According to Scott Salyers, Shark Tank’s supervising casting producer for NBC, he has traveled a lot around the country listening to thousands of business pitches from businesspersons and aspiring entrepreneurs. Eventually, he makes the decision on whether an aspiring entrepreneur secures an opportunity to pitch to business moguls and Shark investors Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, and Lori Greiner.
In 2013, 40,000 applied, but only 180 managed to be on the show. “This clearly indicates that the competition is tight and any aspiring entrepreneur has to up his/her game to be featured on the show,” said Issa Asad, Florida entrepreneur and businessman since 1996. Mr. Asad is currently the CEO of 2 companies located in South Florida, including Q Link Wireless and Quadrant Holdings.
We recently learned about Scott Salyers’ behind-the-scenes tips on how to make it on the Shark Tank Show, including some of the key things he looks for in a business pitch. Below are Salyers’ 4 tips for getting your business on Shark Tank.
1. Showcase Your Personality
No matter how great your idea is, if Salyers thinks your pitch is lousy and you can’t perform well before the cameras, he will dismiss it immediately even if it could be the next Uber. He says he’s passed on a number of now-super successful businesses because they couldn’t sell themselves and their idea or product well. The Sharks are known to invest in the person behind the product, not just the product alone. So your background, enthusiasm, and presentation style are just as critical as the product you are pitching.
2. Be Courageous and Very Bold
This is closely related to the previous point: If you are shy and would agree with anything the Sharks propose, you won’t make it to the show. You should be very strong-willed about your opinion and can go head-to-head with the Sharks without feeling intimidated by them. Having confidence that borders on arrogance is a great start. All the Sharks are in the position they are in today because they had strong personal opinions and refused to follow what everybody else was doing or wanted to do.
3. Prepare a Short and Touching Personal Story
Salyers will always interrupt pitches and ask about the entrepreneur’s background or how he or she got into it. Having a compelling narrative rooted in captivating personal details on how your business was born will add a human touch to your business pitch and enhance your credibility. For instance, if you come up with a story about a business idea targeting mothers and you have raised so many children yourself, your story will resonate with most Sharks, as it would portray that you deeply understand the market.
4. Differentiate Yourself From the Competition
The Shark Tank producers see tens of thousands of sales pitches each year, which is okay, but entrepreneurs should be upfront about their competition. Saying, “Nothing like this has ever been made before,” yet there are similar products on the market will only make you look ignorant: like you haven’t done your homework. Often, Salyers will perform a quick Google search for any similar products to the one you are pitching during the session. Don’t deny that competition exists if it does. Instead, pitch your competitive advantage and competitive positioning to help you corner the market. Explain how your design is superior and talk about any patents that you have.