“Advertising isn’t a science.  It’s persuasion.
And persuasion is an art.”
— Bill Bernbach

Every telephone order, website order, or purchase by mail from a buyer is a direct signal that the commercial created an emotional response within the buyer and the “offer” fulfilled a need.  This points to the fact that most impulse decisions to buy from television are based on an emotional response which motivates the viewer to take action.  The “trigger” buying decision usually comes as a result of a combination of selling factors.  The buyer makes the decision to order usually because the product or service was presented in such a compelling fashion that the buyer felt it would fulfill a specific need or want.

The most common mistake that I observe when analyzing unsuccessful DRTV commercials is that they fail to really sell.  When DRTV spots focus on only a few of these key selling elements or utilize only a few of the “Principles of Influence” or only a few of the “basics of selling”, they are often doomed to failure.  In order to SELL consistently, a results-oriented commercial must utilize as many of these “Basics of Selling” elements as possible.  In the case of the half hour Infomercial, every one of the 21 Basics of Selling should be employed or expressed.  Use the following as a checklist as you consider “what’s missing” in your sales presentation.


  1. Grab the attention of the viewer (“grabber”) and sustain interest throughout commercial.
  2. Identify and attract the Primary Target Market (develop rapport and “resonance” with the potential buyer of your product).
  3. Express a common problem that the target market can relate to (create a need), (tell the truth).
  4. Provide the Product or Service as the Solution to the problem (fulfill a need).
  5. Compare Product and its benefits to other products that fail to meet the needs of the target market (use Before & After comparison graphics or pictures when possible).
  6. Demonstrate Product - show and tell how it works (make it simple and easy to use).
  7. Clearly expresses the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and other benefits and features.
  8. Offer something free, either in the copy (something of perceived value) risk free opportunity— or offer a free gift (bonuses). 
  9. Overcome skepticism or other objections. (Provide in advance credibility and confidence for the buyer).
  10. Create a perceived value greater than the price (eliminate any price resistance).
  11. Create a sense of urgency or scarcity—use logical and emotional reasons why the viewer has to act now (“Gotta have it now!”).
  12. Create an emotional response (resonance) in the future owner of the product through the combination of images, voice, words, music, testimonials, announcer voice-over copy, and celebrity endorsement (when appropriate).
  13. Use trustworthy or authoritative spokespersons (create a sense of trust).
  14. Use real people testimonials that the Primary Target Audience will identify with.
  15. Use the “great motivators” (greed, desire, fear--sometimes shame or guilt).
  16. Use compelling and persuasive copy (NLP or Hypnotic Selling Messages) use selling words in a visual context.
  17. Use appropriate music and visual effects to generate an emotional (“yes”) response.
  18. Create “The Nodding Effect”, whereby the viewer has to agree with the copy.
  19. Use professional “sales closing techniques” throughout the presentation. (rhetorical statements, tie-downs and compliance request)
  20. Offer a money back guarantee and a “risk-free opportunity”.
  21. Ask for the order.  Ask for Action NOW

“Call Now 1-800 -  How to Profit from Direct Response Television Advertising”  Copyright 2006  Rodney H. Buchser

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