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Being scared, but doing it anyway!
Appearing on a national shopping channel, viewed by thousands of people and talking expertly about hedgehog homes was not on the bucket list of “must do’s” for NOA’s MD Neil Osment. In fact, it seemed so far out of his comfort zone as to be little more than a spec on the horizon.
But by employing some of the coaching techniques he uses with NOA clients, Neil got through the experience and learnt a fair few things along the way.
In this article he writes about what he learned, and how his experience can be applied to businesses across the globe.
First, I’d like to give you a bit of background about how I ended up presenting on QVC.
In my coaching capacity, I have supported a fantastic Gloucestershire-based business called Wildlife World for over seven years. Wildlife World designs and manufactures homes, habitats and feeders for birds, insects and animals – including hedgehogs. My coaching support was initially semi-funded through two government schemes, one via the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the other through the Growth Accelerator programme.
I have continued my association with the company, and a few years ago spotted a revenue stream opportunity which seemed to have untapped potential for Wildlife World: the QVC shopping channel. In one year, the wildlife company had turned over several thousands of pounds on QVC, but then the connection with the organisation appeared to have been lost. Was there scope for getting back in with this shopping channel giant?
As it turns out, it was surprisingly straightforward to organise a meeting with, and pitch to, the QVC buying team. They were happy to renew their association with Wildlife World, and put their products on the channel. The catch? They always need an ‘expert’ to talk alongside the main presenter – and they wanted that expert to be me!
After passing a screentest, and having some very comprehensive and intensive training, the big day soon dawned. Was I nervous? Yes. Did I think I might dry up? Definitely. Was I scared? You bet! But I found confidence in the fact that I was taking my own advice and had used my trusted coaching techniques to give myself the best possible chance of success.
Coaching for success
As a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) trained practitioner, these are the coaching methods I drew upon to help me prepare for the TV show:
- Future pace yourself: in short, this means imagining the event, feeling you are there and pacing (literally if necessary) through it so you anticipate eventualities and possible curveballs that might come at you. It’s practise, but with a large dose of anticipation, planning and the feeling of really being there all added in together.
- Timeline: think about the endgame (in my case, being on TV) and work backwards, through a timeline to help create a strategy of how to succeed at each stage as you work your way to the event.
- Modelling: really understand and get to know what you are contending with. For me, that meant hours of watching QVC presenters and working out their craft; not with a desire to copy them, but to adopt best practice and take on board what was ‘good’ about those performances.
Did it work? It’s quite hard to assess your own performance but I know that I enjoyed it (even if only after the event, and on reflection!) The production team gave me some immediate feedback, saying I was “very good” and had done “very well”. I have been back since to promote and sell Wildlife World products, and by the measure that QVC shopping channel uses (£’s/minute generated when on air) the show generated top quartile results. Great feedback.
Messages to take away, and apply to your businesses:
- Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone
- Be brave
- Do something different
Albert Einstein is often credited with saying:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
By doing something different, being brave and stepping out of your comfort zone, you may be delighted with the results.
For Wildlife World, QVC is now providing a new (or rediscovered) revenue stream, which is having a significant impact on the company’s sales figures.
Your business may not have a product that is a right fit for QVC, but through coaching you could discover other ways to increase sales, power up your profits and improve your personal performance.
If you’ve not yet experienced coaching – or you’ve yet to experience effective and transformational coaching – in your business, please get in touch with me, Neil Osment, MD of NOA and now (officially) an experienced TV presenter!