• Sean Grace

Pluck & Story Wins the Sale


I sometimes stumble upon the show Shark Tank, now in its eleventh season on CNBC. I’m sure you’ve seen it, it features entrepreneurs who are seeking investments in their fledgling products, services and ideas.


One of the more consistent themes I’ve noticed from the panel of celebrity judges is their focus on the person over the idea. The idea certainly needs to have viability, but if the entrepreneur lacks that certain something, that pluck, that “grit”, regardless how great the idea seems, the judges typically pass.


On the other hand, I’ve seen lackluster ideas presented by energetic, driven and effervescent owners who often win the backing of the panel. The judges, in essence, are investing in the person over the product. This fact is consistent with many investors who know that it’s the energy, focus, confidence and character of the individual or team that best insures their investment - the product is really secondary.


Another key factor I’ve noticed is the entrepreneur’s storytelling skills. The ones who win the day not only demonstrate unflinching fortitude and passion but also tell compelling stories about themselves and how their product or service impacted some customer’s life or business. Yet, so many of these “contestants” fail to tell great stories. They give some background and share some sales figures but rarely mention their own personal journeys or share real perspectives from actual customers.


Telling heartfelt, authentic stories about how you got to where you are as well as how your product or concept has had a positive impact on someone’s life is the best way to create an emotional connection. That emotional connection, along with unquenchable enthusiasm and fearless determination, is often what separates those who win the sale from those who go home empty handed.