Shark Tank is legendary for the sharks’ personalities, the on-air humbling of would-be entrepreneurs just a little too big for their britches, and of course the on-air deals that make millions for all involved. The best pitches, like this one, identify the problem and solution in just a few sentences, but the pitch alone isn’t everything. The pitchers who are most effective—whether making a deal on set or building a business when they leave it—demonstrate the following principles.
Five principles from the Shark Tank
Despite identifying a myriad of issues with the product, Barbara Corcoran invested in a line of swimsuits, not because the business was perfect, but because one of the entrepreneurial hopefuls told a compelling story. The story wasn’t about the swimsuits or about business at all—it was all about love and persistence. It demonstrated some of the qualities that make a good businessperson. Watching it all play out, it seems clear story was the kicker in striking the deal. Being able to communicate your business quickly and effectively is a plus, whether you’re on the proverbial elevator or in a room full of potential investors, but in many cases, the real product is you and your story.
Poise under pressure pays dividends
Watch how this one goes down. Entrepreneur Jeremy Brandt quickly gets four nos for his “Hire Santa” business. Had this elf buckled under pressure when all but Mr. Wonderful declined, he wouldn’t have been in position to negotiate and get the deal he wanted…and with a shark who had already bowed out. Barbara Corcoran—Brandt’s first pick—said she didn’t feel there was room for an investor in his business. Still, after Brandt confidently negotiated with Mr. Wonderful and Daymond John, she swooped in at the end and offered him the deal he really wanted. He was clearly prepared to negotiate and his poise paid off.
No doesn’t mean never
Check out the story of Doorbot/Ring. Every shark passed on investing in the product. These are the pros. There’s never an easier time to give up than when the so-called experts decline involvement. And yet the Doorbot became Ring and went on to become a booming product in the booming business of home security. A no doesn’t always mean it’s over. To bring in another example, JK Rowling got “loads of rejections” before finally landing her Harry Potter franchise with Bloomsbury. Persistence pays off. A “no” may simply mean it’s not the right time or the right team, but not necessarily that it’s not the right product.
Humility is better than the best product
In the same video (above) at minute 1:30, Copa Di Vino’s owner James Martin brings wine by the cup—along with a whole lot of attitude—onto the show. Not just once, but twice. While every shark liked the product, nobody liked the man behind it. He admittedly came back the second time simply to gloat. He smugly sipped wine while playing coy with offers from the sharks. It was very off-putting. The old adage that people want to do business with people like they like is true. Each shark groaned at the thought of doing with business with him. Barbara Corcoran said, “He would’ve ruined our lives.” No matter how great your product or service, it behooves you not to be a total pain in the ass.
Do your due diligence
This is probably the least glamorous part of the whole thing (which is why it happens off-air) but even after striking a deal, the sharks do their research before putting their signatures on anything. They research entrepreneurs’ claims thoroughly and do their due diligence before moving forward. You better believe they also make sure business dealings are clean, worker classification is airtight, etc. This stuff—the unsexy, totally-necessary detail stuff about doing business? This is PayReel’s bread and butter. We know the laws and rules so clients can get back to doing what they do best.