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How to Pitch Direct Response TV Buyers

The prospect of huge sales figures on HSN might be alluring, but getting there takes hard work.
May 7, 2010

There are many entrepreneurs, business owners and inventors that have made huge sums of money selling their products on direct response TV--from QVC to HSN.

Needless to say, only a few products are viable for TV sales, but many eligible candidates get rejected for wholly avoidable reasons. In this hyper-competitive environment where many people are chasing few opportunities, there are specific things you can do to greatly improve your odds of getting picked to sell your product on TV.

Consider Your Product
First, does your product fit into the key criteria that the buyers look for in a new product submission? Is it easily demonstrated on camera? Does it solve a problem? Is it unique enough and not in the mass market yet? Is there perceived value? What other products made it on the DRTV medium of your choice, and why?

Doing your homework is a huge part of your success later on. Remember, luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Study the programs you're looking to pitch your product to--what do they offer, what types of products do they feature, what are their benefits, listen to their testimonials.

Consider Your Presentation
Once you determine which of your product offerings is right for TV you need to put together the right package. The presentation is extremely important. Sometimes buyers will only give you only a few minutes to convince them that your product is worth looking into more. One way to move buyers is to prove your product has an audience built in already, before it goes on air. Has it sold successfully in other markets like Fortune 500 companies, the promotional products industry or others?

Also the use of testimonials in your presentation--to show how your product has solved problems and provided value--always helps.

Lastly, if your product has already been featured in other media it's a good idea to include that in your presentation. I struggled through two years of rejection before getting my product on QVC. One of the shows that helped get my product featured was when the hit HGTV show I Want That finally featured one of my products. The clip from that show was then used as part of my QVC presentation.

Consider Your Supply Chain and QC Standards
Close the sale by backing up your pitch with action and follow through. Buyers need to know you can deliver on what you promised. Late shipments can cost you thousands and buyers need to know your manufacturer (and therefore product) is reliable.

Passing the quality assurance tests and having a manufacturing partner with a positive track record is critical.

Recently I interviewed AJ Khubani, who founded TeleBrands Corporation in 1983 on a "shoestring" with his life-savings of $20,000. Today, TeleBrands is a thriving hundred million dollar marketing giant well known for such hit products as the Jupiter Jack PediPaws and Windshield Wonder.

Here are some key strategies AJ Khubani recommends to keep in mind when preparing your product and sales pitch:

You may have heard the saying, "Failing isn't falling as long as you don't fail to get back up..." Well, I added this ".with more intelligent action". It takes research, patience and perseverance to get picked up by a TV buyer. Sometimes you'll need to make adjustments to the product offering, the presentation or our supplier chain. The question you have to ask yourself is; is it worth it?