Interview with Shark Tank Lori Greiner, August 2013. One thing you can definitely expect when Season 5 of Shark Tank premieres Friday, Sept. 20 at 9pm ET on ABC is that familiar friendly smile from superstar “shark” and QVC wonder woman Lori Greiner. Although Greiner’s one of the top experts in the country on patents (she’s got 100-plus patents and growing) and is behind the most successful Shark Tank product to date with that yellow, smiley-faced sponge called the Scrub Daddy, she couldn’t be nicer.
When asked if she makes an effort to provide a warmer, welcoming environment to the panel of multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons she is a part of, she laughs.
“It’s funny you ask that because yes I do,” Greiner confesses. “I have Kevin [venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary] next to be who just stares and then I will smile at them. I want them to get a little relaxed. I know what that feels like. The first time I went on TV to sell a product it was a terrifying moment. You don’t sleep for days you’re so nervous. I will smile a lot, letting them know this is OK, breathe. You’ll be alright.”
Part of the fun of sitting on the panel is not knowing what or who is going to walk through the doors. “We know nothing about them. We don’t know who they are or what they are pitching,” she tells. “The minute they walk through those doors — it’s all cold, but that’s what makes it exciting for us. What’s today going to bring?”
Surprisingly, after four seasons entrepreneurs bring their goods but not necessarily their brains when it comes to making a successful pitch. There are a few things the sharks consistently observe that lead to an unsuccessful pitch. Greiner offers a few tips in Shark Tank.
“You must know your business and have your numbers down,” she tells. “You got one thing you need to know when you come in and it’s your numbers.” This is the mistake that her brethren “Sharks” go crazy over, when someone doesn’t know the financials to their business.
Secondly, she says, is being respectful. “The ones that get skewered are the ones that aren’t respectful to the Sharks. And, really, if they’re not respectful to you why would you even want to deal with them no matter how good their business or product is. Be someone we would want to work with.”
Greiner is heavily involved personally with all of her entrepreneurs she’s partnered with. After the deal she will call them personally and make an effort to get to know them “person to person first.” She spends time talking about their dreams and aspirations before moving into the details of the business itself.
As for products and people Greiner looks for?
“I like products that everybody needs and wants,” Greiner says. “The best products are things that fulfill a need, which are a lot of products when you think about it. The broader the audience the better, and when I say audience [I mean] the broader the market. … When I say I can tell instantly if it’s a hero or if it’s a zero, I think that’s pretty true and accurate. I have had 17 years of experience knowing what retail products people like so I think a lot of it is based off of experience and then, intuitively, I’ve had a knack for that anyway.”
Greiner joins Mark Cuban, owner of AXS TV and the Dallas Mavericks; real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran; technology innovator Robert Herjavec; fashion and branding expert Daymond John; and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary every Friday at 9pm ET on ABC’s Shark Tank.