Everybody Wants What Everybody Wants

By Barbara Corcoran – TV Personality on Shark Tank

1988 was the worst real estate market in a decade, but when I turned the corner on East 80 Street there were more than 150 people waiting in line to buy my 88 unsold New York City apartments. The unwanted units had been sitting on the market for more than three years, and I had decided to price them all alike – those on high floors and low floors, front apartments and back apartments, some with views and others facing brick walls. I put them up for sale first come, first served, creating a buying frenzy. I sold them all in an hour and put a happy million dollars in commissions in my pocket! That sale saved my tiny real estate business from bankruptcy.

I’ve learned that the number one rule in sales is everybody wants what everybody wants and nobody wants what nobody wants. When you tell a buyer they can’t have something, they always want it more, but let that same customer know there’s plenty to go around and they’ll always go home to think about it.

As an investor on ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank, I wouldn’t invest in nearly as many businesses as I do if it weren’t for the other four greedy sharks bidding on it. Whenever a hopeful entrepreneur gets one shark to bite, he can count on a feeding frenzy and a sure investment. And the feeding frenzy continues when the episode airs, because primetime TV exposure is the magic dust that makes folks at home want the product too. Tens of thousands of viewers order it online within minutes, the entrepreneur is wooed by the big box stores, and the same investors who had absolutely no interest in it the week before suddenly want in.

When Rick and Melissa Hinnant of Grace and Lace showed their trendy socks on Shark Tank, they sold a million dollars in socks within four days! When fashion designer Gayla Bentley showcased her snappy dresses “for the plus-size woman,” Stage Stores became the first national retailer to carry her line. When Tiffany Krumins demonstrated her little elephant-shaped medicine dispenser to help sick kids take their medicine, giant CVS immediately ordered fifteen thousand units. And when Kim Daisy showed her delicious home-baked Daisy Cakes on Shark Tank, her website crashed as 20,000 cakes were ordered within eight minutes.

Everybody wants what everybody wants – and nobody wants what nobody wants – is the dictum played out every week on Shark Tank, to both the viewers’ and the entrepreneurs’ delight. If you don’t have demand for your product or service, you’ve got to dream up a way to create the illusion that there is.