Whether you’re a perpetual inventor or, during a stroke of brilliance, manifested the inspiration for a prototype that you believe could change the world – or at the minimum, make money – there’s a good chance that you’ve envisioned yourself front and center on Shark Tank at least once.
While it’s not impossible, if you’re seriously considering taking a stab at appearing on the show, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Luckily, we’ve got the lowdown on how to apply for Shark Tank and get approved.
Before the conversation even turns toward your product or idea, there are a few eligibility rules you have to satisfy before becoming an official applicant.
- You must be a legal citizen of the United States
- No felony convictions or felony charges pending
- You or anyone living in your home can be an employee of any organization tied to the show
- You cannot be up for a public office or run during the subsequent year after your appearance
You must be forthcoming with all pertinent information regarding your business, the product, and anything relevant to a shark’s investment in your business. If you appear on the show and a shark pulls the trigger on your product, their staff will thoroughly check your company, the product, and you.
Just because they offered you a deal on television doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. If their staff uncovers any discrepancies or something doesn’t smell right, the shark will yank their offer – no apology, no consolation prize – just thanks, but no thanks.
Applying and Auditioning
Beginning the journey to snag a spot on Shark Tank is accomplished by one of three points of entry – online application, open call, and invitation. Because it’s easy for your application to be lost in the mix among the hundreds of thousands of other hopeful contestants, your best chances lie in attending an open call, and you’re guaranteed to get an opportunity to interview.
Best Odds Are On Open Call
Five different cities host open calls for Shark Tank each year. The website contains information regarding the cities for open calls and dates, addresses, and times.
Wowing the Production Team
During the auditions, you’ll perform in front of one of several producers. It would be best if you practiced rigorously in the months and weeks leading up to the open call dates. Present your idea to friends, families, strangers, and anyone willing to listen. Use the following steps and tips for the preliminary open calls:
- Be early. Arriving a few hours before the scheduled time is sufficient – no matter what, you’ll deal with a wait and a crowd. There’s no way around it. However, arriving early allows you to get your nerves out before presenting your idea.
- Bring everything you need with you. Don’t assume you’ll have access to any props, electricity, or internet. That means bringing a power source if you require one for your presentation. It sounds extreme, but it takes dedication and proving you’re 100% committed to putting your idea across.
- Aside from being prepared, be genuine. The producers that interview you don’t care about the investment or profiting – they’re concerned with putting the most entertaining people and stories on television. Stick with your strong points and make them like you – relate to them and be yourself.
- Be sure to have your story rehearsed. The producers are looking for a good back story for each product. Why did you come up with the idea? What problems did it solve? Who did you help by developing the product? Do you have a funny story regarding the development of the product? Whatever the case, people love a heartwarming or entertaining story, and that’s what producers are leaning toward.
Waiting for the Call
The next step is waiting on the phone call to inform you that you’ve been selected. If the phone call never comes, you didn’t make the cut. Some applicants receive a rejection letter via mail but not always, so don’t count on the letter.
After the call, you’ll receive a packet of forms requesting additional information regarding you and your business. Send them back promptly and filled out to their specifications.
You play the waiting game again while they run background checks and put your business and product under a microscope. They’re doing everything they can to ensure that each shark has the opportunity to potentially invest in a legitimate, one-of-a-kind product with no legal roadblocks.
If you haven’t prior, receiving the packet of forms is the perfect time to ensure your website is professional and updated. Show them you’re serious about your product and company and invest time and effort into building a presence.
Stand out by putting in 110% effort. If they request something in the mail or via e-mail, send it immediately in several forms to show them you’re thorough and dedicated to pitching your product to a shark – this makes you stand out from the crowd.
You’ll be interviewed again via phone call once your paperwork is checked out. This interview is with a casting producer who will inquire more about your business, why you decided to take the leap of faith, what led to your success, your background before arriving at your current position, and anything significant along the way.
At this point, you’re a semi-finalist, and you’ll interact with the production team more personally. Don’t be afraid to make connections with them and relate to them like an old friend. Build that rapport and pull those heartstrings – they’ll find it much harder to reject you.
The Audition Video
The final step is submitting your audition video. A video producer reaches out and tells you what’s expected from the recording and how to present the final cut via email.
Your video should be a 5-10 minute pitch of your best material. This presentation should be professional, intriguing, exciting, and engaging. The only thing between you and an appearance on the show is that video, so leave it all on the field.
Your video should include:
- How incredible your product is
- Why your business is worthy of the investment
- How you plan to give back
- Additional financial info regarding your company
- Include the story you used during your first audition
Our Last Takeaways
If your video is solid, you’ll get that phone call that many entrepreneurs dream about. However, your celebration must be short-lived. Take a moment to revel in your success – you’ve accomplished what hundreds of thousands couldn’t.
The game is far from over –it hasn’t even started. You’ve only been chosen to play. Start preparing because you’ve got the most challenging sale of your life shortly if you want an offer from a shark.
Now that you know how to apply for Shark Tank and get approved use this knowledge and give it all you’ve got.