I recently had an opportunity to meet Kevin Harrington at the EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) meeting in Buffalo.
In 1984, Mr. Harrington produced one of the industry’s first 30 minute infomercials. Since then, he has helped produce over 500 product launches with over $4 Billion in global sales. Mr. Harrington was also selected as an investor “Shark” on the ABC television series the Shark Tank.
During his presentation, Kevin Harrington shared with us his infomercial journey which started with meeting Arnold Morris at the Philadelphia home show. Arnold was cutting a Coke can and then cutting paper-thin slices of a tomato with the Amazing Ginsu Knife. Mr. Morris became the first-ever infomercial spokesperson and the Ginsu knife became the first-ever infomercial product.
He then went back to other home shows and found Billy Mays transforming him into the incredible infomercial pitchman marketing such memorable products as OxiClean, Kaboom, and the Dual Saw. One of the most compelling slides Mr. Harrington shared with the audience was the “10 Thing to Look for in a Product.”
In sharing the top 10 things to look for in a product with you, I will outline the attribute and then my take on the attribute.
10 Thing to Look for in a Product
1. Does it solve a problem?
My take: All products and services must solve a problem for the buyer or there would be no need to be fulfilled.
2. Does it have unique features?
My take: Unique features provide the foundation of the UPS (Unique Selling Proposition) which will help your prospect choose your product or service over the competition. Basically, these are the features that separate your offering from the crowd.
3. Is there a magical demo?
My take: Here is where the 30-minute infomercial format excels. The marketers take the primary unique feature and drive it home with amazing product demonstrations for the majority of the 30-minute infomercial. How can you take your product or service, laser focus a demonstration, and make it easy for your prospects to understand exactly why the must have your offering?
4. Can you easily explain how it works?
My take: A critical part of the magic demo is to boil the uniqueness of the product down to a simple elevator pitch. How can you simplify your message to an easy to understand 30-second elevator pitch? I have been a member of BNI (Business Networking International) for over 8 years. One of the most useful elements of BNI is the 60-second message. The system helps thousands of business owners solidify and refine their message every day.
5. Are there proven results? Before and After?
My take: If your product or service has a unique feature, you can demonstrate before and after photos or stories. I work with a roofing company. One of the early things we did was to develop an ad that shows old dilapidated shingles and then shows a crew installing new shingles. Use your imagination and develop a simple before and after example. In my case, I will often show a graph (without numbers to protect confidentiality) of a revenue or profit trend before coaching and continue the trend after coaching to show the marked improvement.
6. Is it credible? Are there studies or testimonials?
My take: If you have a product that can be backed by clinical trials or a solid market research study, fantastic, use it! Most businesses are not so fortunate so the next best thing is a simple survey of your existing clients using a tool like Survey Monkey. The other major source of credibility is testimonials from your most satisfied clients.
7. Can you answer the question the viewer (or prospect) is thinking?
My take: This can be a little tricky. Imagine that you are your best prospect. What are you looking for? Just because your product or service excels in one area that does not mean your best prospects will care. Figure out what your best prospects care about and then position your product to meet that need.
8. Is there a magical transformation?
My take: Combining the unique features with solid before and after examples and fantastic testimonials will provide a magical transformation where your product or service will answer the primary question that your best prospects have about your product or service.
9. Is it multifunctional?
My take: I want you to think like your competitor now. If you were faced with competing against your product, how would you crush it? How could you make more money by offering a product with more features for the same or less money? If you don’t cannibalize your own product, someone else will.
10. Is there a powerful offer and price?
My take: But wait, there’s more. Now I’m going to double the offer. Ok, the infomercial approach is a little, no, a lot over the top for most products and services. So why do infomercial marketers insist on using these obnoxious closing tactics? They work. These companies have an instant feedback mechanism. The offer either works and the company makes millions or it flops. You probably do not need to go to the infomercial extreme, but what is your killer offer? By successfully pairing an amazing offer with the above nine attributes, you will succeed.