Without a doubt, the chance to appear on Shark Tank is a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs. For those who can withstand the scrutiny, closing a deal with one or more of the Sharks is certainly a life- and business-altering moment. Like all critical junctures, the question is: How can you accomplish your goals with intelligence, integrity and grace under pressure?
After years of watching Shark Tank, here are some of our observations about best practices in business conduct, which will help all entrepreneurs achieve business success:
- Walk tall: From the moment you enter the Tank, the Sharks are watching the way you walk through the doors. Similarly, when you join any business meeting, your level of confidence is communicated before you even say hello.
- Talk naturally: High-pitched, loud or sing-song business pitches often make the Sharks (and viewers) wince. When you have a solid proposal, amplification is unnecessary.
- Avoid pointing: Wagging your finger at a Shark to express your objections will alienate rather than win support. The same holds true for other gestures expressing extra attitude including placing hands on hips.
- Know your numbers: The most successful entrepreneurs on Shark Tank–or in any setting–know the facts of their business backward and forward. Without a second’s hesitation, they can respond to any question and address points of concern calmly.
- Be clear about direction: Before you appear on the Shark Tank–or attend any business meeting–form a crystal-clear description of concrete steps for business growth. For the Sharks and other investors, the bottom line is: When will they get their money back–and make a profit after investing time and financial resources in your business?
- Have a comeback: If one of the Sharks challenges a point in your presentation, be prepared with an answer. Instead of looking like a deer caught in headlights, anticipate every possible objection.
- Adopt an easy-to-work-with attitude: Sharks often comment that certain entrepreneurs would drive them crazy. When you ask others to invest in your business, they also need to feel comfortable with your personal manner.
- Be polite: If you are “excused” from the tank without a deal, thank the Sharks for their time and feedback. This classy approach will leave a positive impression versus an angry exit or arrogant comments that they will regret their decision.
For entrepreneurs who watch the Shark Tank regularly, lessons abound for best practices in business conduct. Even if they don’t get to make a pitch on the show, business owners can discover ways to handle themselves like pros who will achieve business success.