Attendees of Myers Barnes’ New Home Sales University take home a list of closing strategies used by the masters of selling anything, QVC. One of the largest multi-media retailers in the world, QVC’s success is attributed, in large part, to its on-air hosts and guests, who demonstrate the products, explain their features and benefits, and build rapport with the customers. Sound familiar? No wonder Barnes thought QVC’s strategies might be helpful to new-home sales associates.
To learn more about its winning strategy, Builder talked to QVC home décor expert, author—and former builder and new-home sales associate—Sharon Hanby-Robie. Her role at QVC is as an on-air guest, a resident expert who joins the regularly scheduled hosts when a home décor product comes up for sale.
Builder:What’s the sales philosophy of QVC?
Hanby-Robie: We don’t force a sale. We take a friendly, backyard fence approach. We’re your friends. The whole point is to make people feel they’re watching their friends talk about a product.
Builder:What does QVC look for in an on-air host or guest?
Hanby-Robie: QVC only wants people who can be passionate about their products. If you don’t have energy, no one will get excited. And we are all about integrity. We never, never oversell. We want to undersell so people’s expectations are exceeded when they receive the product.
Builder:Do you and the host work from a script?
Hanby-Robie: No. One of the “do nots” is do not give the host a script. Really, it’s a conversation. It doesn’t matter where the conversation goes as long as you know the product.
Builder:But you’re not just winging it, are you?
Hanby-Robie: Of course not. Preparation is critical. If a customer calls in with a question, you want to be ready for it. We meet with the host before every show to discuss the top-selling features. I know one guest who spends four hours preparing for an eight-minute segment.
Builder:How do you create urgency?
Hanby-Robie: There’s always a call to action. We’ll let people know as we’re getting limited in certain styles or colors. But it’s always about integrity. We don’t do countdowns just to do them.
Builder:QVC hosts and guests are great storytellers. How does that help sell your products?
Hanby-Robie: People are always interested in stories. If we have a story we can tell in 30 seconds or less that makes sense and relates to the product, we use it.
Builder:How do you make use of customer testimonials?
Hanby-Robie: Testimonial calls are huge. We had one the other night. We just sat there and let her talk. Then, the product sold itself. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Builder:What advice would you have for new-home sales associates?
Hanby-Robie: Don’t be salespeople. Be the next-door neighbor, but not their best friend because that’s presumptuous. Never exaggerate or oversell. People should have an opportunity to know what they get for their money. If you know the product, that knowledge and passion will come through naturally.