LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! Produce Your Own TV Commercial

I’ve watched TV commercials for all the years I’ve been in the liquidation business often wondering, what would a commercial for us be like?
The fantasies never lasted - how could I ever afford it? 

But now, I’m greeted at the door of a new estate appointment by a star-struck client who watched our Infomercial online saying, “You’re the guy from TV!” 

The Internet is the new TV.

And it’s FREE!

For every sale we do in Portland, there can be 40 others the same weekend.

In Chicago, more than 100! 

With one or two sales per week, we’re working all we can, but we’re still not getting most of the business. You’re a Marketing Professional! You should be driven by the idea that every job is yours to turn down. 

You can afford broadcast video ads. You can’t afford to lose business.

Let video make you a star!

Start small by sharing a memory. What’s a favorite compliment you’ve received? We all have a special story we’ve told to friends, customers, and potential clients. Tell it one more time - and ask a friend to hold the camera. It’s easy!

Then ramp it up by producing a commercial that targets business you want. Do you only want high end properties? Do you “specialize in hoarders?” -and don’t we all want a good personality match with our clients? 
Want clients who want you.

Because you’re the expert. Maybe not at video production, but at delivering this service-based product. You are an expert at knowing what makes a client happy at the end by helping to identify goals and reach them. Use your commercial as a first step to delivering your expertise, or as a follow-up to phone and email inquiries.

How long should your commercial be? As long as it needs to be! 
That turned out to be 13 minutes for us. Clients are investigating a service for the first time. They want an image of how we do it. I want them to get answers which will not only save time on the phone and in person but also make such a strong impression that it eliminates the interest in contacting anyone else. We know from network and cable television that viewers are glued to related programs of 30 and 60 minutes long every day!  Our target is someone who has no knowledge of our service, but is now in desperate need to learn about it. If I made a 30 minute video and kept it engaging and informative… they would watch it for 30 minutes!

Answer all those questions in advance by following the format of your Mission Statement which answers Who you are, What you do, How you do it, and Who you do it for. Answer their questions right and expect shorter phone calls!
“I saw your YouTube video.  I’m calling to book an appointment.”
Wouldn’t that be a nice call to get? 

So invest time in your script. Address the important questions people ask! Identify with your viewer and the challenges they face, but keep it short. One second of video is a long time!

  • Edit, condense and have a plan. Let nothing be “organic.” 
  • Feature the talents of your team - their experience, enthusiasm, creativity, curiosity, and longevity. Don’t expect anyone to act
  • BE REAL - no glamour shots! 
  • Be likable.  
  • Be admirable. .
  • Show that you work [hard] for a living and that what we do is so much more than a commission rate.
  • DON’T use the video to throw your competitors under the bus.  Why suggest there ARE competitors?
  • Don’t confuse selling with shopping - focus on how your process meets the needs of the CLIENT and not the customer.
  • Remember, it’s the Internet, so no guns, no dead animals, and nobody up on a ladder if you don’t have worker’s comp!  
  • Please, promise me you’ll fight the temptation to include testimonials. It’s too obvious, and the on-line review sites are littered with them. Build confidence and trust in your brand. Show them what you do, don’t tell them. A prospect needs to like YOU. This is your time to shine - not a past client’s.  
  • Don’t create any reason for the viewer to change the channel. Our business addresses many different situations, so illustrate as many as you can.  Showing only “grandma’s house after she passed” could alienate “we’re moving to Japan.”

This is a goal-oriented project. Commit to your script and don’t look back! Imagine the shots as part of your script, then shoot what you need. Don’t try to make something unplanned fit in. Your script becomes a checklist and it must have a beginning and an end - or you’ll never know when you’re done!

Prepare to promote your new commercial while you’re making it! Build an email list of leads you haven’t booked yet, realtors and estate attorneys; be ready to email links to business partners like your liability insurance company, and ask “this is what we do - am I properly covered?” Blooper reels on Facebook and twitter are great teasers along the way, and you can design new print ads that now invite readers to view and share the video rather than call or visit a website. Have direct mail postcards ready that double as take-aways from your sales. Our Video Release Party was fun! But most important, it was pre-planned with a date on the calendar.  Whether we got that last perfect shot or not, we were forced to finish on time.  Posted is more important than perfect!

YouTube and Facebook are DIFFERENT. YouTube is a wonderful library of content. 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute making it crowded and noisy!
Facebook, however, is making a significant investment in video now. Their newsfeed algorithm is placing a huge weight on video and applying it to an enormous amount of targetable consumer data.  You search for subjects on YouTube. But if “estate sale” is in title or content of your video, Facebook will put it in front of people with an interest in estate sales! 
They may be different, but both are important.  Upload your commercial to each – natively.

Visit your website? 
That’s what everyone else is doing. Step it up and separate yourself from the herd.
Don’t just be competitive.  
Find the video camera on your phone.  
You’ll have FUN while becoming HIGHLY COMPETITIVE!

Here’s a link to our YouTube channel: PEERLESS Estate Sales, LLC


By Gary Newton

PEERLESS Estate Sales, Portland OR