Part of the motivation for being a physician entrepreneur has been to mentally occupy an utterly different brain space. As an experience junkie, the novelty of making a device, learning about manufacturing and marketing, and experiencing PR stimulates me. While I presented Buzzy4PainRelief on Shark Tank primarily to raise awareness of iatrogenic needle fear in public health, I can be honest – how cool is having a hair and makeup trailer next to the sound stage where they
filmed Wizard of Oz?
So when my husband met someone on a plane who recommended selling on QVC, my first thought was “infomercial”, and my second, “This is a serious medical device. I’m not putting it on QVC.” I made the connections anyway, and — while skeptical– followed through with the process, jumped through the hoops, and was accepted. From academia to on-air personality! Today I went to my official “Guest Training” in preparation for a March 3rd slot…. And I was shocked.
They’re kind of awesome. I mean, the entire process and philosophy. First, it’s taken over three years for Buzzy to be approved, mostly because the legal department wouldn’t approve any medical claims without FDA clearance. Despite the independent scientific papers showing Buzzy reduces pain for needle procedures, until the FDA blessed it with a 510K, QVC wasn’t going to bite.
QVC reiterated in training that they have spent years building personal relationships between their hosts and their viewers. They pushed the “anti-sell” – what WON’T your product do? Be honest! Be transparent! Don’t overstate anything! I was so pleasantly surprised by their corporate philosophy – it fit into medical integrity perfectly. There was no winking, no “go ahead and lean into your claims a bit” – not at all. They know their audience expects to be told exactly what they’re going to get. For QVC, the worst case scenario is someone who overcomes their squeamishness about buying on TV only to be disappointed.
The other amazing part about the QVC training was the training itself. All of it, start to finish. The adult learning paradigm was superb. We were required to watch a 90 minute video before attending class– I wish medical training were like this. The online segment had compare/contrast videos that weren’t cheesy, with immediate follow up questions that weren’t easy. Instead, they let you answer as many times as you needed to get a right answer and always said “100%!” so you felt good about what you had learned (even if you missed the right answer three times).
In real life, the process was much the same. We first were asked questions about the online training, both to reinforce and see who really watched it. A second trainer showed more compare/contrast videos that really emphasized their points – honesty, how is this going to help the person buying it, how can we make this relevant to their lives? Then we went to the sound stage to practice with cameras.
I’m not going to lie. A triple-wide fake living room with 100 lights above and a big jib (camera on a long metal arm) able to swing around and focus on you is SO BOSS! Plus, walking through the storeroom leading to the stage was like visiting the biggest, cleanest garage sale in history. Look at those shoes! Check out that grill! What a cool power cord! You need a bed to display your new fiberfill comforter? Let’s roll one right in!
Everyone got to watch everyone else do one minute on camera, talking about their product and learning how to switch from watching the host to watching the camera (and not staring down watching the monitor looking like a doofus.) After that, everyone got to practice on camera twice for a longer period, then went over the experience one on one with a caring mentor. “You might try this. Maybe do that a little earlier.” Can you imagine a mock code simulation like this?
Over all, there was a strong emphasis of “we’ve built a caring relationship with someone who wants to see two people on TV having a conversation about neat things that might make their lives better. Don’t mess it up.”
I feel like learned how to teach people better, how to relate to customers/patients better, and how to value people’s lives with a humility of “what works for YOU”. LIVE on March 12 0700 – 0900 on QVC. I’ll post again with how the REAL experience goes!