Amy Morrison, an on-air television host for HSN, started her sales career selling chemicals and paints. But she truly learned how to sell from her father, who made sales without a physical product. She describes him as “the ultimate salesman.”
“He took a company public on an idea, not having an actual product,” Morrison says. “That really helped me with my job. It taught me how to sell without the product.”
In Morrison's current line of sales, it's essential to create a clear vision for the customers. “I bring products to life and inform customers what it's going to be,” she says.
Because she is unable to physically show customers a product in person, it's imperative that she understands them and creates a true connection. For Morrison, that entails putting herself “on the couch” with the customer and being aware of what's going on in the customer's world and the outside world, she says. Her goal is “to get the customer away from the everyday hustle and bustle and relate to her and how she feels.”
Morrison's system is straightforward for someone who's preparing to go on live television for between two and four hours. The number one element in her routine is to drink a lot of coffee. Number two is preparation.
It's also important for a salesperson to clear his or her mind from everything and focus on getting the customers to relax, Morrison says. Once they're in a relatively calm and eased state of mind, avenues open for simulating a friendship between salesperson and client. Giving honest commentary “like you're one of her girlfriends” is crucial, Morrison says. “They're more apt to buy from a friend than a stranger.”
It's not just the customer that needs to relax, though. One of the larger challenges for Morrison is keeping her cool when working with celebrities, such as Keith Urban or Mariah Carey, she says.
Even though lifestyle and shopping habits fluctuate, Morrison has identified two general types of audiences who watch St. Petersburg-based HSN. The company, with $3.58 billion in revenues last year, has multiple sales divisions that include TV, online, mobile, catalogs and retail stores. Type one customers are those who are watching but not fully listening. Type two customers listen but are likely doing something else and not watching. To be successful on TV, Morrison says she must sell to both groups.
Morrison was seemingly destined for a career with HSN. While giving a presentation at a Procter & Gamble meeting more than 10 years ago, a member in attendance told Morrison she reminded her of the HSN hosts. A video application and three auditions later, Morrison was hired, in 2005.
Now being on-air for a decade, Morrison says it's easy to get think you're doing everything the right way or there's nothing else to learn. To avoid that, she watches a lot of tape of herself and is highly self-critical. She also learns from others, particularly inventor and fellow HSN salesperson Joy Mangano. “She is so incredibly dedicated and she can sell anything to anyone,” Morrison says.
Morrison adds that, much like any sales job, there is no substitute for just doing it. “Being on TV is like a fine wine,” she says. “The longer you've been doing it, the better you get.”
One single trait won't make a salesperson effective, HSN host Amy Morrison says. “There's a lot that goes into a soup that makes the soup taste good,” she adds. Here are four traits Morrison says are necessary for success in sales:
Attitude. Stay relaxed and maintain a happy composure.
Dedication. Are you really behind the product you're trying to sell?
Accessibility: It's the salesperson's responsibility to guide the customer to a well-informed decision.
Communication: Lack of communication and understanding the customer can be a big problem.
Follow Steven Benna on Twitter @steve_benna