When Aaron Krause, founder of sponge company Scrub Daddy, walked onto the set of ABC's "Shark Tank" in 2012, he knew that a few minutes in front of the judges could make or break his company's future.
He could walk away with a new investment opportunity that could fast track his career, or be brutally criticized in front of millions of viewers, impacting future sales.
He made sure to deliver an incredible pitch.
By the end of his time on the show, three out of five of the "Sharks" had offered him a deal. Fashion mogul and millionaire Damyond John called his performance "incredible."
QVC and retail mogul Lori Greiner offered Krause $200,000 for a 25 percent stake. She calls her bet on Krause the "best investment" she's ever made on the show. Since securing the deal, Scrub Daddy has racked up more than $110 million in sales.
How did Krause, an inventor with a background in auto detailing industry, score such a big win on the show? The founder shares his top two strategies:
To make sure he could hit any curve ball, Krause did his homework. He "watched every episode" of "Shark Tank" that had aired before his, which was in season 4.
That's approximately 40 episodes, with each episode running 45 minutes. In total, Krause watched approximately 30 hours of the show, not counting replays, which he also viewed.
"I was ready so that I could answer all the questions," he said.
Krause investigated the types of questions the judges liked to ask, their professional backgrounds, what types of answers worked and other details.
He prepared for the pitch in the same way career coaches say you should prepare for a job interview — coming in as armed with as much knowledge as you can amass in advance.
Krause recorded and reviewed himself delivering his pitch many, many times.
He and a former colleague, who Krause calls "one of the most negative people" he knows, did mock "Shark Tank" interviews. Krause would pitch his friend the product and his friend would drill him on different details of the product and his business plan. The pair did this exercise "over and over again," he recalls.
By analyzing and improving own speaking skills and body language habits, Krause made sure he was camera-ready.
"I wanted to make sure that I didn't come off arrogant, that was very important to me," he says, "that I was humble, that I respected the 'Sharks.'"
But his exercise isn't just helpful for people who will be on camera. Improving your own communication style — for example, by using hand gestures to communicate important ideas and smiling occasionally — can help you appear more confident.
According to the entrepreneur, preparing in advance is the key to winning any pitch or negotiation.
"I became ultra-prepared," Krause says. And appearing on the show and winning? "Surreal."
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."
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