After selling over 250 products on national television with somewhere around 1,000 hours of live on-camera time and 10 times that amount within the studio, I’ve seen a few things. I’ve watched trends come and go, I’ve seen big celebrities who were expected to sell huge amounts of product absolutely bomb and seen the little guy who had passion become the next big thing. I’ve seen monstrous network initiatives costing ridiculous money plummet to doom within a few hours and seen the same network pivot to throw its weight behind success that snuck up on them from the most unpredictable place. How can this happen? Because of the foundational element for the sales of any product or success of any show or event: Relationship.
As human beings, we are highly relational creatures. It is the give and take with the people around us that rules our emotions, thoughts, desires and decisions. We are designed to seek companionship in life, whether in a spouse, a friend, in family or a goldfish. Every psychologically sound person desires relationship of some sort. In my world, that relationship means everything. A product presentation is exactly that…a short-term relationship. In a very short time, the viewer must find you likable, believable, trustworthy, warm and attractive. Each person who watched you should be willing to invite you to dinner.
I once shared a series of dressing rooms with a monstrous celebrity. I’m talking super-celebrity, here. I was told that if she approached, I should divert my eyes. She did not like anyone looking at her. Really? Maybe she had too many bad experiences and now carried fear of others. I don’t know. But, I do know this. When she stepped in front of the camera, she was aloof, distant and cold. The network had invested huge money creating a custom set for her and coordinating all their best efforts on her behalf. Her sales were terrible. Why? Because not one person watching her would have wanted to have her across their dinner table. No relationship was established with her viewer. She kept everyone at a distance. The network had the clout it was seeking through affiliation with that celebrity, but at the expense of sales and relationship with their customer.
The point is this: No matter how big your name is, no matter how accomplished you might be in other arenas, no matter how fancy your backdrop is or how great your product is, if you do not establish a warm, authentic relationship with your customer, you will fail. Not every person can do this…especially in a television studio setting…talking to a lens is not like talking to a real person. Those who are good at it are very few and are highly sought after. I have seen newscasters, sports reporters, game show hosts, music television hosts and others with deep on-camera experience be outsold 10 to 1 by the housewife who steps on retail TV as a side-job. It is all about relationship.
by: Cory Bergeron
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