One Thing You MUST KNOW to Succeed in Business

DID YOU KNOW an excellent primer on sales and sales presentations is as close as your television set or computer screen?

I’m talking about ABC’s Shark Tank. Perhaps no other show better exemplifies the principles of how to succeed … or fail … in the business of sales.

I watched an episode this week, for instance, that highlighted some of the ideas we’ve spoken about recently.

Here’s what I mean:

A year or so ago, a gentleman from Illinois … a very likeable guy, named Dave Alwan … approached the Sharks, hoping to walk away with investment funding to grow his business.

Dave is a provider of “butcher shop quality” meats, and the Sharks RAVED about his product when they taste tested it.

Unfortunately, though, Dave didn’t have a sales strategy in place, prompting Shark Kevin O’Leary to remark, “I can’t call your business plan bad … because there isn’t one.”

Mark Cuban piped in with, “[Your product] is great! But coming in unprepared doesn’t cut it … I’M OUT!” (The two most dreaded words on the show.)

Like many who appear before the Sharks to seek capital, Dave walked away with nothing (but experience) to show for his efforts.

[clickToTweet tweet=”He wasn’t hearing “No” forever … only for this time.” quote=”He wasn’t hearing “No” forever … only for this time.”]

But Dave Alwan learned the lesson … and he returned

Earlier, I wrote about the importance of resisting the temptation to instantly become defensive when your offer meets resistance or is rejected outright. Defensiveness leads you into “convince mode,” then the sales conversation becomes a battle – where you are pitted against the prospect to see who will win and who will lose.

To Dave’s credit, he avoided defensiveness. He knew he had “lost the sale,” but he also realized he hadn’t lost the potential. He wasn’t hearing “No” forever … only for this time.

Dave knew he was capable of doing better. He went back to the ranch, did his homework, and came bouncing back with a solid plan … a STRATEGY for SUCCESS.

Facing the Sharks again, Dave said this:

Shark photoI was devastated the last time … but your tough questions made me go home to scrutinize my business and become a BETTER ENTREPRENEUR. I took your Advice.

And this time, Dave shined. You see, the veteran rancher had never been concerned about his competence. He is a third-generation cattleman, and he knows his meats are superior to most others. Dave traveled to Germany and Denmark to find out how the masters prepare sausages and specialty meats … all of that BEFORE the Sharks turned him away.

The difference now was the CONFIDENCE he exuded. This time Dave had a firm grip on his strategic plan, his numbers, and his business.

Dave received offers from the Sharks rather quickly after the second presentation, but Mark Cuban made the successful offer … and another lesson was on display.

Mark was the third Shark to propose terms, but he closed the sale because he ASKED for a DECISION right then.

After all, if you don’t ask for the sale, you often don’t get it.

Mark said, “Dave, your food is fantastic, but you ran into problems last time because you didn’t know your numbers. This time, though, you have your numbers DOWN. I’m impressed with you and with people who learn from their mistakes.”

He outlined his bid, then looked Dave in the eyes, and said, “That’s my offer but I want to know NOW – what are you going to do?” Dave KNEW the gravity of the situation, and he replied, “We’ve got a deal Mark.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”After all, if you don’t ask for the sale, you often don’t get it. ” quote=”After all, if you don’t ask for the sale, you often don’t get it. “]

You MUST KNOW your numbers …

I’m telling you, Shark Tank could be (and likely is) used by teachers every week to highlight the fundamentals of the sales process. If you’ve yet to tune in and watch, I urge you to do so. You can find out more (and even watch full episodes) on the ABC site.

Meanwhile, let’s think about the importance of “knowing your numbers.” It was a lack of “numbers knowledge” that lost the sale for Dave Alwan on the first go-around … and it was numbers knowledge that clinched a mutually beneficial agreement for him on the second.

Do you know your numbers?

Which numbers should you know, anyway?

Let’s talk about that next week … shall we? It is a topic of crucial importance to everyone in sales – whether you are a business owner or a field representative working on commission.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You must know your numbers … but which numbers?” quote=”You must know your numbers … but which numbers?”]

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