Mark Cuban once summarized his activity as a Shark Tank investor at the Wall Street Journal “WSJD Live” conference like this: “Of the 71 startups that I’ve invested in through Shark Tank, two have gone out of business, three are so stupid they don’t know they’re out of business, and then probably 50, give or take, are in growth.”
“Out of the 71, I would say ten or 11 are netting a minimum of half-a-million dollars a year, doing $8 million to $15 or, in some cases, $20 million-plus. I would say about 30% of my companies have returned all of my investment and then some.”
Since 2009, Shark Tank has been providing an excellent 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.
As it turns out, hopeful businesses aren’t the only ones who can learn a thing or two from the TV show. As a salesperson, Shark Tank is also a master class in selling and sales techniques.
If you were sitting face-to-face with a prospect similar to Mark Cuban, what would be your sales strategy?
What Makes “Mark Cuban the Shark” Receptive
Mark looks for someone with a passion for life, a passion for their idea, and a plan that bridles the passion. He’s searching for a jockey on a thoroughbred wanting to break out of the starting gate. He has described that combination when he said, “Always wake up with a smile knowing that today you are going to have fun accomplishing what others are too afraid to do.” If you want him to invest, demonstrating that outlook is what is going to get his attention and raise his attention to a level of interest.
Sales Playbook Pages From Mark Cuban
If Mark were to have a business playbook, it would look a lot like what ASLAN Training & Development teaches about selling, because Mark views selling and doing business from the same perspective. Both of our approaches are based on rock-solid fundamentals of life that aren’t changed by trends. Here are a few of the big ones:
“Selling ultimately comes down to connecting and serving.”
That’s what Mark told the audience when he was a speaker on a Dave Ramsey podcast. It sounds a lot like a recent ASLAN blog post, “The Genesis of ASLAN,” which talks about serving more, caring more, learning more, and doing more. Mark Cuban explained it as “Not trying to convince them of anything. You’re trying to show them how you are going to make their lives easier.” That is just another way of saying, “If the customer’s needs are put first, then our needs will ultimately be met.” The ASLAN principle of being Other-Centered®.
Mark Cuban wants to know what your plan is.
You have to be completely open and honest. This information and his perception of your understanding of how business operates may be the final determining factor for getting Mark to invest. According to the Wall Street Journal, he wants to know what your exit strategy is. (You had better have one.) But he also wants to know how your company is going to succeed if you can’t get an exit. You need to have a playbook.
There is no reason you can’t succeed if you are willing to put in the effort.
The passion you demonstrate should not be wrapped entirely around your idea. Instead, it should embrace your belief that your idea can change people’s lives for the better, so much so that you are willing to devote long hours and extra effort to make your business succeed.
Don’t mistake Mark Cuban for a celebrity with cash.
He became successful by understanding the fundamental principles of putting others first and having a servant’s heart. Mark is living proof that being Other-Centered works.
Summing It Up
As a salesperson, if you are faced with a sales prospect that displays similar traits to Mark Cuban, will you know how to lure them in? How will you convince them you are fully prepared, you are passionate about your product and you ultimately have their needs above your own?
At ASLAN, our sales training facilitators are thought leaders, industry experts, and powerful relationship builders that know what it takes to truly influence and encourage receptivity. Learn how we can help.
If you found this blog helpful and want to go deeper into the concepts we covered, check out our CEO Tom Stanfill’s new book, UnReceptive, at unreceptivebook.com.