The "Used Car Salesman" Memo. Do you agree?
I found an interesting article online from “pagesix” in May. It details how after the merger, the hosts and many regular guests of HSN received an email memo from an exec at HSN telling them to “stop presenting items like a used car salesmen with false claims, if they do, etc”, and it apparently infuriated many of them. I’ll try to link to it below if links work here, but in general you can search online for “HSN stars livid over exec’s ‘condescending and disrespectful email” from pagesix and it will pull the article up. After reading I’m curious if anyone agrees with it.
I realize there are many more women than men who shop on HSN/QVC, but I do have to chime in. I’m a geek so pay MUCH more attention to the electonics and gadget presentations than many might. Over time, I have heard many false claims made by a number of items (computers, cell phones, tech in general, etc). Sometimes I think it’s the host simply not learning much on the product and winging it – but when they have the tech expert co-hosts on, I have caught some of them blatantly lying about things before. It’s a real turn-off and yes, could be described as a used car salesman type of atmosphere. I have actually logged in during a live presentation to comment and fix inaccurate claims during a show just so I know some people will have accurate info on an item I’m familiar with.
Anyway, my point is that this could explain why some of the sellers you all are talking about may no longer be there. Some may have been dropped, but perhaps after that memo went out some of them got angry and simply left. I don’t really think I’ve seen many product sales people lie outright (at least not a lot)… it’s always the hosts or the tech experts cohosts. Just wondered what people thought about it. Link to that article I was talking about: HSN Hosts and Guests angry…
I have a few points to make with regard to this article.
Yes, hosts and vendors have been known to exaggerate when it comes to some items, just like they do in brick and mortar stores. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
The items given to hosts to try at home and in the studio are the top of the line as far as quality, color, durability, etc. What the customer receives is a whole different matter. If Colleen says a Tanzanite ring is deep blue, it probably is because she received an excellent prototype. The vendor in turn sold much lesser quality to the consumer.
As far as hosts leaving, it’s all in the numbers or sales brought in or the new Powers That Be want to appeal to a different demographic.
Colleen has been one of my favorite hosts, but she too has embellished. I ordered a tanzanite ring after she gushed about how beautiful the color was. It was an oval tanzanite surrounded by banquette diamonds. When I got it home, the color was very light, almost like a lilac color, so back it went. Later, I found out that the cameras use filters to enhance the color of the stones. I was a little disappointed in Colleen and HSN.
It’s about time hosts and vendors are called out. In addition to Colleen, I’ve always liked Bill, Lynn, and Connie. I was sad to see Connie leave. These four, in my opinion, have been the most genuine.
Well… they still do it. As I said, being a guy I guess I focus more on the tech stuff, but I catch quite a bit of that “used car salesman” stuff even now going on.
Example: HSN sells a lot of prepaid “Tracfone” phones. Now, for people who don’t live on cell phones who want one just to have one for emergencies and occasional use, these are not a bad deal. They’re basic, cheap versions of Android phones that come with pre-installed minutes, etc. Fine. Just say that… they’re basic, do the basics, not for people who are HEAVY phone users, etc. But then, the tech rep (usually Lori) and Host will get on there with a $79 phone, and say things like, “This will do EVERYTHING that $1,000 phone out there will do….”. Well now… c’mon. BIG play on words. Ok.. will it make calls and texts and take photos? Sure. But will it do it nearly as WELL as the more expensive phones? No. They still have so-so screens, mediocre cameras, etc. It’s a $79 phone – period. And does not compare to something more expensive – period. But the wording used throughout many of their presentations for these would make the less tech-savy assume they’re better than they are. Again – they ARE a good value for the price – but should not be compared to things costing 10X more.
They tend to do the same with laptops. Low-end, slow processors, low amount of RAM, and they’ll use words like “powerhouse” on them, etc. They use the buzz word “It has a HD screen”, but the average person doesn’t realize that technically, “HD” is just 720p (low res)… if they don’t say “it has a TRUE HD 1080p screen”… it’s not HD by today’s standards we think of, etc. So typically, for around $599 you’ll get a laptop that’s being described as wonderful, but it has a slow processor, low component ratio, etc etc. That same dollar amount at a warehouse membership store will get you a laptop with a 3X better processor, 2-3 times the RAM, and a true 1080p screen, etc.
Anyway – those are just two examples, but similar things happen when I hear them describing electronics in general even today. It does turn me off because I think of all of the people out there who are not tech savy why are getting less than they should for the price with embellished presentations.
This article was published well over a year ago. According to The Tampa Bay Times (12/2018), Gordie was fired for insubordination among other reasons. He has since filed a lawsuit stating he was owed overtime pay and “ he was treated differently than his white counterparts as one of the few African Americans who worked at the company during his tenure June 2016 – May 2018.”
It appears that a vendor also complained.
One guest (assume a vendor), who’s been on the channel for 10 years, responded, “I am still in shock,” adding, “I can assure you that I know my product very well, as I am about to celebrate my 25th year in business.”
Another replied to the email seen by Page Six, “Gordie we have not met but I must tell you in the 25 years in business I never received nor have even seen a note as condescending and disrespectful as this.”
Some of the hosts and vendors do annoy me I just don’t watch them.
Fascinating article. Thank you for alerting us to it. I can see how this would be a hurtful memo for a long time host to receive. Sales is a high pressure career and some hosts may have sometimes overyhyped a product but even if this is the case, there are far better ways to get this message across than this condescending and insulting memo.
I totally agree.
They have a few Snake Oil Sales People.
That is why I like Bill. He did not con people. Also, Bill always provided details about the products he presented.
I just read the article you posted, thanks. It sounds like Colleen Lopez responded to the email. She is their highest paid and sales grossing host, so I’m sure she was insulted. I do think some of the hosts exaggerate about products, especially beauty products. I think HSN will eventually disappear anyway.
Posted in Talk Among Yourselves
09.19.19 5:07 PM