What I Learned About Sales While Swimming With a Shark


Last week I had the fortunate experience of not only attending but also being the emcee at TopOpps’ Drive Conference in NYC. Aside from the great panels and guests and getting some words of wisdom from Aaron Ross was the Keynote delivered by Mr. Wonderful himself, Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank.

Having Kevin O’Leary give a presentation to sales people is about as good as it gets. In fact he even says it himself. (See tweet below)

Now before you start thinking “I bet he tweets that before every speech”. I did my research. I went back and read every tweet Mr. Wonderful has sent since February and he makes no other claim.

There were several things that I took away from his presentation. However for this post we will focus on on what Kevin O’Leary called “The Top 5 Attributes of a Salesperson”. Some of these are things we would already

acknowledge, others are new ways of saying the same thing and some are brand new.

In no particular order here they are:

  1. They occupy the ground they walk on – In short they exude confidence. You know, it’s the person who walks into the room with their head held high, a smile on their face, and a spring in there step.
  2. They are Sticky, not Gummy
    1. Sticky – They go for “Yes” or “No”. They know when to fish and when to cut bait.
    2. Gummy – Spend too much time on “Maybe”. These are the sales people who are “stuck” trying to sell to people who will never buy. The prospect that cannot make up their mind. The prospect that does not have the real authority to pull the trigger. The prospect who is always finds things “interesting” but never “compelling”.
  3. Great sales people are not nice, but they are kind – Basically it’s ok to “break-up” with your prospect. Be honest with them, even if they are afraid to be honest with you. In short if things can work, great! If not then tell your prospect the truth and move on. It’s better for both parties.
  4. They like themselves, but they LOVE what they sell – It’s one thing to be a passionate salesperson, it’s another to be a passionate salesperson and be even more passionate about what you are selling. When you have the latter, it’s a win-win for everyone.
  5. Consistently Hit Targets – Do we really need to explain this one?

There are two other topics which we will save for later, The Shark Tank Metrics for Success and the Key Attributes for Being a Successful Entrepreneur. Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss those posts!

What do you think? Would you swim with a shark?


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