Millions of people tune into ABC’s “Shark Tank” every Friday night to see fearless entrepreneurs face the five “sharks” head-on. Although the show is meant to be entertaining, for many it’s a learning opportunity about how to pitch an idea or business to investors or clients. What has “Shark Tank” taught us about the art of the pitch? Here are some of the most valuable lessons:
Practice makes perfect.
One of the most successful pitches of all time was made by Aaron Krause, the inventor of Scrub Daddy. To prepare for his appearance on the show, Krause says he practiced over and over again in front of people so he could learn how to feed off of his audience and make the pitch more engaging. The result? One of the “sharks,” Daymond John, said the pitch was so well done that it was “like watching a live infomercial.”
Understand your audience.
People skills play a huge role in successfully negotiating. To master the negotiation, you have to understand the other party’s personality so you know what approach to take. For example, Mark Cuban has a dominant personality and therefore comes off as impatient because he is so eager to get to the bottom line of the pitch. This type of personality focuses on results, not emotion, so you need to adjust your pitch to get him on board. If you don’t understand who you’re pitching to, you won’t be able to tailor the pitch to appeal to your audience.
See also: 6 Tips to Augment Sales and Prospecting
Control the conversation.
Some entrepreneurs in the “tank” become flustered or overwhelmed by the questions or comments thrown out by the “sharks,” but don’t let this happen to you during a pitch. It’s up to you to control the conversation to achieve the outcome you desire. If things start getting out of hand, speak with a firm voice and make it clear you will only answer one question at a time.
To learn more about how you can succeed as a startup or small business, take a look at this infographic: