Ready for Anything

Use This Infomercial Secret to Supercharge Your Product Pitch

Guest Writer
VP of Sales at Salesforce
4 min read
This story originally appeared on Salesforce

I love watching infomercials! There, I said it. I just love them. Really!

I find it fascinating how infomercials can make normal, everyday products like kitchen knives, blenders and vacuums seem like the solution to world peace. I also love seeing how carefully orchestrated dialogue, animations and quirky demonstrations come together in blissful simplicity to build a compelling business case (or at least a perceived case) in just a few minutes.

As a sales professional, though, what I especially love is how infomercials magically overcome a buyer’s inertial resistance (i.e. propensity to sit there and do nothing) and move them to buy. One minute it’s 2 am and you’re lying in bed, watching an infomercial, about to fall asleep; the next minute a Magic Bullet is being express-shipped to your door! While often captivating, repetitive, and a bit schlocky, there’s a lot that any sales professional can learn from infomercials about pitching a product.

Related: Here Is the One Question You Need to Ask Your Sales Team

Regardless of what product is being pitched, the approach itself is often formulaic, leading the viewer through a series of simple, easily agreeable arguments that culminate in a solution-centric call to action.

Before we dive into examples, let’s first look at a simple, four-step codified breakdown for a typical informercial pitch:

  1. Here’s a problem with what you’re doing today
  2. Here’s the ideal solution to that problem
  3. Here’s what makes the solution difficult or less desirable 
  4. Here’s how our product makes it easier

For example, the breakdown of fruit juicer informercial might look like this:

  1. Eating too many processed foods is destroying your health
  2. The solution is to eat more fresh fruits and juices
  3. The problem with typical juicers is that they're too large, time-consuming to use, expensive, hard to clean, etc.
  4. Our awesome, compact, easy-to-clean, and affordable juice machine is what you need!

 Or how about home workout DVDs or fitness equipment:

  1. You want to lose weight and get in shape. right?
  2. The solution is going to the gym and working out regularly
  3. The problem is that you don’t have time to go and gym memberships are expensive
  4. What you need is our awesome, cost-effective, home workout DVD/machine.

From a classical sales perspective, this pitch formula is so effective because at each stage, your audience is taking small, incremental steps towards your solution. These steps are rooted in both universal truths and emotion — nothing jarring, no big leaps of faith required. More specifically, the infomercial code would break down like this:

  1. Illustrating the pain (sometimes latent or hidden pain) associated with your current state (i.e. universal pains that are easy to internalize)
  2. Outlining an aspirational/desired future state and the path to get there ( in many cases, one the audience is already aware of and agrees with)
  3. Highlighting the risk or uncertainty associated with that path (i.e. framing the need for a better solution)
  4. Suggesting a simpler, alternative solution to mitigate or circumvent that risk (i.e. your product)

Related: 4 Ways to Cut Down on the Hidden Costs of Sales

OK, so jumping back into the world of technology, using this formula to pitch, say, a mobile productivity app to a sales leader might look something like this:

  1. Your sales team is losing business because they don’t have the key customer/product information they need when they’re selling on the road
  2. The solution is getting them mobile access to your back-office database so they can access key data from anywhere
  3. The problem is that creating a custom app and connecting it to your back-office is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive
  4. The good news is that we have an amazing mobile connector framework that allows a non-technical business user to do the same thing in a fraction of the time.

Now give it a try with your product!

Using the infomercial approach makes it easier for your customers and prospects to understand what you do and the specific value you add — which, ideally, ultimately convinces them to buy. On top of that, using the infomercial pitch structure will help your sales team ramp up faster, internalize your value proposition, and even articulate it without slides or demos.

So the next time you find yourself lying awake in bed at 2AM, struggling to put together your sales pitch, simply turn on your TV and tune in to the secret formula you’ve been looking for.

Related: This Sales Secret Can Help You Conquer Aggressive Negotiators

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.