Startup founders who landed a $55,000 deal on 'Shark Tank' rehearsed their pitch while running, dodging a hair dryer, and even punching each other in the face

Courtesy of Cousins Maine Lobster‘If you’re prepared, you’ve got nothing to worry about.’
  • Before they appeared on “Shark Tank,” the founders of Cousins Maine Lobster rehearsed their pitch over and over again.
  • To make sure they had it down, they tried to distract each other, by blowing a hair dryer in each other’s faces, reciting their lines while running, or even punching each other in the face.
  • Ultimately, cofounder Jim Tselikis said, their actual pitch was easier than the rehearsals – and they landed a $US55,000 deal with Barbara Corcoran.

In the months leading up to their appearance on “Shark Tank,” in 2012, Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac watched every episode of the show.

The founders of Cousins Maine Lobster made index cards with commonly asked questions and answers, and jotted down which types of comments from contestants seemed to make the Sharks angry.

“We always say, if you’re prepared, you’ve got nothing to worry about,” Tselikis told Business Insider.

But Tselikis and Lomac also devised other, somewhat unusual techniques to make sure their pitch went perfectly.

“We would practice our pitch while we were running,” Tselikis said. In an effort to simulate their anxiety on the day of the show, they’d get their heart rate up, rehearsing their lines while they were exercising and breathing heavily.

They’d also try to distract each other during rehearsals. “We’d literally be in our rooms turning on a blow dryer while somebody else was doing his pitch,” Tselikis said.

Some rehearsals got a bit… violent. “Punches, strangling [each other], and as many inappropriate gestures as possible,” Lomac said in an email.

The goal was that “when we’re in the spotlight, we wouldn’t lose a beat,” Tselikis added.

When they finally walked through those double doors to the “Shark Tank” stage, Tselikis said, they were still nervous. But their offbeat preparation strategies paid off. Cousins Maine Lobster landed a $US55,000 deal with Barbara Corcoran, in exchange for 15% of their company. The company is now one of Corcoran’s most successful investments.

“It wasn’t any harder than having Sabin punch me in the face for distraction purposes while I was giving my pitch,” Tselikis said. “That was harder than sitting there and talking to the people right in front of us.”

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