The popular show, Shark Tank, provides a great platform for hopeful entrepreneurs to present their ideas to a panel of industry titans. The budding entrepreneurs are there to try to convince the sharks to invest in their product idea. Contestants are presenting to a receptive group of individuals, but without insight, preparation, and skill, it is unlikely that they will hold the sharks’ interest long enough to successfully convince them to make an investment.
Enter Barbara Corcoran. At first brush, you might think that Barbara is all about the numbers, but according to her, the fundamental thing is that “People want to do business with someone they like. If people like you, they’re going to want to do business with you. And if they don’t, you’re going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome.”
Barbara believes that, “It doesn’t matter how brilliant, experienced, or talented you are if you can’t work well with other people, period. Your entire career will consist of constant collaboration with others.”
Of all the sharks on Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran may be the one who most embodies the ASLAN Training & Development principle of being Other-Centered® – the capacity of seeing things from someone else’s point of view and being able to see it as part of something much bigger.
Barbara Is Unusually Receptive
As a shark, Barbara is receptive to nearly any presenter, even if their idea appears to be off-the-wall at first. Barbara is on your side from the moment you walk into the tank. “Every time the doors open, I say to myself, ‘I wonder what we have here…?’ We don’t know a thing until they step into the tank.”
Only you can turn her against you. Her willingness to hear you out stops if she doesn’t think you have the right spirit upon which to build your business. She wants you to help her see things from your point of view. Your passion. Your drive. More than likely, Barbara would invest in a revival of the pet rock if you demonstrate that you believe in your idea, in yourself, and your goal is to make other people happy.
An Other-Centered Approach Wins Barbara Over: She Wants People Who Genuinely Care About Others
Barbara Corcoran told the American Express OPEN Forum that she always hires people who, by nature, like to help. She explained how it is important for an entire organization to have a caring attitude. “If your business isn’t filled with people who truly like to help each other, turf wars soon stop things from moving forward.” That’s the difference with companies that make the sale a greater priority than customer satisfaction.
People Matter. Numbers Are for Keeping Score.
By her own admission, Barbara is not a numbers person. Although she created a billion dollar real estate empire, she claims that she has never read a financial statement. She hired someone who “was a whiz at that kind of stuff.” As far as Barbara is concerned, too much emphasis on the numbers will lead to paralysis by analysis, the mortal enemy of entrepreneurial thinking.
She Has to Be Able to Trust You
She told Small Business Trends that “I pay attention, above everything else, to my trust of the entrepreneur.” To gain her trust, you must say what you mean and mean what you say, and what you say must be the truth. She has to believe that you will do what you have said that you will do.
Barbara has to know that you can approach potential obstacles and opportunities with the same confidence; that not only can you handle rejection, but that you can “turn it into fuel for motivation.” To that point, she once told Mark Burnett “I consider your rejection a lucky charm because everything that ever happened in my life came on the heels of failure.”
Barbara Corcoran is not looking for a sales pitch; she is receptive to a person who is caring, Other-Centered, who tells the truth, and can be trusted. That’s what everyone is really looking for in a salesperson, an employee, a business associate, and even in a friend.
As a salesperson facing a Barbara Corcoran-like prospect, you will need to make sure you have done your homework – that you are prepared. Have your playbook completed before entering the Shark Tank – know what you want and what you are willing to accept. You know your prospect, you know how you can help them, you listen, you demonstrate your expertise, and you let them make the decision that you are the trusted advisor they need.
Whether you’re in the Shark Tank or talking one-to-one with a prospect, an open, honest conversation will help build trust. With your passion and an Other-Centered mindset, the shark tank won’t seem quite as threatening.
Summing It Up
For more insight on the tools needed to lure your next “shark” or sales prospect, contact us today. We’d like to share our unique approach to sales and sales force training for your consideration. At ASLAN, we’re invested in helping your team deliver a more successful sales pitch – and we’d be happy to chat about customized sales training opportunities for your business.
If you found this blog helpful and want to go deeper into the concepts we covered, check out our new book, UnReceptive, at unreceptivebook.com.