Pork Barrel BBQ’s Shark Tank adventure began with a questionable email and a deal struck with a Shark who said one of us looked like a PIG on national television. Our adventure continues with new chapters being written each and every day. Just how did we come up with the right bait to real in one of ABC’s Shark Tank Sharks?
When we received that email on a warm May evening in 2009 we were certain it was one of our friends playing with our emotions and dreams of turning our start-up barbecue company into a national brand that could be found on picnic tables across America. It turned out that the email was legit; it was from a producer at Mark Burnett Productions that had been following our rapid accent in the world of social media. Less than six weeks later we were walking out of a studio on the Sony Lot in Hollywood with a golden ticket that was about to launch our growing regional company into the national spotlight and turn us into the fastest growing barbecue sauce company in the world!!
The first piece of that bait was an audition tape that was hard hitting and outside the box. The forms we received from the Shark Tank producers made it very clear of what was expected from the video – sit in a chair, have someone film you while they ask you the following questions and answer the questions. Wow, we thought to ourselves, that is pretty boring. We took a risk and didn’t know if it would pay off or not, but we knew we wanted to do something that was different and would stand out among the piles and piles of videos some poor intern was bound to be putting in piles marked “Trash” and “Show The People Who Make The Decisions”. We were either going to hit a home run or strike out. We connected with the decision makers and set ourselves apart from the other tapes in those piles and were asked to come to Hollywood. Here is the application video we submitted to ABC.
In our minds we had just climbed the most difficult hurdle – being selected from thousands of potential applicants. With our odds of getting a deal greatly improved we now only had 5 people to worry about – Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin Harrington, the Sharks! How would we reel one of them in and accelerate Pork Barrel BBQ’s path to success? Here are 10 Tips on How You Can Catch A Shark:
Tip 1 – Always Look A Shark In It’s Eyes! Look each Shark in the eye to let them know you enter their tank on equal footing and that you aren’t intimidated by their potential bite.
Tip 2 – Believe In Your Product If You Want A Shark To Believe In It! If you have any doubts about your product or idea the Shark can smell it from a mile away! Enter their tank with the knowledge and belief that it would be a mistake for the Sharks to not share your confidence in your product or idea.
Tip 3 – The Prepared Angler Catches The Biggest Sharks! If you fail to enter the tank prepared for the battle that is sure to ensue there is little doubt that you’ll be sinking instead of swimming. While there may be such a thing as being over rehearsed, there is no such thing as being over prepared – know ever detail about your product or idea. No detail is too small or large to know and you can be certain if you don’t know a detail about something you will be asked about that detail – Sharks feed on lack of knowledge and ill preparedness.
Tip 4 – Shark’s Can’t Breath Outside Their Tank! Take the Shark’s breath away from the begging. Hit them fast and hard with something that lets them know you mean business and that your business means business! Bait the hook for a quick catch with a one two punch that leaves them wanting more! Tell them about your great sales, awards, and notoriety.
Tip 5 – Shark’s Like Chum So Get Chummy With Them! Shark’s aren’t quite human, but they, like humans, love to laugh. Break the ice covering the tank with some humor! Nothing connects people with Sharks as quick as a good laugh – it really doesn’t matter if it is something at your expense or theirs – just make them laugh!
Tip 6 – Answer The Sharks Questions Before They Can Ask Them Through Their Sharp Teeth! The bite of an unexpected questions hurts more than just about anything in the tank so beat the Sharks to the punch and anticipate their questions. Do this and you’ve got them on your ground listen to the answer under the context you want to present it in!
Tip 7 – Don’t Take The Bait! Ask any good lawyer and they will tell you there are times to answer the judges question and there are times to answer the judges question with an answer to a question you wish he had asked you. There are times you’d rather not answer something so why not answer it with a fact that is so powerful it will distract the Shark and make them forget about their original question.
Tip 8 – Don’t Let The Shark’s Bite Get The Best Of You! There are times to pull back on your reel and fight the Shark and then there are times to roll with the punches – sometimes this approach will catch them off guard and put them close enough to land them in your net. Just because a Shark calls you a PIG is no reason to fight back, in fact it is the perfect time to shock them with a positive statement instead of a defensive one. Being secure in yourself is a great way to attract a Shark.
Tip 9 – Sharks Love Numbers! When you’re preparing don’t forget the numbers! Sharks are attracted to numbers like bees are attracted to flowers and ants to picnics. Know your sells figures, price points, production costs, and all other relevant numbers! Numbers make Sharks dizzy and easier to reel in!
Tip 10 – Bring Home A Shark For Your Wall! Remember that fishing for Shark’s is fun so have fun!!! There are a lot of Shark’s in the water so if you don’t catch the first one throw the line back in the tank and go fishing again!!
If you’re inspired get your application in and maybe you’ll be the next to have the right bait to real in one of Shark Tank’s Sharks!
Catch a special Shark Tank Sneak Peak on Sunday, March 20 on ABC at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central and then starting Friday, March 25 at its regularly scheduled time on ABC at 8pm Eastern/7pm Central!!