How to Hook ‘Em

As many may know, ABC has a real hit on its hands with The Shark Tank! The stars are a ruthless, shrewd collection of diverse, self-made millionaires who judge, qualify, and either select or ‘de-select’ budding entrepreneurs for further investment. If you haven’t watched it, you will either love it or hate it.

Regardless, I caught the tail end of an episode the other night and I thought a few of the key points were quite salient for any/all of us in ‘sales’…….and lets face it: who isn’t in sales in one form or another? The episode was focusing on how to capture the sharks attention AND close the deal. I made note of a few of the highlights, and decided to write a blog about them with my version of ‘what works’.

To keep it simple and straightforward, this synopsis consists of 8 initial questions one must answer relative to each step, to get past ‘GO’ and HOPEFULLY collect your $200.00 or $200,000.00!

Step 1:  Have a compelling pitch.

What are you selling? Why and Who cares? What makes you and this product/service different? Who is your competition – and how do you ‘trump’ them? What need are you filling? What desire are you squelching? Why you? Why now?

Step 2: Know your stuff…..particularly the facts, figures, and data.

How much money have you made so far, i.e. what is your revenue stream? How much profit comes from that top line revenue number? How are you getting your product to market? What is your price per item? What percentage of that is profit? How do you plan to scale? What do you see your greatest challenges to be at this stage- and what do you recommend to fix it? What do you want from us  – and why?

Step 3: First impressions count.

How are you showing up….do you look and act successful? Are you confident? Do you act confident? (Not with false bravado and arrogance….with authentic knowledge of who you are and security that what you have to offer is of value.) Are you respectful? Are you dressed appropriately? Are you calm, cool, and collected? Are you well-spoken? Do you look them in the eye – personally and sincerely?

Step 4: Raw, controlled, passionate enthusiasm.

Are you real? Do you LOVE what you are doing? Do you LOVE the product/service you are representing? Do you believe your offering is the ‘bees knees’ and will knock their socks off…..really?!!  Do you engage the sharks like real people….and possible consumers? Are you meeting them where THEY are (not where you are)…i.e.: are you engaging them like the investors they are? Are you bubbling over… a contained, professional way? (remember: energy begets energy….and enthusiasm SELLS.) Are you happy to be there?

These four steps guarantee nothing.

However, what I know for sure, is that if we don’t hit each of these steps with all we have; we will never make it to 2nd base…..much less make a home run. Sure, there are at least a hundred more points of advice to offer in order to get that second round of funding, secure the non-profit donor in order for you to ‘break ground’ on the new facility, or to close the first multi-million dollar deal in a new account…..for whatever the sale is we are trying to make. Yet, those bits need to be developed and  strategically customized for the sale. These four steps are simply the basic blocks to get the door opened. 

Whatever profession we are in….software startup, non-profit organization, charter school system, or volunteer effort…..these steps are the constants. Period.