sales pitch tips

Ten Sales Pitch Mistakes We’ve Seen Over and Over Again on Dragons’ Den

Looking for some sales pitch tips? You’d think popular TV show Dragons’ Den would be the place to learn some great sales presentation techniques. However, there are so many sales pitch mistakes made on the show—over and over and over again. Here we share ten recurring mistakes we’ve witnessed—in the hope that you can avoid where others have gone before. Enjoy!

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Dragons' Den sales pitch mistakes

1. Having a Poorly Structured Pitch

No thought about what makes a strong pitch – people seem to think that just because they understand and believe in the business idea,  everyone else will also – it doesn’t work like that.  You need to really understand what makes a strong pitch – do your homework!

2. Using Complex Jargon

Using complicated language does not make you look smart it just confuses the investor.

3. Not Carrying Out the Required Research

Not having researched the profile of each Dragon/investor.   It is vital that you know who the investors are and their possible interests/conflicts. Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the investors – why should they invest?

4. Poor Preparation for Question Time

Not thinking about the answers to “nasty questions” investors may ask.  You then become frustrated and confused.   Do your homework!

5. Not Rehearsing

If you haven’t rehearsed aloud, how do you expect to sound confident and relaxed?

6. Speaking Too Quickly

Having spent no time rehearsing , you get nervous and speak too quickly, this confuses and lacks confidence. With a poorly structured pitch, you pack the business “life story” into the pitch – which just confuses even more!

7. No Thought Given to Body Language and Physical Presence

Poor entrance and weak body language screams lack of confidence. Decisions are made in the first 15 seconds about you.

8. Becoming Defensive

When things aren’t going your way, and investors aren’t biting you become defensive—remember it’s not personal it’s just business.

9. Poor Use of Props

Awkward, gimmicky props don’t enhance, they annoy.  If you are using a prop make sure it adds to your pitch and doesn’t confuse or detract and that you have practiced and know that it will work well.

10. Being a Dreamer

Unrealistic sales/profit projections – nothing annoys investors more than idealistic, improbable projections! Do your homework and be honest.

Please feel free to add your own sales pitch tips to this list.

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Main picture credit: Mikey / Flickr Creative Commons

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ConfidentSpeak is a specialist S.T.E.M Communications & Coaching Consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives at home and abroad. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.

3 replies
  1. Piaras MacDonnell
    Piaras MacDonnell says:

    Others to consider would be:

    Know you numbers
    Dress to impress
    Know the backgrounds of your audience, the dragons
    Be clear how much your are willing to give up and for how much

  2. Stephen O'Kelly Business Broker Sunbelt
    Stephen O'Kelly Business Broker Sunbelt says:

    Knowing your numbers is key, such as:
    Market Research facts
    Sales to date
    Product pricing and the basis for it
    Cost of Product and understand how calculated
    Projected sales Year 1 to 3
    Costs spent to date
    Cashflows going forward

    Also have copies to hand of major agreements with manufacturers, customers and any confirmed orders.

    Copies to hand of Patents and copyrights and royalty agreements if relevant.

    Be realistic as to the value of the business in the future with regard to shareholding offered to the Dragons. Most SME’s sell for only 4 to 6 times earnings.

    …and remember most deals done in the Den fall down after the show during the Due Diligence process! So don’t exaggerate or tell lies.

  3. Declan Carty
    Declan Carty says:

    I don’t normally agree with Roy Keane, but he did the nail on the head when he said (he was probably quoting someone else !!) ‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’

    and in relation to ‘dress to impress’ – you have it spot on – anyone remember the guy (from Monaghan I think) who was on the UK version, and big Peter Jones just went through him for shortcut because, as Peter said, he looked like he was going for a pint – he did in fact look like he was just going to college for another boring day.
    Some people might say, that it doesn’t matter how you look, it’s what you have to say that makes all the difference – maybe ! But if you were going to see the bank manager, or, as in this case, trying to get people to invest serious money in your business, would you dress as you normally do, or, in respect of who you are going to see, would you ‘dress up’ ?
    I know what I’d do


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