers than to create new ones, right? QVC knows this and packages many of its products on auto-delivery. At the initial sale it sells you more, creating a long-term customer at the first sale.

Look at your sales process. Do you incorporate all the above tactics when selling a customer? How can you sell more like QVC? Watch it and learn. Try not to buy something. I dare you!

Christine Miller is president of Miller Consulting LLC, which helps small businesses identify, qualify, develop, and close targeted sales leads, and helps organizations find more value in existing relationships. She can be reached at chris@millersalesconsulting.com.

Index of Contributed Columns

For information on submitting a contributed column see here.