From the start I’ve loved this show. For those not in the know, this isn’t a pop-ideas show like American Inventor, Dragons’ Den uses 5 self-made multi-zillionaires who are pitched business brainwaves with a view to getting them to commit a specific wad of cash.
The Dragons shine only when they take an interest in something. When they dismiss it out of hand it can be a riot with put downs Ricky Gervais would be proud of, but the real steel of the show comes from Gestapo-esque questioning.
Evan Davis significantly helps make it. Most hosts would try and pinch the limelight, yet his phenomenal journalistic pedigree steers him to reminding links and terrific Q&As with those having just left the Den, usually with dreams in tatters.
Anyhow, tonight’s first show in Series Three served up the usual hair-brained hopefuls, and the intensity of a couple of legitimate go-ers.
For the hardened salespro, two of the aspirants suffered with lessons to glean:
No matter how much you practice, nothing compares to performing in front of your audience. Just ask an England penalty taker. When smooth flowing punch is interrupted by heavy breathing that in other circumstances would alert the ears of the local constabulary, it’s time to take stock or go under. One way of overcoming such an attack, is to make sure you get the essential bullets out, and crucially, invite questions as quick as you can. Entering into a conversation changes the balance, and the nerves ebb away as your mind moves on.
I’ve demo’d software all my sales life, with my (un)fair share of disaster. One guy tried to boil an egg. Simple you’d think. The first time, he forgot to put the egg in the ‘boiler’. Pretty calamitous. And then went on to conduct two more unsuccessful demos. The lesson is obvious yet clear, try and give yourself a chance to demo in the environment you’ll be in beforehand.
Two other interesting bits, were the Dragons always asking for a deal (“how negotiable is it?”) and the hopefuls for some reasons blindly caving in. And the statement “at some point, margins always get squeezed”.