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Playing the Game of TV Sales

Sunday,Feb 02,2014

As a product vendor, television sales is not for the feint of heart. It takes a willingness to stare fiercely up the mountain you are about to climb and muster all your will and stamina to see it through. It might take you to a breathtaking vista…it might leave you panting in the mud. Like a school girl looking at magazines of super-stars and imagining that will be her some day, many unseasoned vendors have the same assumption about TV sales. “They have what it takes. Their product does amazing sales on Amazon or the small brick/mortar stores it has found its way into. It is a sure thing. It will rock on TV!” These are the impressions of someone who has never walked the path. Deciding whether your product is right for TV is a delicate choice based on factors that have little to do with its success elsewhere. The retail television viewer has a different mentality toward buying. They are not walking to the aisle of their choice, considering the options for as long as they like, reading the labels and asking their spouse before returning to the store to buy. Instead, they are immediately deciding if they want a product they probably hadn’t planned on seeing and are hoping to have their spouse’s endorsement after-the-fact. That is not to say that regular TV shoppers are under-informed, impulse-driven, reckless credit-wielding shopaholics, as yesteryear comic strips would have us believe. TV shoppers are some of the best informed shoppers on Earth. Within a single month they choose to be exposed to more product options spanning more categories at a wider spectrum of prices than most other people would care to cram into their brains in a decade! My point is that their motivations, decision process and buying environment is far afield from other shopping methods…and it changes everything for the vendor. Even the culture of the shopping channel itself comes into play. A product on one channel can sell like crazy while dying on another. I have seen it over and over again: vendors rubbing their brows in frustration. “This did so well on the other channel. Why are we doing so poorly here?” The number of considerations can be staggering and it must be viewed as a gamble. You cannot consider a single hand or a single night at the tables. Instead, you must play different games with different bets and count your winnings at the end of the fiscal quarter too see if you are up or down. You must win the war, not every battle (although you give it your best every time!). If you want to see some of the sure-fire ways to measure your products potential TV-sales success, you can reference my series of blogs entitled “Is Your Product Right for Television” at Another huge resource is to consult a seasoned product sales rep who makes a living selling products into shopping channels or to infomercial investors. They get paid on commission for what sells. If they were bad at their job, they wouldn’t have a career. Their wisdom is invaluable! Regardless of your approach, if you are new to TV sales, temper your expectations and approach with reality, find yourself a mentor who knows the business and be ready to play the game. In a multitude of ways, it is not the same one you have played before!


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