Shark Tank Presentation Breakdown: Dead Demos and Live Deals

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The Shark Tank episode where Mr. Wonderful asks: “where is your dog? Dead?”

The Sharks on this week’s episode: Robert Herjavec, Lori Grenier, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, Mark Cuban

The entrepreneurs pitching to the sharks this week:

Duc + Lisa Nguyen from Baubles + Soles

Scott and Gina Davis from Dog Threads

Andy Scherer from Peanut Butter Pump

Logan Green, Chelsea Green and Ali Green from The Yard

Shameless plug before the Shark Tank episode recap. Want to talk about your software demos or sales presentations?

And now back to your regularly scheduled Shark Tank recap

First pitch to the Sharks: Duc + Lisa Nguyen of Baubles + Soles

Offer: $100K for 15%
Baubles and Soles is a kids shoe company that sells various baubles to decorate kids shoes for multiple uses (basically tchotchkes for kids shoes) 
What they did well:
  •  Brought cute kids with them when they walked into the Tank. Kids are certainly an attention grabber, and Duc and Lisa definitely had the Sharks’ attention
  • Explained the problem – kids outgrow shoes, and you don’ want to buy “single use” shoes. It’s so easy to talk about the product that you’re selling, but if you don’t provide any context, then we (as the audience) don’t know what you’re solving for
  • Came in with a reasonable valuation – which is a comment that Mr. Wonderful rarely makes
  •  Coming back at the end when all the Sharks are out. More often than not the Sharks don’t react well to this type of move, but it got Lisa a deal with Daymond. 
What could have gone better:
  • There weren’t any benefits. Instead, there were features that were almost benefits, but it was left to us to find the benefits. For example, “machine washable” is just a feature – so it’s quick and/or easy to clean is the benefit. We only heard the feature, meaning we have to figure out the benefit. And maybe the benefit is that it’s easy to clean, but what if the intended benefit is that the shoe can be used longer? That’s why a good presenter doesn’t leave it up the audience to find the value – a good presenter shows it to them.
  • Lisa interrupted the sharks…a lot. Robert was about to commiserate with her about being an immigrant, and she interrupted him to talk to Daymond about something else. She also said “can I add one more thing” a whole bunch. I’m surprised the Sharks didn’t call her out for this. 
  • The best stat was the 46% returning customer rate – but that didn’t come out until the Q&A, and it felt like an afterthought. That statement would have been a great close to the demo – it gives credibility to the projections, and it is quite powerful. 
What would I have done differently? Connected the problem to the solution. 

Kids outgrow shoes…so we sell stuff that goes on shoes. That connection felt weak at best. We as the audience eventually figured it out, but they should have made that connection for us, leaving us more “brain space” to focus on the pitch. Because if we’re spending time trying to figure out what the presenter said or why it matters, we aren’t listening to what the presenter is currently saying. 

The final deal: $100K for 25%. The Shark: Daymond

Second pitch to the Sharks: Scott and Gina Davis from Dog Threads

Offer: $250K for 17%
Dog Threads makes clothes for dogs, along with matching shirts for their humans
What they did well:
  • They had a solid intro. While it may have been a bit telegraphed, talking about social media influencers who turned out to be dogs was a solid surprise. 
  • Coming out in dark clothes, but then taking off their jackets to reveal their fun Hawaiian shirts that matched the dogs was entertaining, and it held my attention. 
  • Not reacting to Kevin when, while discussing how they started the business for their dog Thomas, asked “where is Thomas? Dead?”. It turns out he is, in fact, dead. 
  • Knowing their audience. The obvious Sharks to target would be Daymond (loves animals, and is the “Fashion/Clothing Shark”) or Robert (loves dogs) – but Mark has the sports licensing play, and that’s how they got a deal done.
  • Taking Mark’s deal when he wouldn’t let them hear Kevin’s offer.
What could have gone better:
  • Bringing the dogs out was a great way to capture attention, but it went on a bit too long. The Sharks were asking questions as someone tried to wrangle the dogs, which was awfully distracting. 
  • I didn’t hear a single benefit to buying their product. Robert’s first comment was “I love dogs…but why?”. Gina’s response of how her dog loved getting dressed up wasn’t great. 
  • I am still shocked that, when countering to Mark, Scott used the argument “I have a baby at home.” From Cuban’s POV, that sounds like a “Scott problem.” Usually, when countering, you’d want the Shark to know why you’re more valuable than their offer. But, in this case it worked. 
What would I have done differently? Given a benefit. Seriously, just one. 
  • I still don’t understand this business, or the benefits of it. Clarifying that would have really helped. 

The final deal: $250K for 25%. The Shark: Mark Cuban.

Third pitch to the Sharks: Andy Scherer from The Peanut Butter Pump

Offer: $200K for 15%
The Peanut Butter pump is a pump that you put in a jar of peanut butter. Yes, that sentence is ridiculous. 
What they did well:
  • Andy gave some benefits to the product – “quicker, cleaner, easier.”
  • The story behind the intro was solid.
  • He was a “great sport” (as Mark called him) when the Sharks had some fun at his expense.
  • Comparing his product to a pump for hand lotion wasn’t bad – it’s a comparison that’s pretty universal. 
What could have gone better (so many things):
  • What problem was this solving? Why is this product necessary? I have no idea. And, when Daymond asked Andy this question, the answer was “the last mile for peanut butter.” I don’t know what that means, and neither did Daymond. 
  • The intro had a good story, “it happened so fast, one moment I was the family breadwinner, then I was unemployed. But I didn’t get angry, I got hungry.” But, the problem was that he was awkward in his delivery – his timing/pacing was a bit strange, and it wasn’t immediately obvious that his video was a peanut butter sandwich. So now I have 2 things I’m curious about, which is 1 thing too many. 
  •  I don’t understand what “download a sandwich” means. 
  • Kevin kept talking about the peanut butter community, and derailed things a lot. Andy didn’t control his audience, so that side conversation kept going…and going….and going. 
  • This product only works on stabilized peanut butter, but I don’t think most people know what stabilized peanut butter is. If you’re going to use an industry term, you have to explain it. 
What would I have done differently? Not invented this product

Is getting peanut butter out of the jar annoying? Sure. Am I going to spend money to not have to…you know…use a knife? Absolutely not. The only play here was to try to license it for commercial applications, but the conversation never went in that direction.

Besides the product itself, and the relatively silly pitch, not controlling the room really hurt Andy. Kevin kept making fun of the situation, and Andy never tried to get things back on track. That only let the room spiral even more, which made things worse for Andy has time went on. I would have shut Kevin down by acknowledging that the product doesn’t work on refrigerated peanut butter, and then moved on to something else vs letting Kevin repeat the same objection over and over again. 

No deal

Fourth pitch to the Sharks: Logan Green, Chelsea Green and Ali Green from The Yard​

Offer: $400K for 10%
The company is The Yard and they make ridiculous ice cream based desserts in a jar
What they did well:
  • Calling the business “The Yard” because “the milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” Well played. 
  •  Great intro – “close your eyes, what was your magical place when you were 7 years old.” Great imagery, and emotional intros like that lead to great demos.
  • Bringing up Mark to experience the start to finish process – involving the audience in your demo is a great way to get them excited.
  • They had the best answer I’ve ever heard to “your sales are great – why are you here?”. Instead of the standard “I don’t need money, I need a strategic partner” response, Logan said that having a Shark will “save them a decade.” 
  • Flat out ignoring Kevin and Lori. I normally wouldn’t put this in the “they did this well” category, but Cuban gave them the offer they wanted (ignored the existing revenue stream). I did enjoy when Daymond made fun of them for ignoring Kevin and Lori. 
What could have gone better:
  • They didn’t know their audience. For years, people with existing businesses who try to expand into a new business or a franchise upset the Sharks when the successful business is excluded from the deal. 
  • Everyone was talking over each other, and the team from The Yard made no effort to stop them. That was pretty distracting, and could have easily derailed the pitch. 
  • When discussing calories, they had quite a range – up to 1,800 for their most decadent dessert. Given how the Sharks typically react to unhealthy food, I expected “but people usually share that one” or “most customers don’t finish the whole thing – they just Instagram it (seriously, how much ice cream gets thrown out at this place?!).” Not there’s anything wrong with eating a decadent dessert – there are few things in life better than good ice cream – but the Sharks are normally pretty negative when it comes to non-healthy foods. 
What would I have done differently? Controlled the audience

Everyone was talking over each other, which is incredibly distracting. When you’re presenting, it’s up to you to manage the room. So if everyone is talking over each other, you have to try to focus their attention. Otherwise, the audience is so focused on asking their question that they don’t listen to any of your answers to other questions. 

The final deal: 22% of the new franchise business for $400K. The Shark: Mark Cuban

One more shameless plug before you go Contact us for Demos! 

Thanks for reading – see you next week for another Shark Tank recap!

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